New Buildings Give Older Neighbourhoods New Vigor
Older architecture is often lovely. Who doesn’t love walking through a well-preserved heritage district? Unfortunately, not all neighbourhoods age that gracefully. Infill development is key to keep older neighbourhoods vital, attracting new people while ensuring area services like schools, retail and restaurants remain a going concern.
Oftentimes, infill development takes place on a vacant lot. Sometimes, it requires the removal of an old structure to make room for a new one. In most cases, the buildings that come down are either in disrepair or are just losing their economic and neighbourhood appeal.
Infill development also tends to have a positive impact on property values surrounding the new building. LINK TO NATIONAL POST ARTICLE Sometimes that’s a result of a double lot being split in two, which can double the potential assessment value of the land. But more often, it’s because the new homes are built using higher standards for today’s discerning home buyer. When you replace a derelict property with a brand new home in an older neighbourhood, it has an immediate beneficial impact on the values of the homes all around it.
“Cities change over time. Great cities like Paris have been completely redesigned multiple times over the centuries. We tend to forget that it can be a healthy process to bring new design and construction ideas to an older neighbourhood,” said Nigel Furgus, president of Paragon Design Build. “For our part, we try to make sure any building we’re putting up will fit into the neighbourhood. It may use the latest construction methods and finishes, but it has to make sense on the streetscape too.
Paragon has become one of the leaders in infill development in Winnipeg, winning converts from neighbourhood associations for their work in consulting with communities during the design process. The company uses high quality construction standards on single family homes, apartment buildings and duplexes.
Infill development often leads to higher levels of population density in older neighbourhoods. The growing popularity of having a rental suite in your home means you can add quite a few more families to an area. This leads to higher tax levels which support improvements to streets, parks, arenas and public transit. It also ensures there’s a critical mass of people to support schools, restaurants and retail outlets.
Older neighbourhoods that aren’t steadily renewed with infill development tend to gradually lose their populations and their economic vitality. Houses deteriorate. Businesses close. Schools get smaller with fewer teachers and course options.
Today, we recognize that infill development helps promote a diverse community. Some young families are attracted to new builds, while others love the challenge of refurbishing an older home. Both are rewarded in neighbourhoods that promote infill. Additionally, seniors can age in place, staying close to their children and grandchildren, when they have options such as apartments or granny flats.