Saskatchewan

Vacant lots, buildings, surface parking lots could potentially house 11,000: report

The City of Regina is looking at transforming some parking lots, vacant lots and vacant buildings into new housing.

Regina anticipating a population of 300,000 by 2040

A vacant lot on Broad Street in Regina could one day be the site of housing. (Tyler Pidlubny/CBC News)

The City of Regina is looking at transforming some vacant buildings and parking lots for infill housing. 

In the downtown and surrounding area, there are 330 of those sites, according to a report by executive council. Using those areas, the city could potentially build housing for almost 11,000 people. 

A table from the executive council report. (City of Regina)

Vanessa Mathews, assistant professor in the department of geography and environmental studies, says increasing the downtown population that much would completely transform the area.

"If you're adding 11,000 people then you're having a lot more vitality, there's a lot more activity that would be happening," she said.

"So with the residential base that would attract retail, it would entirely change the quality of life … in that area."

Imagining what could become of all the empty space downtown and what would follow is exciting, Mathews says, but in order to become a bona fide neighbourhood, a population has to be there first.

She also says that even though putting housing over surface level parking lots would lessen the amount of parking, people do plenty of parking and walking in downtowns, and if more people lived there, there would start to be more public transit and improved walkability.

Infill housing

Increasing population density in existing neighbourhoods is a good move, Mathews says, but expanding on the outskirts of a city can cause problems.

"When you have outward expansion, you're immediately thinking about how to service those populations, how to provide infrastructure," she said. "So there's that disconnect. It's harder to provide public transit as well when people are really spread out."

Expanding away from the centre of a city can take away land that could be used for agriculture and other things, she adds.

About the Author

Emily Pasiuk

Reporter/Associate Producer

Emily Pasiuk is a reporter for CBC Saskatchewan and an associate producer for The Morning Edition. She's based in Regina. She has also reported at CTV Saskatoon and written for Global Regina. Reach her at emily.pasiuk@cbc.ca.

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