Edmonton to build ‘cohesive city,’ accommodate two million residents through 15-minute cities

‘We are building a cohesive city, with opportunities for local living,’ said Mayor Amarjeet Sohi. The plan calls for half of all future travel to be done by transit, and for residents to access their daily needs within 15-minutes of their homes.

Edmonton to build ‘cohesive city,’ accommodate two million residents through 15-minute cities
The Canadian Press / Adrian Wyld
Remove Ads

Edmonton is presenting its vision to accommodate two million people through 15-minute cities. On Tuesday, city officials commenced a three-day discussion on the district policy and accompanying district plans, reported CBC News. More than 80 speakers signed up to speak.

“We are building a cohesive city, with opportunities for local living,” Mayor Amarjeet Sohi told reporters.

Councillor Aaron Paquette contends the “rapidly growing” population needs decisive action on housing. “Right now, the plans we have are kind of ‘Frankensteined’ together over decades,” he said.

More than 100,000 people moved to the provincial capital since 2021, driving the population up to 1.14 million last year — a 10% increase, according to Statistics Canada.

The City of Edmonton is projecting nearly 100,000 more people will move to the city through 2027.

The 15 proposed district plans and corresponding bylaws would replace 54 existing planning documents dating back decades.

“Our city is growing,” said Sohi. “The more we can accommodate existing infrastructure and neighborhoods, the better it is for taxpayers.”

The city's planning administration says the aim is to accommodate more than 600,000 new residents in redeveloped areas, with 50% of all new housing units added through infill.

The plan also calls for half of all future travel to be done by transit, and for residents to access their daily needs within 15-minutes of their homes.

In March, the Task Force for Housing and Climate, chaired by former Edmonton mayor Don Iveson, issued dozens of recommendations to reconcile Canada’s housing crisis with its climate policy. 

He urged developers to build within neighbourhoods and make use of existing public transit infrastructure. “It’s cheaper for cities to build this way.”

The federal housing and climate report contends less urban sprawl is needed to implement 15-minute cities.

The Blueprint for More and Better Housing urges all levels of government to legalize density, legislate better building codes, invest in factory-built housing, and regulate housing growth in areas at high risk of climate impacts. 

It articulates their implementation could result in 5.8 million new homes by 2030 that are affordable and ‘climate resilient.’ 

However, builders told a Commons committee on Monday there is “no chance” Canada will reach the federal target of 3.9 million new homes by 2031. 

To reduce carbon footprints, Better Housing suggests adding bike lanes and legalizing small shops on side streets.

City planners openly defend 15-minute communities, claiming their aim is to make cities more livable by ensuring all essential services — schools, medical care and shops — are within the distance of a short walk or bicycle ride.

“Short term and long-term density is good for the fiscal efficiency of the city,” claimed Iveson. “It’s the right thing, and it also happens to be climate positive.”

Mayor Sohi pursued the 15-minute city plan to address concerns on quality of life, including shortening commutes to work and trips to amenities like groceries, recreation, and restaurants.

He does not intend to restrict the movement of more than 1.14 million Edmontonians to their proposed district. 

Last November 4, Alberta’s United Conservative delegates proposed a prohibition on “any land use or development planning initiatives that would restrict movement of residents as per Section 6 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The non-binding policy passed in near-unanimous fashion.

According to the District Planning Guide, building a “community of communities — small towns in our big city” is a multi-year project to accommodate Edmontonians.

“This vision is for new and current residents to enjoy more housing, recreation, education and employment opportunities in all of Edmonton’s districts and to have more travel options within and across districts,” reads a January email.

The city assessed public feedback through March and worked to compile a report for April.

Upon further review by the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board this summer, city council will consider additional public feedback and likely approve new policy this fall.

Remove Ads
Remove Ads

Don't Get Censored

Big Tech is censoring us. Sign up so we can always stay in touch.

Remove Ads