Study Shows Edmonton Is Developing Faster Than Other Major Canadian Regions
Edmonton is growing at an alarming rate. In just two years, the population has shot up by 7.4%, which translates to 60,000 people. According to Statistics Canada, 82 people move into Edmonton every day, and in the last 4 years the city has grown almost the size of St. Albert.
Edmonton growth is major news
The area of land developed in the region over the last four decades is startling, and now Edmonton is recognized as a large city – a large city in the fastest growing region and the fastest growing province. The city continues to attract top talent, particularly younger people, who until quite recently would have preferred to move to other major Canadian cities.
The Edmonton region covers a total of 9,427 square kilometers, 1,094 of which are covered by roads, buildings, or other surfaces. According to new research, this is more developed than anywhere else in the country besides Montreal and Toronto; perhaps what’s interesting is the population density. Population is still much lower than other metropolitan areas including Regina and Winnipeg.
Traditional city planning requires the growth spread out. However, Edmonton stands out as an oddity, growing denser at an unprecedented rate.
The largest age group in this region is 20-39, which greatly outnumbers their parents, the baby-boomers living in the region. This of course has a few advantages; for instance it brings a lot of employment opportunities. Growth inevitably means that new restaurants are being built, new retailers coming up, and festivals; all projects that make a city dynamic and vibrant.
Concerns over fast-paced growth
An interesting city report estimates that over a period of 50 years, Edmonton will pay $1.4 billion more than it receives from maintenance, revenue and other services for the last three growth areas. City municipality is trying to get ahead of the situation, and one solution is to promote infill housing in the older communities.
Ideally, new housing should pop up in established neighborhoods and near or around transit hubs. However, more has to be done to curb the inevitable traffic jams, housing prices, and an overpopulated swim lane.
Managing growth with little impact to quality of life
The only way to manage this type of growth is with smart, responsible forward-thinking planning. This is achieved by adopting responsible land development practices, particularly with allotment of land to newcomers. Industrial investment and commercial investment appeal are ultimately what help grow a city. But in the case of a rapidly growing area, more has to be done to control the nature of this growth, to ensure development occurs collectively, lifting the whole region.
Edmonton has come up to be an exciting, rapidly growing region full of promise – and youth – and for the sake of both new and older residents, municipalities will have to face the oncoming challenges head on if all the new opportunities are to be capitalized.
For older residents, the new building plans present a change in the older way of life in Edmonton. For instance some of tracks of land around the city are used for growing food, but the new city plan involves building highways that will pass right through the land and crops. Although it may take years before such major change occurs, it does raise a few questions about the future of Edmonton.
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