As an Infill builder and developer, and grateful citizen of Edmonton I have seen the necessity for adding density and variety to Edmonton’s Mature Neighbourhoods. These neighbourhoods have a lot to offer but, for the most part, these offerings are only for people who want to live in detached single-family houses. The infill we have seen in the last few years looks different from what was originally built but is still, mostly, detached single-family houses. As a result, these neighbourhoods are developing a demographic problem. It is difficult for young families to move into them because land costs are so high. It is difficult for seniors to stay in them when they want, or need, to live in something other than a detached single-family house. Most of these neighbourhoods have populations that have grown in the 40 to 70-year-old age group and have shrunk in every other age group.
The Missing Middle provides solutions to both of these problems. By creating buildings that provide housing for several families on a lot instead of just one or two, we can divide up the cost of the land and make it much more affordable than a single-family house. If we do it right, and soon, maybe we can stop closing schools down.
We can also create senior-friendly housing so that people who have lived in the neighbourhood for decades, raised kids there, and have friends and family there, won’t be compelled to move away from everything that’s familiar to them. Healthy neighbourhoods have a mix of age groups, income levels, and backgrounds. Our Mature Neighbourhoods need to reflect the rich diversity of the City of Edmonton.
It will take some work to figure out what shape the Missing Middle will take, but for the sake of Edmonton’s future, we need to move forward. I’m hopeful that most Edmontonians will seize the opportunity to elect a Mayor and Council who will take meaningful action in making infill easier in our City.