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Thread: SF Gate: "Overlooked Edmonton Stepping Up"

  1. #1

    Default SF Gate: "Overlooked Edmonton Stepping Up"

    Apologies if this has been posted elsewhere in the forum, I saw this link on someone's Facebook this morning and thought I'd share.

    Aside from the misplaced reference to "Roberts Place," it's a pretty decent article focusing on the city's river valley and up-and-coming restaurant scene.

    The author seems genuinely surprised and pleased by what he experienced.

    http://www.sfgate.com/travel/article...up-6544125.php

  2. #2
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    Nice write up. Doesn't seem like he was here to do much other than eat at a few places and walk a bit. Hopefully he comes back and gets to see and do a bit more.

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  4. #4

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    "The biggest surprises for me, however, had not been the evolving new scenes, but the features that had been here all along — an already roiling environment of food, music and art built on a crossroads of oddly paired cultures; a penchant for holding festivals at the drop of a Mountie hat (there are almost as many festivals as days in the year); and of course the access to the enormous protected ribbon of nature running through the middle of it all."

    A City for Everyone*

  5. #5

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    ^ wow, Meds is starting to get it?
    Let's make Edmonton better.

  6. #6

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    It's quite clear however, that you don't, and likely won't (ever). I view the whole city as a great place, where as some stick to a single few sq blocks around 104th street, and look down on others who stray outside of the ideals. God forbid someone live more than 2 km from the CBD.

  7. #7

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    ^ yeah, uh, no Meds, blinders off for as long as it takes you to do your searches, that's what I've been saying all along, PLUS that our image misaligns with our reality because our Downtown was an overwhelming black hole. Ergo, fix it, and suddenly people will notice the whole great City. (duh duh duh)

    So you mean you STILL don't get it?
    Let's make Edmonton better.

  8. #8

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    It was a overwhelming blackhole? Even I think more highly of our downtown than you do/did.

  9. #9

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    ???

    1996? How old were you?
    Let's make Edmonton better.

  10. #10

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    Are you referring to our economy at that time? We could easily go back there. Why not look back further back in time. Where were you in 79? 83? 89? 92?

  11. #11

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    ^ Meds, you are so out of touch.

    Who do you seriously think we need to compete with? Stettler? Or, uh, gee, duh, Calgary and Vancouver? Maybe? Possibly?


    You are utterly clueless about what role we need Downtown to play on the City's team (and the surrounding core, believe it or not (and no I don't realistically think you can see that I even say that through your ridiculously rose ridiculously tinted ridiculous ego. You still think I (and everyone else) live in your "Downtown vs Suburbia" paradigm.))
    Let's make Edmonton better.

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    "Roberts Place" arena. Hahaha.
    $2.00 $2.25 $2.50 $2.75 $2.85 $3.00 $3.20 $3.25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    It's quite clear however, that you don't, and likely won't (ever). I view the whole city as a great place, where as some stick to a single few sq blocks around 104th street, and look down on others who stray outside of the ideals. God forbid someone live more than 2 km from the CBD.
    The whole City is not a great place, pockets are, just like any other city. Not all great places are Downtown, we all know that, but the reality is burbs are generally banal.
    www.decl.org

    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    It's quite clear however, that you don't, and likely won't (ever). I view the whole city as a great place, where as some stick to a single few sq blocks around 104th street, and look down on others who stray outside of the ideals. God forbid someone live more than 2 km from the CBD.
    The whole City is not a great place, pockets are, just like any other city. Not all great places are Downtown, we all know that, but the reality is burbs are generally banal.
    they may not all be 'great places' but most if not all parts of the city are needed in some way or fashion. I'm glad to see the author decided to experience more than just a downtown. A city for everyone! The city has a lot to offer, and those offerings are far more than just what our downtown may or may not contain. While you might think suburbs are banal, they are necessary part of any city. Downtown isn't very original either, you find the same things in almost any downtown, in any city. Interesting that most worldly visitors would consider our downtown banal, when comparing to other major centers around the world.

  15. #15

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    Your arguement is flawed. Calling the suburbs 'necessary' and Downtown 'isn't very original' does not address the heart of the matter, which is that our current building form, mostly single-family sprawl, is not sustainable long term financially, socially or otherwise. We can't afford to continue to sprawl, which in itself is causing 5-6% year tax increases if we want to maintain services to far-flung areas. We've increased our housing stock 50% in the past 15 years, but with almost no change in the amount being put towards existing neighbourhooods. If you include the CMA, it's even worse. This is a serious issue that is devalued by a suburbs vs downtown debate.

    We can't all live Downtown nor should we, but we certainly can't continue building our suburbs status quo. Council is starting to get that but it's like moving molasses. People don't like change at the best of times, it takes real political will to move our city in the direction necessary for a sustainable future.
    www.decl.org

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenSPACE View Post
    Your arguement is flawed. Calling the suburbs 'necessary' and Downtown 'isn't very original' does not address the heart of the matter, which is that our current building form, mostly single-family sprawl, is not sustainable long term financially, socially or otherwise. We can't afford to continue to sprawl, which in itself is causing 5-6% year tax increases if we want to maintain services to far-flung areas. We've increased our housing stock 50% in the past 15 years, but with almost no change in the amount being put towards existing neighbourhooods. If you include the CMA, it's even worse. This is a serious issue that is devalued by a suburbs vs downtown debate.

    We can't all live Downtown nor should we, but we certainly can't continue building our suburbs status quo. Council is starting to get that but it's like moving molasses. People don't like change at the best of times, it takes real political will to move our city in the direction necessary for a sustainable future.
    I disagree. We can continue building smart growth. You may have not visited any of the newer suburbs, but they are not the same as what was built from the 50s-90s. The newer suburbs are built a lot more closely together, use a lot less land, contain mixed uses/mixed levels of zoning. It's no longer all single family homes for miles and miles. Your argument might have made sense 20 years ago. The newer suburbs are a lot more sustainable than you would lead others to believe, there's a lot more tucked into in the same amount of space that much of the mature neighbourhoods many on this forum are flaunting as desirable.

    It's funny - making a downtown for everyone* should include more than just the same old, same old that has been going on for the last 15 years. 2bdrm condos, under 900 sqft. Where are familys suppose to live in this environment.
    Last edited by Medwards; 06-10-2015 at 10:59 AM.

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    New burbs have crazy density and mixed product, but generally speaking are still car orientated, not practically walkable for most things. If anything, the new burbs are less attractive to me than the 90s burbs... if I want burbs I dont want the density, mixed product and 4 cars per family such that roads are almost impassible.

    In many cities 2bdrm 900 sqft is the choice for some families, 3 bdrms as well, but yes, we need more townhouses such as Symphony is doing as well as more options adjacent to Downtown.
    www.decl.org

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  18. #18

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    Getting back to the article one of the hilites for the author is the unspoiled river valley experience he had. This is specifically something that impressed the writer.

    He waxed on about the number of activities in the valley, the polite sharing of trails (must have been a good day) and was impressed with the same things that I have been through my life here.

    So when future debates take place here lets keep in mind in considering development that this should probably be contained to certain areas and the the pristine river valley should remain a priority.

    One thing that strikes me is the author didn't even hit on some of the most wondrous parts of our river valley system and yet he was still impressed. Mackinnon Ravine is nice but not nearly as nice as say a Whitemud ravine experience.
    Which brings me to one of my favorite experience in Edmonton and hiking by the Snow Valley campground (wonderful) and people staying there, using the trail systems and remarking on wonderful it is to be camped there in the middle of a city yet in the middle of some natural wonder. I love seeing the smiling visitor faces on those trails.
    "if god exists and he allowed that to happen, then its better that he doesn't exist"

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by GreenSPACE View Post
    Your arguement is flawed. Calling the suburbs 'necessary' and Downtown 'isn't very original' does not address the heart of the matter, which is that our current building form, mostly single-family sprawl, is not sustainable long term financially, socially or otherwise. We can't afford to continue to sprawl, which in itself is causing 5-6% year tax increases if we want to maintain services to far-flung areas. We've increased our housing stock 50% in the past 15 years, but with almost no change in the amount being put towards existing neighbourhooods. If you include the CMA, it's even worse. This is a serious issue that is devalued by a suburbs vs downtown debate.

    We can't all live Downtown nor should we, but we certainly can't continue building our suburbs status quo. Council is starting to get that but it's like moving molasses. People don't like change at the best of times, it takes real political will to move our city in the direction necessary for a sustainable future.
    I disagree. We can continue building smart growth. You may have not visited any of the newer suburbs, but they are not the same as what was built from the 50s-90s. The newer suburbs are built a lot more closely together, use a lot less land, contain mixed uses/mixed levels of zoning. It's no longer all single family homes for miles and miles. Your argument might have made sense 20 years ago. The newer suburbs are a lot more sustainable than you would lead others to believe, there's a lot more tucked into in the same amount of space that much of the mature neighbourhoods many on this forum are flaunting as desirable.

    It's funny - making a downtown for everyone* should include more than just the same old, same old that has been going on for the last 15 years. 2bdrm condos, under 900 sqft. Where are familys suppose to live in this environment.
    Unfortunately the story about density in new suburbs is only half-true. I've heard this from several councillors but the truth is these neighbourhoods are still overtly car-oriented and they way they are laid out and where the density is being achieved is not enough to be sustainable financially. Over 50% is still for single-family housing. So you have a node of density and then not much. We also know that other forms of housing like rowhousing and low-rise apartment are not only more compact and create better neighbourhoods, but something you can build around transit financially. 25% single family sounds better to me, but I haven't worked out the numbers.

    The second part is a focus on established neighbourhoods. We have a target of 25% infill by 2018, but are only doing 14% right now. And 25% is still too low, something Council should change and revisit.
    www.decl.org

  20. #20

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    ^ agreed

    We need more infill and mature neighborhood development.

    Tax free status for 5 years on increased density is a start. Put two units where one was before, pay only 50% of the taxes for 5 years. Put in 4 and pay only 25%.

    We need other innovative ideas to use up brownfield developments. If a developer wants to build 20 homes outside AHD, then he has to first build 20 units in a brownfield site like Fort Road TOD.
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenSPACE View Post
    We can't all live Downtown nor should we, but we certainly can't continue building our suburbs status quo.
    I agree, but you are more positive than me. The city is just tinkering with mature neighbourhoods, without actually having the courage to take on the real issue, which is unlimited greenfield which continues to depress land values, making dense developments uneconomic against greenfield homes. In fact, the city is encouraging it through efforts to Annex even more land (to YEG). Iveson has been a huge disapointment, a guy who wrote in his blogs about "the way we sprawl", and has then lead a council in the sprawl direction. I don't know if he was lying, or is just incredibly weak willed / spineless.
    Last edited by moahunter; 06-10-2015 at 05:02 PM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenSPACE View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by GreenSPACE View Post
    Your arguement is flawed. Calling the suburbs 'necessary' and Downtown 'isn't very original' does not address the heart of the matter, which is that our current building form, mostly single-family sprawl, is not sustainable long term financially, socially or otherwise. We can't afford to continue to sprawl, which in itself is causing 5-6% year tax increases if we want to maintain services to far-flung areas. We've increased our housing stock 50% in the past 15 years, but with almost no change in the amount being put towards existing neighbourhooods. If you include the CMA, it's even worse. This is a serious issue that is devalued by a suburbs vs downtown debate.

    We can't all live Downtown nor should we, but we certainly can't continue building our suburbs status quo. Council is starting to get that but it's like moving molasses. People don't like change at the best of times, it takes real political will to move our city in the direction necessary for a sustainable future.
    I disagree. We can continue building smart growth. You may have not visited any of the newer suburbs, but they are not the same as what was built from the 50s-90s. The newer suburbs are built a lot more closely together, use a lot less land, contain mixed uses/mixed levels of zoning. It's no longer all single family homes for miles and miles. Your argument might have made sense 20 years ago. The newer suburbs are a lot more sustainable than you would lead others to believe, there's a lot more tucked into in the same amount of space that much of the mature neighbourhoods many on this forum are flaunting as desirable.

    It's funny - making a downtown for everyone* should include more than just the same old, same old that has been going on for the last 15 years. 2bdrm condos, under 900 sqft. Where are familys suppose to live in this environment.
    Unfortunately the story about density in new suburbs is only half-true. I've heard this from several councillors but the truth is these neighbourhoods are still overtly car-oriented and they way they are laid out and where the density is being achieved is not enough to be sustainable financially. Over 50% is still for single-family housing. So you have a node of density and then not much. We also know that other forms of housing like rowhousing and low-rise apartment are not only more compact and create better neighbourhoods, but something you can build around transit financially. 25% single family sounds better to me, but I haven't worked out the numbers.

    The second part is a focus on established neighbourhoods. We have a target of 25% infill by 2018, but are only doing 14% right now. And 25% is still too low, something Council should change and revisit.
    I don't think it's the single-family # that's the problem. It's the design that puts the apartments and retail on a main road intersection that's generally crappy for walking, and with far too few crossings between the main intersections, put the townhomes in cloistered developments where very few have a real front door that faces a real front street, and then fill basement with parking and the backyards with parking access.

    Other than the big, fast car arterials every mile there's no direct route for a bus, no direct route for biking or walking, and then there's a massive neighbourhood park and school that's mostly underutilized and is usually nothing but a field that's unpleasant and boring to walk across, not to mention the TUC that might as well be a moat to prevent anyone without a car from crossing.

  23. #23

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    Hanging out in Lewis Estates right now... pretty much. I'm sure the author would had been more astounded if we designed and appropriately zoned for commercial main streets with door to street apartments and row houses. Westmount is a fine example. Glad the author got into loving the valley.
    Live and love... your neighbourhood.

  24. #24

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    ^^Everything you say is true, except that single family IS still a problem. We still need more density, and not just a few apartment blocks by a Save-On. That percentage of single-family should be more like 25-30%, not 50.
    www.decl.org

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    Everyone seems to talk about using the stick as an incentive for developers to build density. Unfortunately, that will only work so far. People love single family detached homes with a yard and a garage. They LOVE them, and they won't give them up unless they have something extremely appealing to replace them with.

    We need to start turning to "carrots" to move people downtown, and focus on attracting a new demographic to buy in to density at a younger age. The more beautiful, safe, and amenity-rich we make core neighbourhoods, the more people will want to live there. Increasing the cost of single family detached is not enough. We also need to expand business opportunities with a healthy supply of small CRUs, we need to ensure there is diversity in available services, we need high-class parks and other public spaces (including sidewalks) spread through neighbourhoods, and we need safe, family-friendly environments.

    I am not convinced we have those things to the level needed to attract enough people to the downtown or other high-density core areas right now.

  26. #26

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    What they build for high density housing in Edmonton is a far cry from the nice developments in other cities.
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  27. #27

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    ^^ 100%.

    I will compatibly suggest though, we have a huge stock of SFH, I think we can change the balance a lot without 'needing' more, despite their popularity. We just need more proper alternatives for the people stuck in SFH who want out.
    Last edited by JayBee; 08-10-2015 at 06:50 AM.
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  28. #28
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    Another Rave thread derailed into yet another "suburbs are the debil" discussion. Thanks, guys. You're the reason why I think Richard should just close down the Rave forum.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  29. #29
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    ^ BAH, HUMBUG. You kids and your "discussions"! In my day this area was for THINGS WE LIKED, not things we can improve, not things related to the topic, just things we LIKE!

  30. #30

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    ^Lol.

    ^^ You remind me of a Kids in the Hall sketch.
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