Last year I attended a LandscapeNL conference whose keynote speaker was urban development expert Ed McMahon.
He showed us a photo taken from a golf green with homes overlooking the course.
"The people in these homes paid more for their house than those without a view of the golf course," he said.
Realtors already know this is the case, but Ed dug deeper and found out that 80% of these homeowners don't play golf. They pay more because they like the view.
The fact is that people often prefer living in neighbourhoods that are close to nature. More than just the view, people appreciate green spaces and walking trails.
So Ed McMahon and his team went to work and began creating plans for subdivisions that contained the same number of lots as traditional designs, but retained a large portion of the natural landscape.
The results are extremely impressive: people are willing to pay more for houses on these smaller lots; families are healthier because they make use of the walking trails and parks; public transit can reach more people; and city services like waste removal and snow clearing cost less because roads are narrower and houses are closer together.
In short, when we take time to properly design a subdivision, we're happier and our taxes are lower.
Click here to learn more about low impact development.
I've been doing a fair bit of door-to-door visiting in my campaign for councillor at large, and in the newer subdivisions I'm hearing people say, "I love my house, but the traffic is bad," or "there's nowhere for my kids to play."
Subdivision design is heavily influenced by policies crafted at City Hall, which means it's up to council and staff to make sure we're encouraging excellent development practices.
Our city is still growing and there are a lot of opportunities for the city to work with home builders to create neighbourhoods that are sustainable and improve everyone's lives.
I understand these issues, I'm driven to find solutions, and I know how to bring together the groups who will make them happen.
If you share my vision and want more thoughtful guidelines and regulations, then share this with your friends and family. Let them know they have a choice in this election and that there is a bright future for the City of St. John's.