The High Cost of Sprawl

Low density sprawl stretches the tax dollars of every resident. That fact could be used to support plans for more infill density, according to this article set in the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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December 7, 2019, 11:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


City of Winnipeg

City of Winnipeg / Residential Infill Strategy

"Planners at the City of Winnipeg are currently in the process of writing a residential infill strategy to guide new development in the city’s older neighbourhoods," according to a column by Brent Bellamy, creative director at Number Ten Architectural Group in Winnipeg.

The column makes one argument for why infill development would be a good thing for the city: sprawl costs too much.

A "jaw-dropping graphic" recently released by the city, compares the built-up area of Winnipeg in the 1970s to the Winnipeg of today. "In that time, the footprint of the city increased by 96 per cent, almost doubling, while the population increased by only 37 per cent. The conclusion was that the city is currently growing three times faster in area than it is in population," explains Bellamy.

That sprawl has economic repercussions, Bellamy writes: "Compared to 45 years ago, each individual Winnipegger is today responsible for the cost of maintaining almost 50 per cent more land area, and its corresponding services and infrastructure." Tax dollars stretched so far contributes to facts of life like potholes, rising taxes, and declining public service, according to Bellamy.

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