Residential infill projects have added new housing to mature neighbourhoods, but commercial infill could be the key to revitalize these areas and support business owners.
"Edmonton has made really impactful strides around residential infill," Mariah Samji, executive director of the Infill Development in Edmonton Association (IDEA), told Taproot in an interview with Speaking Municipally.
According to Samji, the next step is commercial infill. Samji said the addition of busier commercial sites could help to bring back vibrancy to Edmonton communities.
Infill is the process of developing vacant or under-used residential, commercial, and institutional lands to "fit the needs of today."
Some examples of commercial infill are new garden suites, removing some onsite parking requirements, and revamping Rogers Place, according to Samji. These developments support residential infill in what she calls a construction ecosystem.
Ritchie Market is an example of commercial infill development, with a coffee shop, restaurant, and event space. Revitalizing under-used strip malls in the city is one of IDEA's top priorities.
According to Samji, these developments will "give builders, developers, and tenants more ... agency to bring back that beautiful space" and that residents will "start to see these mature neighborhoods fill up again."
The City Plan, which was approved at the end of 2020, included a vision for 50% of new construction projects to be infill.
"It will take a lot of work ... and coordination," Samji said. "But I think we have all the right pieces to get there. We just need to make sure we're implementing and actioning them as we go along."
Photo: Ritchie Market is a multi-use building with a shared, collaborative space. (Duchess Bake Shop/Instagram)