Gower and Bergeron: Official Plan should focus on how we build, not where

By Glen Gower and Véronique Bergeron, Ottawa Citizen, May 6, 2020

Between now and 2036, 400,000 new residents will come to live in Ottawa, and city planners are writing a new Official Plan to help guide that growth. On May 11, the planning committee will decide how to manage this growth while maintaining the quality of life, employment opportunities and affordability that make Ottawa a great place to live.

So far, the debate has been focused on where the new homes should be built: inside the current urban boundary (intensification) or outside (urban expansion)? The rhetoric has been black and white: intensification is good and expansion is bad. As is often the case, city planning isn’t so cut-and-dried. Where we build is not as important as how we build.

Urban growth has become synonymous with urban sprawl. We cannot stop growth, but we can stop sprawl through smarter planning. The patterns of development that have given us a spread-out city have been created by policy, not simply by expansion.


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