Reimagine Housing In our Communities

Where we are: My grandmother lived on the corner of 16th Avenue and Deerfoot. A corner lot in the Midfield mobile home park. She was forced to move when the City began the process of redeveloping the area she called home. She knew the community, she knew the neighbourhood, but when it came time to move, there was nowhere in her neighbourhood she could afford. So she had to leave after quietly retiring there for over a decade.

This story is not unique to my grandmother. It is an experience felt by many Calgarians, young and old. It is our moral and ethical responsibility to ensure our communities are built so everyone can find a place to call home.

Where we can go, together: Our communities must be built for people of all ages, wages, and stages of life. The landscape of Calgary’s communities continues to evolve in amazing ways. People love the communities they choose to live in, and it is vital that we allow our communities to grow alongside the people who call them home. We must build complete neighbourhoods we can be proud to be part of and be able to say: This neighbourhood is for me, for my kids, and for my parents.

 We must empower people to be a part of the change they want to see with predictability, affordability, and fairness.

Economical: The reality is that if someone can only live in certain neighbourhoods because that is what they can afford, then that’s not actually a choice. If we build neighbourhoods to be affordable, amenity-rich, and where anyone can find their place in the neighbourhood they choose, we can truly build communities for everyone.

By creating a diversity of housing so young people and families can move into our communities, we increase the tax base in every neighbourhood and help reduce the cost of services that rests on the shoulders of current residents. Through sensible diversification of our communities, we can increase the number of taxpayers while ensuring that our amenities and services stay well-funded without increased individual costs.

The evidence is clear–a successful housing strategy is not only fiscally responsible, but it improves the quality of life we offer Calgarians.

Social: A cornerstone of my vision for this city is acknowledging that housing is a human right. Housing is critical to harm reduction efforts and affordable living is necessary to make sure we can support every Calgarian, no matter the context. Imagining all the ways we can build ‘home’ is key to creating equitable and inclusive neighbourhoods. Owning and renting, cooperative and multigenerational living are all part of Calgary’s landscape. No one can feel safe, find work, study, and grow without a place to call home. This is how we build communities for everyone.

Together, we can reduce and eliminate barriers keeping people from accessing housing and make it easier for citizens to meet their daily and lifelong needs. A guarantee of housing security means that in times of need, support will be available for all Calgarians. Housing security also decreases reliance on social services such as health care, food banks, and shelters.

Environmental: Unrestrained suburban sprawl is one of the greatest risks to our environment. Calgary is 848 km² in size. In comparison, Toronto is only 630.2 km². Calgary has been built in a way that we have over 200 km² more space than Toronto with approximately a third of the people. This is not efficient city building. Our continual expansion has seen unnecessary expansion into the greenfields surrounding our city, costly infrastructure that increases our need for cars, and we have poorly used our natural resources in order to build expansive neighbourhoods.

Building better communities is about efficiency in all aspects of how we live. We can reduce our environmental footprint by using the service infrastructure in place right now rather than building more. Understanding that our environment is an asset we cannot take for granted, we can make sure our communities are more resilient than ever by turning to environmentally responsible building strategies, sensible densification, and creating more close-knit communities.

Actions:

  1. Advocate and support increased funding for affordable housing on a mixed-income model. 
  2. Support increased development along major transit, transportation, and active transportation corridors. 
  3. Enhance city planning practices to equally include the voices of affected community members, local businesses, and marginalized voices and demand a more collaborative process between the public and private sector. 
  4. Champion a more equitable engagement process that knocks down barriers for citizens to be a part of city building discussions, combats misinformation and disinformation, and equips residents with better tools to critically navigate and participate in the planning system.
  5. Advocate for Renter Protections from the Province to support more affordable housing options so that those who are renting can have affordable and dignified options for housing, while still being able to save for their future.
  6. In partnership with the Provincial and Federal Governments, advocate for more funding to build housing that is responsive to the needs of diverse communities.
  7. In partnership with the Provincial and Federal Governments, commit to ending homelessness in Calgary by providing wraparound services that address the challenges faced by those experiencing short term and long term homelessness.
  8. Investigate opportunities for rehabilitation and redevelopment of brownfield and greyfield sites to increase land availability for housing.
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