Edmonton’s infill association, IDEA (Infill Development Edmonton Association), is a proactive group that provides education and resources on infill development to the community and industry. Its stated mission- “To promote and advocate for high-quality infill development within Edmonton” creates a vision for Edmonton’s existing neighborhoods to flourish as communities with diverse housing and healthy lifestyle choices. IDEA supports Edmonton’s municipal plan for sustainable growth, for an integrated approach to transportation, infrastructure, community design, and land-use zoning.
Infill helps to build a city that is livable, sustainable, and affordable. The spread-out patterns of growth, which have shaped our communities for the past several decades, cannot be sustained. Problems of lengthy commutes, overextended public facilities, increased infrastructure costs, loss of farmlands and open space, and other valued community resources, and even reduced physical activity and community health are patterns of increased suburban sprawl.
Instead, an increased emphasis on redevelopment within developed urban areas, and on maximizing the use of existing public facilities is needed. Infill development is the process of redeveloping under-used parcels of land or developing vacant parcels within existing urban areas that are already largely developed. Successful infill development is characterized by residential densities high enough to support improved transportation choices as well as a wider variety of convenience services and amenities. It returns cultural, social, recreational, and entertainment opportunities, gathering places, and vitality to older centers and neighborhoods. A cooperative partnership between government, the development community, financial institutions, neighborhood organizations, and other resources is essential to achieve infill success. In the long view, the public and private costs that favour sprawl development patterns will far exceed the resources needed now to facilitate infill development.