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50-year Experiment with Sprawl is Ending

Well I’m excited.  Co-founder of the Congress of New Urbanism, Peter Calthorpe, has been hired by my town to design something he described to the Toronto Star (May 25, 2009) as being “the highest manifestation of transit-oriented development” that he has been involved in.

Wow.

“We’ve had a 50-year experiment with sprawl. Now it’s over.  Everything’s changing. There’s a huge demographic shift happening.  If you include externalities and subsidies, sprawl is not affordable.  The key to unlocking the potential is transit,” he adds.  Amen.

The new development, called Langstaff, is a new urbanism community that if all goes as planned will be built on a 140-acre parcel of land directly by our newest transportation hub.

That transporation hub is currently in existence and I use it from time to time when my husband needs the van (we are a one vehicle family).  It’s great for getting into the city and back home with no fuss or traffic.  The one problem is that it’s all bus transit.  What we really need is to extend the subway to this hub and that is in the works.

“If you want to get people out of cars,” says Calthorpe, “you’ve got to get them close to transit.  And transit must be there to support walkability, not the other way around. Destinations have to be nearby.”

As I always say, we want to live near to where we work and we can only work where there is affordable, clean transit to get us to and from home…FAST.

The new development Calthorpe will be designing will have 360 homes/units per hectare. Approximately 23,000 jobs will be located within this transportation hub community, once it is fully completed.

Just the thought of 23,000 jobs being created in the years ahead for this one pocket of my town seems almost unbelievable as we trudge through the current economic crunch.  But I’m not disputing the figures.  I absolutely see the possibility and it’s not just because I live in this growth community.

Smart developments that are sensitive to the environment and the needs of working people, attract more working people and more businesses!!

Where will many of these new employees live? Well, Lansgstaff will feature a new urbanism styled living community, laid out in small blocks with green parkland filling in the center of the development. Buildings will include a variety of popular living styles from townhouses to condo towers. This is similar to the higher density communities in our city to the south (Toronto).

I can’t wait for this to get going.  Time for me to start attending town meetings again sot hat I can put my voice behind the push to keep things on schedule (and on target).

Pictured in this story is my daughter and a friend in one of the wondeful new urban styled squares that were added to my end of town in recent years.

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