The City of Regina has grown concentrically from downtown resulting in the classic urban form, especially given our land space to accommodate it. This is common for many cities as until recently; planned expansion outward was believed to be the best thing for both housing affordability and infrastructure efficiency. Now, governments and the building industry agree that in order for growth to be sustainable, we must also include redevelopment of existing communities.
With the rapid growth Regina has experienced over the past several years, it is important that a growth plan be put in place and followed. The plan is to preserve and extend existing characteristics of The City by growing out as it has; as well as outlines the importance to optimize existing infrastructure and strengthen the city’s primary centres. As a result, Regina’s expansion has shifted to include a balance of increased density in both established and new communities.
In addition to utilizing existing infrastructure, density brings many other benefits. Having more people living in close proximity to each brings a whole new vibe. Areas of higher density can make us healthier as it is often more accessible with the ability to walk and bike; and there are more people in a smaller footprint which encourages interactions and reduces social isolation. Density also reduces the urban sprawl and creates a smaller environmental footprint.
The City outlines a framework to achieve this in its Official Community Plan. As the City prepares to accommodate a population of approximately 300K, (which is a growth of 80K) it guides that 30% of this growth should be absorbed into established communities. You can learn more about this intensification target, which is also known as densification in Design Regina’s Growth Plan.
Of course we can’t fit everybody into the neighbourhoods we’ve already built, but we are already moving toward optimizing our urban footprint.
How will we strike the right balance?
There is ample opportunity to achieve our city’s densification goals. Regina’s Home Builders are responding to our new density goals in many ways, including supplying new product in existing neighbourhoods such as infill housing, laneway and garden suites <link to laneway and garden suites article> and even new developments such as Canterbury Park located across from Wascana Park.
Maintaining diversity for buyers is a part of smarter growth. We need to expand in the healthiest of ways – up, in and out.
Do you live in an established neighbourhood? Have you noticed an increased population in your area? In the suburbs, do you see more density in new communities?
Our challenge is to grow while giving Reginians real choice and affordability. It’s truly a delicate balance.