How Zoning Rules Could Make People Happier in Edmonton
When you purchase a home on a street with a thoroughfare of trees, it is definitely a joy booster. This can apply to when you have windows in the front of your house that are about three meters from the front walkway too. It allows for privacy while still being close enough to get to know those friendly neighbors. The city is currently conducting a survey online on the criteria to be adopted for improving existing homes and infill properties. The queries target several aspects ranging from privacy and windows placement to the maximum breadth of verandas.
Below are some of the various ways in which mature neighborhoods could be happier because of the zoning rules.
More Density Near Shopping Areas and Transit
Homeowners can have two units per lot according to the current city regulations. Hence, they can choose between a garage suite, basement suite, lot splitting or granny flat. A moderate increase in density restrictions would allow more people to walk to the services they need. Additionally, small apartments, townhouses, and row houses should be allowed on close-to-transit properties.
A walking population is a healthy population. Furthermore, the heightened population will give support to businesses and buses. However, if it is interdicted, new residents could face long commutes from the suburbs.
Introduce Appropriate Setbacks
Society is happier when neighbors know each other. Homeowners with about three meters setback to the street are more likely to know their neighbors. However, homes too close to the streets could make people uncomfortable using their front yard or front windows. Besides, erecting a house too far from the street will lead to connection loss from what’s happening on the streets. Construction of more homes closer to the streets may be the answer to boost happiness.
More Trees Instead of Driveways
There are significant differences between people living on streets with trees and those without trees. People living on tree-populated streets feel healthier and happier than their counterparts. Zoning for happiness would mean more and more trees on the street – accepting the recently initiated requirements for new homes to plant trees. Having less pavements and adding more trees in place of driveways is a better solution and much safer for children.
Banning of Garage Doors, Blank Fences, and Street-facing Walls
Few people hang around blank walls – people walk past them as quickly as they can. Long blank fences, garage doors, and walls facing the street create a blank wall in a smaller scale neighborhood. Currently, zoning rules regulate the width of the front garages. They also restrict how far they can stick out in front of the house. If happiness were the reason for zoning, it would minimize garage doors and push them back into the building. The windows and doors should be near the streets. This helps in making the neighborhood more welcoming and family-oriented.
Shortcuts Through Long City Blocks
People are happier in a neighborhood if they can walk to shops, bus stops, or parks with ease. Residents of an area with long city blocks, cul-de-sacs, and crescents have to take circuitous routes to their destinations. With the roads already built, the best way to fix it could be to add infill. The city also rewards downtown developers if they include a public good, such as a park area. The same concept could work and make an infill lot to give out a meager pathway in exchange for some benefits such as increased density or height.
For happier mature neighborhoods, the zoning rules should be relevant, considerate, and applicable. Hence, zoning should be centered toward the happiness of everyone in the vicinity.
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