While we weren’t paying attention, Edmonton (motto: “Where Innovation (Almost Never) Happens”) made history by getting rid of areas where only detached single-family homes can be.
And yes, it’s a big deal. In a good way, I mean.
I’m not a big fan of zoning. At all. Obviously heavy industries plant themselves far away from the pretty neighbourhoods. Airports, too. It makes so much sense there’s not really any need to regulate that. If a business pollutes more than what is tolerable by humans, it needs to go somewhere other than near downtown. But zoning rules to regulate whether we can have a bakery in the middle of a residential development are inane in the utmost. Also stupid, counter-productive, unhealthy, environmentally unfriendly and just plain dumb.
What makes a residential area pleasant to live in is when you can do most of your living in that one space. Short or no commute to work, walk to the grocer, walk to the bakery, walk to school, bike to the dentist, etc. You go live in a small town in Europe you’ll get that. People only take their car to buy milk in North America, because we’re the only people stupid enough to make residential areas have nothing but houses (and sometimes schools; at least we stick the schools near-ish where the kids are).
Areas restricted to single-family houses are heaven only for cars and dependence on same. This never made anyone happier or healthier.
Human beings are meant to be close to one another, and they’re especially meant to be active. About the worst you can do for your health is be isolated in your own cocoon and drive everywhere, alone in a big cushy car. Which is what most people in the suburbs do on a regular basis. Then we wonder why we’re depressed.
So you go, Edmonton. And may Everwhere Else, Canada follow you soon.