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Thanks Li-Husan for your interesting view on the quality of life within a compact City. I myself am a great advocate for mixed-use compact development.

They are found to provide immense social, economic and environmental benefits (University of Delaware, 2018). In addition, they have also been linked to a healthier lifestyle both physically and emotionally (Government of Canada, 2017).

During my time working in St. Catharines Canada, I became very immersed in the use of infill development and secondary suites as a solution to existing sprawl conditions.

Infill Development
Using concepts of Smart Growth Development, infill examines development opportunities within existing built environments (MRSC, 2018). This was essential is St. Catharines where the growing City was bound by environmental boundaries, forcing growth internally. Many are fearful infill development will result in lowered property values and loss of community, however several studies have shown this to be false (Lawyn, 2016).

Secondary Units
Secondary units have become immensely popular as a method to home affordability(Wisniewsik, D., 2017).  Typically, these units are isolated within the home such as a basement and pay rent to the homeowner. More frequently explored in Toronto and Vancouver is laneway housing, where small secondary dwellings are being built accessed via laneway (Flack, D., 2017). These two options have provided ample opportunity for low-income housing in otherwise unaffordable communities.

New Urbanism is a fairly recent urban design movement focused on high quality of life by mixed-use compact development. The Congress for New Urbanism advocate for community design through the Charter of New Urbanism (Congress for New Urbanism, 2017).

We stand for the restoration of existing urban centers and towns within coherent metropolitan regions, the reconfiguration of sprawling suburbs into communities of real neighborhoods and diverse districts, the conservation of natural environments, and the preservation of our built legacy.

Some of their principles include (Congress For New Urbanism, 2018):

  • Development patterns should not blur or eradicate the edges of the metropolis. Infill development within existing urban areas conserves environmental resources, economic investment, and social fabric, while reclaiming marginal and abandoned areas
  • Within neighborhoods, a broad range of housing types and price levels can bring people of diverse ages, races, and incomes into daily interaction, strengthening the personal and civic bonds essential to an authentic community
  • Neighborhoods should be compact, pedestrian friendly, and mixed-use
  • Concentrations of civic, institutional, and commercial activity should be embedded in neighborhoods and districts, not isolated in remote, single-use complexes


Congress for New Urbanism (2018). The Charter of the New Urbanism. Retrieved from:

Congress for New Urbanism (2017). What is New Urbanism? Retrieved from:

Government of Canada (2017). The Chief Public Health Officer’s Report on the State of Public Health in Canada 2017 – Designing Healthy Living. Retrieved from:

Flack, D. (2017). Toronto is Finally Ready to Embrace Laneway Housing. Blog To. Retrieved from:

Lewyn. M. (2016). Yes to Infill, No to Nuisance. Fordham Urban Law Journal. Retrieved from:

MRSC. (2018). Infill Development. Retrieved from:

Wisniewsik, D. (2017). Secondary Suites Could Be Important Souce of Affordable Housing in Northumberland County. Retrieved from:

University of Delaware. (2018). Benefits of Mixed-Use Development. Retrieved from:

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

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