Rezoning Presentation to Council – July 10, 2017

Rezoning Application Presentation to Edmonton City Council by Urban Green on July 10, 2017 regarding Cohousing project in Old Strathcona

Monique Nutter on behalf of Urban Green Cohousing Cooperative.

Our intention is to develop and build cohousing.

Notice of Public Hearing sign for Urban Green's properties

Notice of Public Hearing sign posted at Urban Green site in Old Strathcona

Cohousing originated in Denmark in the 1960s, a response to a changing world where women are now integral to the workforce, resource limitations and environmental concerns are on the rise, and people feel simultaneously overextended and disconnected. It combines the privacy of residents owning their own self-sufficient homes with shared common space designed to promote knowing one’s neighbours and contributing to a rich sense of community. It also develops active and engaged citizens through democratic design and management of housing. Cohousing first came to North America in 1988, and now there are over 160 completed projects.

When I mention that it started with a group of friends and neighbours and has moved to include the much broader community, I am referring to two aspects.

First, the membership of Urban Green has now extended well beyond the original group to include people we had never met before.

Secondly, in line with our democratic principles, desire to harness the creative energies of the broader community, and policies in The Way We Grow and Evolving Infill, we chose to engage the community league and near neighbours early, prior to initial building design. It was in June 2013, that we first informed the Strathcona Community league of our intention to develop the proposed site. We also knocked on the doors of residents within 120 meters of the site, and hosted two community consultations prior to submitting our rezoning application. Along the way, we continually communicated with and received feedback from the community league, and, of course, took part in the City’s public engagement process. The result is a proposal that is sensitive to and fits well within the existing community.

The building and site design aligns with The Way We Grow, and directly supports achievement of its first four goals: Sustainable Urban Form; Integrated Land Use and Transportation; Complete, Healthy and Livable Communities; and Urban Design. Further, this family-oriented infill supports the policy to “Encourage a minimum of 25 percent of city-wide housing unit growth to locate in the Downtown and mature neighbourhoods.” Our design is intentionally multigenerational allowing our elders to age in place alongside families with young children. Our building will step down from four storeys, on the west, next to the adjacent parkade, to two stories, on the east, next to the adjacent single family dwelling. This aligns with the MDP policy to “Support redevelopment and residential infill that contributes to the livability and adaptability of established neighbourhoods and which are sensitive to existing development.“

Our sustainable and resilient design is also closely aligned with the goals and principles of The Way We Green.

Our building will have more spaces for bikes than cars, is within walking distance of good public transit, and within walking distance of amenities such as grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, public library, community league, parks, river valley, and schools.

Our building will reduce energy consumption to 50% of the 2011 National Energy Code of Canada standard. We will do this by:
Optimizing passive heating and cooling through building orientation; windows and window shades; and building envelope.
Employing energy efficient technologies for heating, cooling, lighting and appliances, and
Ensuring the building is net zero ready so we are able to move toward on-site collection and use of renewable energy

Our building will be designed to be durable and last for generations to come by:
Using high quality durable construction materials, and
Employing lifecycle costing in the selection of construction materials, mechanical systems, lighting and plumbing fixtures and appliances.

We have carefully selected a design team and general contractor who understand and can implement our aim of enhancing our vibrant, beautiful, sustainable, and livable neighbourhood and City. Thank you all for your attention and for your ongoing public service.