Calgary: A case study in residential development
- Tackling urban political issues
- The contemporary relevance of the issues
- Canadian oil sands
- Albian sands
- Athabasca oil sands
- Expanding the city
- Calgary's Mayor David Bronconnier's view
- The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC)
- The Calgary Chamber of Commerce
Although the Canadian city of Calgary has traditionally been an affordable place to live, substantial economic and population growth has resulted in an over extended demand on real estate. As a result, house prices in Calgary have increased significantly in recent years (Calgary Real Estate Board, 2007).
Indeed, in November 2006, the city of Calgary became the second most expensive city to reside in (Ibid, 2007). At this time, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce identified affordable housing as one of their top five priority issues of priority. Preliminary research revealed that the Chamber is deeply concerned about the damage the affordable housing crisis is doing too Calgary's economic prosperity. Traditionally, the city's housing market has functioned well; prices were reasonable at 10 percent below the national average and housing was plentiful as most places offered sufficient amenities. Unfortunately, current housing prices, decreases in rental vacancies and escalating rents have undermined the city's reputation as an affordable place to live and work (Calgary Chamber of Commerce, 2007). In the Chambers opinion, this makes it much harder and more expensive to attract and retain employees. As such, the goal of this paper is essentially twofold; first, to ask why house prices have increased significantly since the millennia. Second, to explore how the city of Calgary, comprised of the municipal government, interest groups and the local community, have responded to the demand on real estate and the soaring residential market.
Initially, it may be helpful to qualify that tackling this urban political issue requires a careful analysis of the city's socio-economic and political influences since the turn of the twenty-first century. In doing so, one is able to confine the subject of our discussion to contemporary relevant variables, arguably a more accurate indicator of when real estate prices began to explode in Calgary.
[...] For instance, in April of 2007, the city of Calgary gained 12,000 position of employment, seeing a total growth of In other words, as the demand increased so did the price of the commodity (Calgary Real Estate Board, 2007). In a similar light, consider what Richard Corriveau, the regional director for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp in Calgary, has to say on the issue. For Corriveau, ?they're all arriving in search of jobs the three prairie provinces have the lowest unemployment rates in the entire country, and that's contributing to the magnetic draw into those respective markets? (Toneguzzi, 2007). [...]
[...] In the Chambers opinion, the challenge is to respond in a way to the specific problem areas. In conclusion, affordable housing across the city of Calgary is both complex and in some instances contradictory issue. From an administrator's perspective, the issue of affordable housing is secondary to urban sprawl. In attempting to prevent urban sprawl, the municipal government has inadvertently contributed to the increased cost of housing. Despite this, initiatives such as imagineCALGARY and The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) are positive steps forward in solving the housing crisis. [...]
[...] According to Heather Douglas, President and CEO of the Chamber, cities such as Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Saskatoon have changed their zoning to allow suites in all residential areas and in all types of housing. In addition to such a proposal, the Chamber met with the Alberta Affordable Housing Task Force in February of this year. The Chambers recommendations focused on four main areas. First, strategic leadership that would unite the municipal and provincial levels of government on this issue (Calgary Chamber of Commerce, 2007). [...]