Densification in mature neighbourhoods

Garden suites

In recent years, you have probably heard about the desire to keep our core neighbourhoods vital, attractive, and sustainable.  Densification and residential infill in older parts of the city are steps we can take to help make sure services and amenities remain where they are needed to serve people in mature communities.  These steps mean not only bringing new people into neighbourhoods, but helping people stay in the community they love.

The evolution of housing types, and amendments to the City’s zoning bylaw, create more opportunities for affordable living in mature areas.   With changes to regulations for Garden Suites, property owners and renters have more choices available.  But what is a Garden Suite?   In the past, what was known as a Carriage House, Garage Suite, or Laneway House would now be called a Garden Suite.  The suite may be a second storey above a garage, a standalone building, or even a self-contained Tiny Home.

Garden suites can be an income source or a way for residents to stay in their community.  You may see multiple generations residing on the same property, but with completely separate living quarters.  Many people have built suites for older family members so seniors can continue to live on their property and have family support at hand.  Keeping families together and connected combats the risk of isolation and loneliness that too many people face.  The zoning bylaw regulations are adapting with consideration of accessibility needs without unduly limiting the actual living space giving people with mobility issues another housing option.

There are challenges when building in established zones.  We need to balance respect for neighbours with the want for increased population.  Keeping privacy and enjoyment of one’s property in mind, changes to the regulations require minimum setback distances, strategic window placement, and disallow rooftop terraces on garden suites.

With input from the Edmonton Design Committee and public feedback, the City continues to make progressive changes to the rules that govern the development of Garden Suites.  I am delighted to see new people connecting with established residents and becoming a part of their new, inclusive community.

Please feel free to contact me anytime at or by telephone at 780-496-8146.

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