Urban sprawl, urban decline and ugliness

Have you noticed the addiction to urban sprawl in Alberta? It’s not hard to spot.

Have you noticed the addiction to urban sprawl in Alberta? It’s not hard to spot. In Calgary, have a look over by Canada Olympic Park. In Edmonton, check out the gargantuan concrete monoliths as you drive into the city on Highway #2.

The current annexation saga which the City of Edmonton thinks is going to solve all its problems illustrates perfectly the problems of urban sprawl, usually defined as the ever-growing edges of a city that do not take into account factors such as the agriculture industry, the environment, sense of community or community aesthetics, but rather focus on ribbon-cuttings and the one group which benefits the most from this problem: developers.

Is it really necessary to make the city’s footprint larger? It certainly allows a major metropolis like Edmonton to instantly absorb high-tax properties and avoid the costs of brownfield development.

What is brownfield development? That’s the rehabilitation of older areas of the city that may have issues like low tax rate, crime and bad roads. It’s not an attractive, high profile activity like a surprise annexation. Brownfield development takes community consultation, partnership with business and lots and lots of planning.

Annexation is sort of like jumping into deep, quick debt. It’s easy to do, but you pay the price later.

Inner city decay and urban decline are buzzwords being thrown around in the United States right now as bad planning, particularly urban sprawl, comes back to haunt those who championed it.

Large cities in the U.S. like San Francisco have watched urban sprawl pop up on the city fringe with shiny new suburbs, encouraging people to move to the outskirts, which increases pollution because more commuting time is required and causes skyrocketing infrastructure budgets as more and more road structure is needed.

Sprawl also contributes to a problem called inner city decay. As people flee the city for suburbs, demand for inner city property drops. As demand drops it takes land value along with it and certain activities that thrive in depressed value neighbourhoods show up, notably crime and pollution. It’s become so nasty in certain downtown areas of Frisco that businesses on those streets leave their doors locked 24 hours a day and customers have to make an appointment to get in.

It behooves not just the large cities like Calgary and Edmonton to embrace practices like brownfield development, but Alberta as a whole must follow suit. Leave the fringe areas and farmland to do what they best and make the most of the areas already inside the cities that are close to communities and have existing road structures and utilities connected to them. Let’s also be careful about residential subdivisions popping up in the middle of agricultural communities and ensure all land inside large cities is redeveloped before sprawl or annexation is mentioned.

That way, Albertans can live in a province devoid of politicians who prefer to turn an urban meat grinder that turns beautiful Alberta land into an ugly wasteland with parking lots and freeway support columns as far as the eye can see.

 

Just Posted

Field scouting in July

Field scouting can lead to more successful crop production

Sink hole from rain causes sewer line issue

Affected residents can now safely flush toilets

Wind, wet lodging crops in fields

By Ponoka News Staff The rain may help with moisture concerns but… Continue reading

Alder Flats 4-H Multi Club Report

4-H kids visited aerial park in Edmonton

Mexican recipes for Dora’s Kitchen this week

Tasty enchilada recipe has two types of chilies

Fashion Fridays: 5 casual summer dress styles

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Buccaneers pillage Irish 36-0

Central Alberta bounces back after off week against Wolfpack

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Bashaw seed cleaning plant holds official opening

New facility operating well since January

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Chiefs honour Indigenous leader wrongfully hanged in B.C. 154 years ago today

Chief Joe Alphonse says they want his remains returned to his homeland in B.C.’s Cariboo region

Most Read