Canada's Most Sprawled City Reconsiders- Developers Protest

Calgary has the largest ecological footprint of any large Canadian municipality. The city council is trying to fix that history with Plan It Calgary, a new land use and transportation plan- and developers are none too pleased.
September 14, 2008, 5am PDT | Tim Halbur
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In response to Plan It Calgary, developers have formed the Industry Champions Committee (ICC) and released a report of their own.

"According to the report, 'the industry believes complete communities are already being developed and built.' It reads like complete denial. Though the population density of new communities has increased to six to eight units per acre from three to four units per acre, Sustainable Calgary (an organization that promotes sustainable community initiatives) recommends 14 to 20 units per acre.

The heart of the argument put forth by the ICC is that by building a more compact and sustainable city, we are putting Calgarians' freedom of choice and quality of life in 'peril.' A more compact city, though, will not reduce but increase choice for consumers. You would be able to choose to walk, bike, skate, take public transit or use your automobile to get where you want to go in a timely manner. Currently, in most residential communities, you have little choice but to drive. Experiencing road rage and spending endless time in traffic jams by yourself in your emissions-spewing car lowers your quality of life. Compare this to walking to your destination, getting exercise, talking to your neighbours on your way, smelling the flowers and enjoying the fresh air. Basic amenities need to be built closer to where you live, so you don't have to travel so far in the first place.

The other main argument put forward against Plan It is cost. According to the ICC, consumers want single detached homes at an affordable price. The problem with this argument is that those who live in them are not paying the full cost of suburban homes."

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Published on Thursday, September 11, 2008 in Fast Forward Weekly
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