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Please Sir, Can I Have Some More New Urbanism?

Posted by Rachel R. Vanderveen on Monday, March 11th, 2013 at 10:45am.

Alright, I know that title is from the wrong Dickens novel, but I just couldn't resist! Rounding out the blog series on why SE Calgary is the place to be is a post about Copperfield. Rest assured, there will be plenty more Southeast Calgary-related blogging in the future, but other parts of our fair city need some love too! Read on to find out what makes Copperfield so great.

Like Mahogany and other notable neighbourhoods in the city, Copperfield was developed by Hopewell Residential Communities. This developer has won Calgary's Developer of the Year award five times, which means they must be doing something right! Hopewell is known for developing communities that follow a neighbourhood-oriented design. That means space for kids (and adults) to play and enjoy green spaces, ponds, and wetlands. Interconnected pathways provide residents with the opportunity to explore the area and get outdoors as often as possible. There are also sports fields and courts, a toboggan hill, tot lots and playgrounds, and a community association and centre, for neighbourhood gatherings. Copperfield is one of those SE communities that lends itself so well to commuters. Near enough to major traffic arteries like Glenmore Trail and the Deerfoot, these homes appeal to many Calgarians working in the city's inner core, but who don't want to live in the hustle and bustle of Downtown.

Family in CopperfieldThat's Copperfield in a nutshell: beautiful, affordable, family-friendly, and convenient. But let's pause for a second here, and go back to the community's "neighbourhood-oriented design". I'd like to talk a bit about the growing trend in Calgary's suburban developments toward mixed use/mixed property type developments. Copperfield, admittedly, is not technically New Urbanist (nor does it claim to be), but that term bears mention here because Copperfield does have a lot of the elements that make this school of thought so widely praised and adopted. So what is New Urbanism, you ask? I'm happy to tell you!

New Urbanism is a concept developed in the United States in the 1980s, based on a return to the traditional layout of homes in urban centres. The creators of this movement noticed that communities were getting more and more comparmentalized because of our reliance on automobiles: suburban homeowners generally leave and enter the house via the garage, which is typically placed at the front of the house, leaving little opportunity with interaction between neighbours. Because the mixture of residential/commercial is non-existent in a traditional suburb, residents have to get into the car again to go do errands or take the kids to the park. The main goal of New Urbanism boils down to getting neighbours to talk with one another again. That entails making amenities more accessible via walking/cycling and creating opportunities for residents to socialize, whether that's in a front porch situation or in a larger community gathering at the communal green space.

Copperfield is a great place to live because it's close to commercial conveniences, it emphasizes outdoor activity, and it has a decidedly friendly atmosphere. It boasts shopping facilities at Copperfield Corner, nearby High Street in McKenzie Towne, as well as South Trail Crossing. Residents can take their pick of three lovely ponds and countless play areas for kids, and the pathways connecting the neighbourhood allow for socialization with friends and other community members. I think Calgary is going to be seeing a lot more development that resembles Copperfield's design and the "smart growth" principles of New Urbanism. Do you agree?

Rachel Vanderveen

The Vanderveen Team
Maxwell South Star Realty
Phone: 403.253.5678 Fax: 403.592.6736

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