There are many different urban renewal programs out there, but few make as much sense or as nearly effective as a well planned out infill program. The Edmonton infill program is a prime example of what can happen when good planning combines with dedicated builders to help renovate the mature older neighborhoods in the city and help limit the rate of suburban expansion and sprawl.
The first thing to applaud is the level of thinking that has gone behind the Edmonton infill program. With an anticipated population boom to continue over the next decade, new housing and space is at a premium. However to keep the city manageable sprawl needs to be controlled. By taking unused lots in mature neighborhoods, replacing condemned houses and buildings with brand-new modern homes not only are more people moving to the heart of the city but those older neighborhoods are also being revitalized at the same time.
With over 8000 houses built under this program in the city proper, there were over 17,000 new residents within the city helping to revitalize all neighborhoods instead of adding to the miles of suburbs at the edge of the city. This is a winning proposition for them, as well is a good situation for the city in general. This is why the Edmonton infill plan has worked so well for everyone involved.
This goes back to that old expression of “Why reinvent the wheel?” Why build brand-new houses the furthest away you can get from the city, is vibrant neighborhoods, or all the benefits of living in the city when there is plenty of land right in the middle waiting to be renovated, restored, re-purposed, or even just used for the first time. It really should be common sense that this type of program will be the obvious solution to taking care of these potential situations. This also helps meet the upcoming demand for housing of preserving is much edge of the city land as possible in case the population boom is even bigger than expected.
This plan brings new life to older communities that were struggling, and that not only helps those neighborhoods directly, but it helps change the overall feeling of the neighborhoods surrounding them. The entire urban area becomes healthier as a result. Empty lots and long term empty housing doesn’t do anyone any good – so why not bring in new buildings and some urban renewal with it?