Ask The Question
The problem with infill is that it is a solution to the wrong question.
The wrong question is: why are there not enough family homes available for families in mature neighbourhoods?
An examination of most mature neighbourhoods will reveal the real question by looking at the community and seeing that only one third of the homes have families with children in them.
The right question is: why are so few families with children living in mature neighbourhoods?
Knowledge for action starts with goals. In this case the purpose of communities is to provide education for future generations in supportive neighbourhoods.
Once the goal is identified from legislated sustainability the identified facts required to act can be identified.
Although information required is available it may not be complete due to inadequate compilation of cross tabulation of statistics. At the neighbourhood level however enough information is available to identify the general problem of too few children in older neighbourhoods.
Communication requires that everyone is at the table. In the case of communities this includes
1 the residents
2 the school boards
3 the elected city members
4 the provincial government
Each communication group has its own starting point. Communities and in particular, parents are acutely aware that the education standards required by sustainability are not being met. Others without children may be sympathetic but not aware of their roles in solving the problem.
Agreement is possible when it is determined that there is a solution which will not only save public funds but will provide a better environment for future generations to grow up in.
Collaboration will not work if neighbours cannot agree that their community is worth saving and has a future.
Collaboration will not work if school boards continue to accept school closures.
Collaboration will not work if city representatives do not understand sustainability because administrations will not change.
Collaboration will not work if senior governments initiate sustainability but do not provide leadership by revising legislation.
Process engages all levels because it is the output of collaboration. Senior governments set sustainable rules as an extension of municipal, housing and environmental departments. They also set up within education feedback methods to evaluate success cities reorganize planning to ensure that regeneration at the residential and commercial / mixed use level is coordinated and promoted for mature neighbourhoods first.
School boards provide data and organize to welcome new comers and retain existing school populations. Communities can actively promote their communities with the certainly that schools will stay and make it happen by vitalization of their commercial areas to accept mixed use.
Zoning penalizes existing communities and favours new suburbs. Typically new suburbs have fixed zoning whereas existing residential communities have had up-zoning allowed on the assumption that communities deteriorate and that demolition for apartments and conversion to rooming houses will be the fate of existing single family houses as they age.
Modern zoning is developed for promote upgrading and retention of existing single family housing and obsolete commercial areas are rezoned to mixed use to encourage investment and provide apartments in lifestyle urban centres.
Rules are coordinated at all levels to provide equity and ensure all communities can retain and innovate simultaneously.
As the numbers show, only apartment construction has reached the 25% level set by the city. However, based on land use efficiency, the apartments should achieve much more.
For example, a typical community with 1000 single family homes with a density of 25 per hectare could be densified to 40 per hectare by adding 600 apartment suites on only 15% of the land.
The biggest advantage of using apartments to increase density is that they do not have to be built in low density residential areas at all. Placing mixed use projects in existing commercial zones in areas close to existing neighbourhoods will meet much of future needs. The balance can be accommodated in the central city and large brownfield developments that are being redeveloped.