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Thread: Smart Growth - Or Endless Sprawling Suburbs?

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    Default Smart Growth - Or Endless Sprawling Suburbs?

    So recently, I've taken part in a focus Edmonton public meeting where we discussed growth Scenarios for Edmonton.

    Here is the "report" which is kind of an interesting read...
    http://www.focusedmonton.ca/media/Gr...ts_posters.pdf

    So basically, we can continue growing this city/region - outwards and onwards. Yes, I'm talking about areas in the south of the city south of AHD, West of AHD. East of AHD and North of AHD (That includes parts of Edmonton, St Albert, Sherwood Park.)

    We continue to push outwards, with no real consideration of each other, or the affect we have on the city. We then bite back, and say, gee, traffic is going up, its further and further to the store...

    What gives? at what point do we say stop? At what point do we stop fighting infill, and at what point do we stop growing outwards?

    Do we even care? The health effects, the environmental effects, the ever increasing commute times. The walkability of our city...

    What type of region do you want?


    ----------

    Found this link off the focusedmonton page, and found this short (8mins) quicktime film really hits home. I recommend everyone watch this - before commenting on this thread.
    http://www.rbcc.ca/smart/smartmovie.htm

    Edmonton is a Smart City. Edmonton is a Growing City. But...
    Is Edmonton Growing Smart?


    My answer is sort of.
    A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims, but accomplices.

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    Default Re: Smart Growth - Or Endless Sprawling Suburbs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards
    So recently, I've taken part in a focus Edmonton public meeting where we discussed growth Scenarios for Edmonton.
    Saw your name tag sitting on a table, but I didn't see you.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Smart Growth - Or Endless Sprawling Suburbs?

    Quote Originally Posted by bagould
    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards
    So recently, I've taken part in a focus Edmonton public meeting where we discussed growth Scenarios for Edmonton.
    Saw your name tag sitting on a table, but I didn't see you.
    I rebooked for an earlier session... Something had come up on the time I booked for originally..
    A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims, but accomplices.

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    Default Re: Smart Growth - Or Endless Sprawling Suburbs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards
    My answer is sort of.
    As with everything, regional planning will be key.

    Those three growth options proposed? As long as the surrounding municipalities are free to do whatever they want, then the only answer will be Sprawl, Sprawl Sprawl.

    Because if Edmonton prevents sprawl then it will just go elsewhere. Which will lead to more people claiming that all the growth is in the burbs and that Edmonton is dying (because obviously 15% growth on a population of 60k is just so much more impressive than 10% on one of 700k)

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    I assume most of the people on this forum are generally in favour of curbing the sprawl, but what was the general consensus at the focus group?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mark
    I assume most of the people on this forum are generally in favour of curbing the sprawl, but what was the general consensus at the focus group?
    General vibe I picked up at the consult was at least 90% for the compact over the suburban/economic, which I found surprising. It seemed like every single person there was bashing the sprawl plans and their definition of "economic." If there was anyone really pro-sprawl I probably would have picked up on it.

    That being said, there's certainly the possibility of there being NIMBY attitudes from these same people.

    Can't speak for the other five sessions, mine was Saturday afternoon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bagould
    Quote Originally Posted by mark
    I assume most of the people on this forum are generally in favour of curbing the sprawl, but what was the general consensus at the focus group?
    General vibe I picked up at the consult was at least 90% for the compact over the suburban/economic, which I found surprising. It seemed like every single person there was bashing the sprawl plans and their definition of "economic." If there was anyone really pro-sprawl I probably would have picked up on it.

    That being said, there's certainly the possibility of there being NIMBY attitudes from these same people.

    Can't speak for the other five sessions, mine was Saturday afternoon.
    If this is the case for Edmontontonians or those looking for new housing/commerical opportunities then the market will respond appropriately, and provide more dense development. If we continue to see less dense development that is planned, as we currently have, then the focus group is not representative.

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    ^You, sir, have way too much faith in the system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kona
    Quote Originally Posted by bagould
    Quote Originally Posted by mark
    I assume most of the people on this forum are generally in favour of curbing the sprawl, but what was the general consensus at the focus group?
    General vibe I picked up at the consult was at least 90% for the compact over the suburban/economic, which I found surprising. It seemed like every single person there was bashing the sprawl plans and their definition of "economic." If there was anyone really pro-sprawl I probably would have picked up on it.

    That being said, there's certainly the possibility of there being NIMBY attitudes from these same people.

    Can't speak for the other five sessions, mine was Saturday afternoon.
    If this is the case for Edmontontonians or those looking for new housing/commerical opportunities then the market will respond appropriately, and provide more dense development. If we continue to see less dense development that is planned, as we currently have, then the focus group is not representative.
    i'm betting on "not representative."

    most people are never given the choice between "less populous city where everyone has some land" vs. "more crowded city where everyone lives in condos"

    they're given the choice in these surveys between spread out or tight, but always piling on more and more people in either scenario.

    Another million people will not enrich london or paris. probably wouldn't enrich vancouver or toronto either. where do you want to draw the line?
    City Centre Airport is to the sky as False Creek is to the ocean.

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    Default Re: Smart Growth - Or Endless Sprawling Suburbs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards
    What type of region do you want?

    Seriously, the population density in this city and others in Canada is atrocious. I understand why things were built as they were to a point, but the problem I see with this city is simply that we have municipalities that exist just outside of our boundaries that are allowed to develop as they see fit. There's no fault in that. Each city has done what they thought was best for their municipality given the resources they had available to them. I don't have a problem with the decisions that have been made per se, but I do have a problem with the blatant disregard of the issue by all parties that should be involved in the discussion and decision making.

    Frankly, I'm ticked that this issue hasn't been dealt with before now. We've had plenty of opportunity to deal with this in the past, but roadblocks have always been put up to thwart any sort of sensible decision making on a regional scale.

    The economic case can already be made to promote infill, walkability, etc. The reason? It has a little something to do with the cost of rolling out services to new areas and the escalating cost of infrastructure maintenance.

    Simple analogy taken to the extreme:
    Edmonton, population = 1,000,000
    Land Area = 1,000,000 units
    1 person/unit area

    Densify and the example is:
    Edmonton, population = 1,000,000
    Land Area = 1,000 units
    1,000 persons/unit area
    So, this particular example doesn't make a whole lot of sense since we will not contract the size of the city, so...

    What we could be:
    Edmonton, population = 2,000,000
    Land Area = 1,000,000 units
    2 persons/unit area

    Keep down this path and what would happen? The "sharing of services and infrastructure". Say it with me now... "sharing of services and infrastructure".

    Why is this important?
    1) Overall cost of delivering service and infrastructure goes down (per person)
    2) Walkability increases
    3) Local business opportunity
    4) More vibrant neighborhoods


    Really, what's been going on over the past while is plain ol' selfishness and I'm tired of it. I'm tired of having to drive practically everywhere to keep up my existing social contacts because people would rather not have a low-rise building or other infill project constructed in their neighborhood. I'd much rather have my social contacts at least within biking distance, but it just isn't reality. Maybe I'm selfish for wanting everything so close together, but maybe, just maybe, we can start to look at what is happening to this city somewhat objectively and compare what we are doing with other more successful cities and start making decisions that make sense. Or maybe this city is hopeless...

    Nah.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Smart Growth - Or Endless Sprawling Suburbs?

    I think there is a bit of a change in approach forming, we are starting to elect Councilors who recognize the need to limit sprawl. I just hope they don't get cynical over time, because it takes a lot of strength and courage to say no to the same old arguments:

    1. People deserve the choice to live where they want - the market is just filling demand, do you want to limit that choice?
    2. If you don't allow it, it will be built in St Albert, Sherwood Park, etc. I hate this argument, why do we care if other cities choose to become miserable / unsustainable? We should do what's right, not what other cities think is right.
    3. Developers have invested money buying up this land, it would be unfair to not allow it now, given that other Councils have allowed for other developers in the past.
    4. Our city will be less affordable if we don't increase supply, for all types of families...
    etc. etc.

    My guess is that this is why we already have a decade or more of sprawl growth approved. Accordingly, even if the most extreme compact growth model possible is chosen, it will take years to make a difference.

    Council, and City, has to say no to proposals sometimes, or things won't change. Time to learn from other cities rather than just follow what has always been done. Implement concepts that work, instead of ignoring them. Smart choices is a good example of a project where communities set plans for intensification. My impression is that most communities closer in, want to intensify. People who have paid a premium to live closer in don't like sprawl / crime flight away from their neighborhood. But they want a say in how density happens in keeping with their neighborhood, as neighborhoods have different needs. We can intensify by working together, but not through fighting endless fires. All these fires end up just benefiting speculators in the long term.

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    well im all about sprawl. I could never live in a high density neighborhood it would restrict my quality of life too much.

    I need a big shop for all my tools and i dont think people would apreciate me grinding or woodworking at midnight if they could hear me. I also like my music and often have get togethers, big fires etc wich my neighbors would just love me for. Also i got my dogs there big and need lots of room to run around and play. I have so many reasons.

    Being coooped up in some dinky condo or townhouse is just not my idea of living, i dont need neighbors complaining all the time and people telling me what color i can paint my home or fence what not. In this day and age we are restricted too so many of our personal freedoms as is and things will only get worse i would like to try and keep the freedoms i have.

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    ...and as long as you are able and willing to pay for the needed infrastructure, utilities, and other associated costs, go ahead.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardS
    ...and as long as you are able and willing to pay for the needed infrastructure, utilities, and other associated costs, go ahead.
    and as long as the extra costs for services, infrastructure, and other such luxuries for the wonderful life of suburban sprawl isn't past on to me.
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    EXACTLY....you want to live hell and gone and have your big this and oversized that...you pay the FULL SHOT.
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    well i would think that i do lets just say i pay rouphly 10-14 times what a person working minimum wage does in taxes. I also do not use any government subsidy's or programs. heck i have not even been to a doctor in the last 10 years yet i contribute.

    technically i live in the city and i hardly ever use the services, i may take a trip in 3 times a month to load up on food and grab a few things and thats about as far as it goes. I dont need arena's the colosseum the trasit system none of that all my etertainment comes from home its what i enjoy. I also do not mind contributing to all those things for everyone else that enjoys those luxuries in life. One thing i am starting to notice though is if any of those things were ever built near my place like even paving the road the city folks would cause a stink to high heaven. im not complaining i enjoy my lifestyle but who really are the greedy selfish onse?

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    Quote Originally Posted by solo
    ... I also do not use any government subsidy's or programs. heck i have not even been to a doctor in the last 10 years yet i contribute...
    so we can presume you were born at home and not in a hospital. and received no immunizations. and didn't attend school. and don't have a driver's license. and don't drive on any public roads to load up on food and grab a few things. and none of that food is inspected or those few things certified safe to plug in. and you don't have a registered title deed for your home. and don't fly anywhere from a public airport. and don't have a passport. and don't have anything to do with anyone else who might have taken advantage of any of these things either. and will raise your children the same way. maybe you're lucky enough to live near dakine so at least you have a neighbor you can relate to. he used to say he didn't use "any government subsidies or programs" either. sad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor
    Quote Originally Posted by solo
    ... I also do not use any government subsidy's or programs. heck i have not even been to a doctor in the last 10 years yet i contribute...
    so we can presume you were born at home and not in a hospital. and received no immunizations. and didn't attend school. and don't have a driver's license. and don't drive on any public roads to load up on food and grab a few things. and none of that food is inspected or those few things certified safe to plug in. and you don't have a registered title deed for your home. and don't fly anywhere from a public airport. and don't have a passport. and don't have anything to do with anyone else who might have taken advantage of any of these things either. and will raise your children the same way. maybe you're lucky enough to live near dakine so at least you have a neighbor you can relate to. he used to say he didn't use "any government subsidies or programs" either. sad.
    hey! you're usually the voice of reason! you point out a lot of services used, but relative to the amount paid it is still a large overpayment...
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    Oh, and not only does he not drive, he also doesn't park or have any roads in front of his house that were passed on to him by the developer through the cost of his house.

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    never said " i do not use anything" did i? i pull my own weight and deserve the luxuries i have like everyone else

    sorry, if i do not want to live where crime is high, bums and homeless people on every corner. I assume most of you are not handy men that restore cars, woodwork or have a wind farm, or own large dogs or fix your own vehicles, raise livestock, have horses or snowmobile, quad and dirtbike as you can not do that if you live in a condo or some townhouse.

    Not right to force your lifestyle on others, i dont force my lifestyle on you guys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bagould
    Oh, and not only does he not drive, he also doesn't park or have any roads in front of his house that were passed on to him by the developer through the cost of his house.
    I bet developers would not sell those property's and turn a profit if they did not put roads in. sometimes you need to spend money to make money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lux
    hey! you're usually the voice of reason! you point out a lot of services used, but relative to the amount paid it is still a large overpayment...
    sorry lux but taxation in a democracy should be fair but it's not a pay as you go system.

    what might look like a "large overpayment" today might not look so huge for solo's triple bypass surgery next year. or the year after that when one of his kids develops diabetes. or the year after that when one of his parents develops parkinson's.

    if we start to relate our taxes only as what we have paid versus what we have received over a short period of time rather than their overall fairness to us and others, is that not the same as looking at how much was paid prior to the provision of services? and would you deny the services if enough had not been paid?

    and what about the collective as well as the individual benefits of taxation? if you do not "use" transit, does that mean you should not pay taxes that provide it just by pretending it only benefits the user instead of all of us? would you say the same thing about a police and court system that should keep us safe even though "we" don't use it? or the system that needs monies to protect and equip our armed forces so they can protect us?

    solo's bragging that he pays roughly 10-14 times what a person working minimum wage does in taxes doesn't cut it with me. if you look at what a minimum wage earner would pay, that's a boast that doesn't even add up to much money. besides, what does he think the answer to that is? to collect more taxes from minimum wage earners?
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    ^well said kcantor!!!

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    I think you miss read what i wrote ken. I said" i do not mind paying for all these services" in fact i am honored( anything to help my fellow man). My problem is when others complain that they pay extra for my lifestyle when i pay extra for their lifestyle in other ways.

    Allot of business would not survive if my extra tax dollars did not suport the minimum wage worker. I do not need tim hortens to brew me coffee and i do not need these fast food outlets. This is a luxury for you in city folks. I cutt up my own cows and grow my own veggies i also do not need a mechanic to fix my broken down truck I do not need transit to get to work and in my neighborhood it is very rare we need police officers something i help subsidize for you all. I am proud to be what i am. i help to preserve culture how many of you can saddle up a horse? or entertain others in a rodeo? or herd cows? I do my fair share so lay off i am not a city folk and i do not want to be one quet frank your lifes seem borring to me as you all probly think about mine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by solo
    I think you miss read what i wrote ken. I said" i do not mind paying for all these services" in fact i am honored( anything to help my fellow man). My problem is when others complain that they pay extra for my lifestyle when i pay extra for their lifestyle in other ways.
    ...
    sorry but " i'm not complaining i enjoy my lifestyle but who really are the greedy selfish onse?" sure sounded like complaining to me and not an honor.

    i suppose "my problem" is that noone i know is complaining about how they pay extra for your lifestyle regardless of how much they pay in taxes while you insist you are paying "extra for their lifestyle in other ways" (?). i'm glad you take pride in what you do and where you live. at least that's something you share with a lot of us city folk.
    "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

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    Not so much what you said Ken its allot of the quotes i read like this

    Quote Originally Posted by RichardS
    EXACTLY....you want to live hell and gone and have your big this and oversized that...you pay the FULL SHOT.
    "and as long as the extra costs for services, infrastructure, and other such luxuries for the wonderful life of suburban sprawl isn't past on to me"

    few other comments but i have not quet figured this forum out yet but they are posted they seem greedy and selfish to me.

    Im sure not many of you are fond of me but you are all welcome to experience some culture and lifestyle its what i do and i useally charge money for this. you can experience the life of a settler. see a calf be born, ride a horse, barrel race, herd cows etc. drive a tractor lol milk a cow( i know gross) see an ald fashion barn burner wich me and my friends frequently do......I understand museums and Art gallery's are all your thing and thats your understanding about Alberta culture to u guys. what i can offer you all something your all missing it could change your minds and maybe be more open minded and excepting to others.

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    Gee solo, too bad I know how much the suburban home is subsidized...vs the real rural communities who pay the full shot...
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardS
    Gee solo, too bad I know how much the suburban home is subsidized...vs the real rural communities who pay the full shot...
    ok Richards i would like to see the numbers. whats the numers to fund the snow clearing on my gravel road to my home? cause other than that i dont pay sewer in fact it cost me $10,000 for a new septic field, ohh and i got power lines even though most of my power is self produced and i pay for my own water and gas to be shipped in.

    lets compare costs. and then what we each paid in taxes last year.

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    Wow. So when are you guys going to lynch solo? I don't want to be part of it. There are so many different life style options open to us we should be celebrating this as part of fantastic community. Smart growth is where you supply as many different choices as people want and can afford. The city of Edmonton will not regain control over the regional housing situation until it learns to be inclusive not exclusive, patriarchal, condescending or arrogant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenco
    Wow. So when are you guys going to lynch solo? I don't want to be part of it. There are so many different life style options open to us we should be celebrating this as part of fantastic community. Smart growth is where you supply as many different choices as people want and can afford. The city of Edmonton will not regain control over the regional housing situation until it learns to be inclusive not exclusive, patriarchal, condescending or arrogant.
    LoL guess i could probly teach them how to make a noose also

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenco
    Wow. So when are you guys going to lynch solo? I don't want to be part of it. There are so many different life style options open to us we should be celebrating this as part of fantastic community. Smart growth is where you supply as many different choices as people want and can afford. The city of Edmonton will not regain control over the regional housing situation until it learns to be inclusive not exclusive, patriarchal, condescending or arrogant.
    Glenco,

    i think there may have been more than a bit of non-inclusive, exclusive, patriarchal, condescending, or arrogant sentiments that were being responded to here. that celebration of a fantastic community and the maintaining - and respect - for as many different choices as people want and can afford is deserved in both directions.

    "sorry, if i do not want to live where crime is high, bums and homeless people on every corner. I assume most of you are not handy men that restore cars, woodwork or have a wind farm, or own large dogs or fix your own vehicles, raise livestock, have horses or snowmobile, quad and dirtbike as you can not do that if you live in a condo or some townhouse."

    "but who really are the greedy selfish onse?"

    "Being coooped up in some dinky condo or townhouse is just not my idea of living, i dont need neighbors complaining all the time and people telling me what color i can paint my home or fence what not. In this day and age we are restricted too so many of our personal freedoms as is and things will only get worse i would like to try and keep the freedoms i have.
    "
    "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

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    ? sorry im confused now lol

    I see many benifits to my lifestyle. Most farm kids do not grow up obese and unhealthy, instead of playing video games they learn what a hard days work is and how to provide and be self sufficient they are taught manners and have morals. They learn to do things for themself withought being at the mercy of others. they could grow up famous as maybe a moto cross racer or a star cowboy a stunt man. Maybe Veterinary they pretty much do it already. They understand mechanics, machinery, horticulture, agriculture by the age of 10. They would not ever experience this in an apartment, condo townhouse etc.

    I see so many kids entering the workforce now days in Alberta and they are weak scared to even get dirty and have no understanding of common sense. Where i look at my kids and they are strong with many skills, they also are well educated and top of their class. well diversified because i give them Opportunity. what city kids see or learn from a book my kids are doing in real life + the books.

    I'm curious what Opportunity is given to these city kids over what my kids are given. what maybe being a gang banger or a video game addict? you can push that life on your kids, not mine they deserve better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by solo
    ...I'm curious what Opportunity is given to these city kids over what my kids are given. what maybe being a gang banger or a video game addict? you can push that life on your kids, not mine they deserve better.
    i could almost buy the first two paragraphs after your intro... and then you got "exclusive, patriarchal, condescending and arrogant" again by insulting everyone else's choices.
    "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

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    I asked everyone to watch the short video that I posted in the beginning of this thread -

    I question whether solo did.... ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenco
    Wow. So when are you guys going to lynch solo? (...).
    Lynch...or debate... Huge difference....

    solo...most city kids don't turn out as you speak, and being rural raised, I can tell you of a similar population of kids who did stupid things, bullied kids, and the like...
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardS
    Lynch...or debate... Huge difference....

    solo...most city kids don't turn out as you speak, and being rural raised, I can tell you of a similar population of kids who did stupid things, bullied kids, and the like...
    I grew up on an acreage in Strathcona County. My parents placed me into private school rather than send me to any of the Sherwood Park high schools due to the environment and my fellow suburban/rural students. There's plenty of unsavory, poorly raised children in any social strata (even private school). Even though I grew up in the country, my parents still exposed me to art and & culture and architecture before the age of 10! And they ensured I engaged in critical thinking so I could make informed decisions. And they taught me about the world around me, and how important it was to ensure we tended to it well. It was wholly irrelevant where I lived or how much money they made.

    (I've lived in Toronto and NYC, but the only place I've ever been mugged is Sherwood Park by a kid with a knife.)

  37. #37

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    ^^ don't let the masses know that -

    people are under the impression that crime stops at the sherwood park border...

    I grew up in sherwood park - I can give many compelling stories of what the youth do for entertainment, given that there isn't much out there for youths to do (especially before millennium place was opened... which is pretty far out and need a car to get there anyways..)
    A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims, but accomplices.

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    I get the impression that most Edmontonians don't care about smart growth and curbing sprawl because they've never seen a viable alternative. When smart growth proponents offer higher density, infill, and mixed use as solutions, most people think of Whyte ave-- where partying goes on all night and it's hard to park-- or other half assed "vibrant" neighborhoods in the city where, as solo points out, "gang bangers or video game addicts" are bred. With the exception of one or two very small areas of the city, there is nothing but poor examples of smart growth in the city. To see where mixed use, human scale, "traditional" planning has worked you have to go to other places, other cities; it's all been done wrong here (or it hasn't been done at all). That's why I laughed out loud when the guy in the video says Edmonton is developing a classic case of suburban sprawl. Hello? DevelopING? Even our oldest neighborhoods are essentially suburban.

    So most Edmontonians were raised in suburban communities, aspired to buy into new suburbs like their parents did, and are content with that. They've never seen anything better, and so they're suspicious of anything different.

    I only hope the increased housing prices and influx of immigration brings new demand that 'trickles up' to smarter options being offered. But as for making sure 'smart growth' development is done right, that's an entirely different problem. And if it's not done right we run the risk of creating areas that are even worse than suburbia...

    Anyway Solo, your lifestyle choice shouldn't condemn you to being berated on this board. There are certainly benefits to it, and if you can afford it then more power to you. Let's just keep in mind that urban life is not necessarily all grit and danger. When it's done right it is vibrant, exciting, convenient, healthy, and safe. Sometimes I think Edmonton should take a field trip to Toronto or NYC or anywhere else really.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mark
    Let's just keep in mind that urban life is not necessarily all grit and danger. When it's done right it is vibrant, exciting, convenient, healthy, and safe. Sometimes I think Edmonton should take a field trip to Toronto or NYC or anywhere else really.
    Not sure if Toronto is a good place to see smart growth, some of the largest suburbs and car centric devlopment in North America can be found in the Greater Toronto area - Mississauga, Oakville and North York to name a few.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kona
    Quote Originally Posted by mark
    Let's just keep in mind that urban life is not necessarily all grit and danger. When it's done right it is vibrant, exciting, convenient, healthy, and safe. Sometimes I think Edmonton should take a field trip to Toronto or NYC or anywhere else really.
    Not sure if Toronto is a good place to see smart growth, some of the largest suburbs and car centric devlopment in North America can be found in the Greater Toronto area - Mississauga, Oakville and North York to name a few.
    yeah, that's why I said Toronto and not the GTA. Kensington market, the beach, the annex; take your pick of pre-war neighborhoods because Edmonton could learn a lot from any of them. It's no coincidence Jane Jacobs lived in TO...

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