Subdvisions, the southwestern frontier

First of all, welcome to any and all new readers who came here through the link in Ottawa Start! Glad to see you here, and I hope some of you stick around.

Today, I saw a piece in the Citizen about a developer from Calgary proposing to build a major new residential development between Barrhaven and Stittsville in southwest Ottawa. Here’s a map, to illustrate:

Long-term plans

Blue: Immediate development, Orange: Long-term plans

Just a note about that image, it’s not official in the slightest, I made it myself. The short-term plans I’m fairly sure of, based on the Citizen’s description, but the long-term plans are nearly a complete guess. It’s what made sense to me, based upon the existing road network in that part of Ottawa.

Back to topic, I thought most of the points made in the article made sense, especially the “Live, work, play” notes. This is something I see attached to suburban developments, but what they don’t usually tell you is that the emphasis is on “live”. If you want to work or play, you’re probably going to have to start commuting.

What I’m sitting here asking myself is why we should even consider such a plan? I thought that sprawling new developments were supposed to be becoming a thing of the past, and that even in relatively-conservative Ottawa, we were starting to move towards intensification and sustainable development. I guess that because the price of gas has dropped back down to under $1 per litre, it’s okay to try to go back to outdated theories of suburban development.

Personally, I hope to see this get quashed at Council, but it’s hard to say which way this will go. The City is starting to see that we need to change how we build cities, but these changes occur slowly so who knows which attitude will prevail.

(As an aside, I recommend listening to this in the background to lend this post a proper atmosphere)

5 Responses to “Subdvisions, the southwestern frontier”

  1. November 25, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Some of us are still resisting the hints being dropped by reality, regardless of how much less subtlety is going into those hints these days.

    My own thinking is that we need those farms where they are, as they are.

  2. 2 David McClelland
    November 25, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Indeed. Having farms right on the fringes of the city is something you can’t underrate. Especially when you consider how little good farmland there is around Ottawa—you don’t have to go far away before you hit the Shield.

  3. November 26, 2008 at 7:36 am

    Now how do we make that point, suburbanites that we’ve had to be of late…?

  4. November 26, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    The City is starting to see that we need to change how we build cities, but these changes occur slowly so who knows which attitude will prevail.

    Really? I hope that’s true, but I haven’t seen any evidence of it.


  5. 5 David McClelland
    November 26, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Erigami: I’m referring mostly to the City’s occasional recognition of the need to intensify and build inward, rather than outward—it’s noted in the first sentence of the Citizen article. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s quite permeated to Council yet, so it’s probably little more than handwaving.

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