Episode 22: Suburban Disagreement

Forgive us as we catch up and post some episodes that were recorded nearly a month ago!

In our twenty-second episode we have a spirited conversation about the suburbs. After too many weeks of just agreeing on everything, we decided to pick a topic that would result in a little more back-and-forth!

With Graham defending the surburbs and myself (Mack)¬†questioning our city’s continued outward growth, we discuss lifestyle choices, the cost of building and maintaining City infrastructure, infill development, and much more.

Do residential neighbourhoods pay for themselves? Is revenue distributed equitably across the Capital Region? Why shouldn’t our children have the same housing choices as we did? How do bigger cities manage their sprawl? Will we ever have a regional government in Edmonton? These are just a few of the questions that come up in this episode.

Thanks for listening!

  • Tom Young

    Strathcona was never a suburb. It was a self-sufficient city in its own right, with a mixture of land uses and densities, with a fully-functioning main street (Whyte).

    Hicks is right to note that neighbourhoods will change over time, but not all neighbourhoods were built equal and most of our new neighbourhoods are not developed in such a way that will allow them to be particularly adaptable to change. Circuitous and disconnected roadway networks, oddly shaped lots, these are very different to historic neighbourhoods with grid or modified grid street networks, which are easier to redevelop for higher densities. Garneau is a beautiful and livable urban neighbourhood with access to just about as many amenities and services (yes, the university helps with this, but it’s also a function of form and density) as you could hope for, with a diverse mix of employment, and residential development of every kind, from historic single detached houses, to old rooming houses and new town houses, to low-rise apartments and high-rise apartments. I don’t see any of the neighbourhoods built since 1970 adapting to change as easily as those built before then. That’s a somewhat arbitrary date, but that’s roughly when the cul-de-sac became the norm and grids or modified grids dropped right off for neighbourhood design.

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