5 ways condos can rock

With further thought on the South Central issue and subsequent conversations with various people, I thought a look at “5 ways condos can rock” and “5 ways condos can suck” would be a good way to address some of the issues – positive and negative – and hopefully generate even more conversation.

To that end, I decided to specifically address the impact condo development can have for neighbourhoods/cities as a whole. These are just brief outlines of huge complex issues. Please feel free to contribute your thoughts.

Without further ado, here’s part 1:

5 ways condos can rock

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1

scale and variety

Not everyone needs or wants a 3 or 4 bedroom home with yard and it’s neither economical nor sustainable to build 1 or 2 bedroom single family homes. Condos are far more flexible at accommodating a variety of unit sizes and configurations which mean more appropriately scaled and priced housing for various life situations, housing needs, and budgets. When responsibly planned, condos fill in the housing gap between single family homes and rental units. They provide mid-point options useful as a step-between for young families, or downsizing options for single or part-time parents and elderly couples.

2

diverse neighbourhoods

Neighbourhoods that can accommodate and attract a variety of home owners, landlords, and tenants benefit from the diversity. Condos help to facilitate this mix. Diversity means children grow up playing and going to school with children of mixed cultural and economic backgrounds. It means a variety of schedules so that not everyone will be going to work, grocery shopping, eating, creating line-ups and congestion all at the same time everywhere you go. It also means there is likely always a neighbour at home when you’re out which increases security. And finally, diversity simply makes life and neighbourhoods more interesting and fun.

3

urban density

A lot of neighbourhoods in our cities are under-populated. Increasing the number of people can have huge positive impacts. People activate the street life, attract businesses and services, and make streets safer. Density makes it cheaper and more feasible to support and improve public services such as transit, schools, parks, clinics, sanitation, etc.

4

environmental impact

More densely populated neighbourhoods are generally more energy efficient neighbourhoods. They tend to be more walkable. You can live, work, shop, and socialize within walking distance – which means fewer cars on the roads. Cars are also just generally more hassle than they are worth in a dense well-mixed neighbourhood. This leads to increased demand for alternative transportation which stimulates development and improvement of public transit systems. Living units tend to be more compact, combined with less heat loss because of the shared walls, heating and cooling of condos can be extremely efficient.

5

investment in shared public spaces

The condo lifestyle involves less private space and a need for more public space. It extends living beyond your own private home and into the neighbourhood and once again activates street life. In addition, the sudden influx of residents is likely to attract new retails and businesses which stimulate growth and investment in other public services. When done responsibly and respectfully, this can have a great revitalizing effect. “Revitalization” doesn’t mean the neighbourhood is necessarily dead but couldn’t we all use a little pepping-up? We all have room for improvement. We all have blemishes of varying degrees of seriousness that bring our otherwise good health and self-image down.

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Next up: 5 ways condos can suck

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