Planning for greyfield redevelopment in Edmonton, AB: impeding and facilitating factors
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Spurred by changing retail and development patterns, as well as continuous suburban growth, greyfield sites can be found at the heart of most postwar suburbs in North American municipalities. Ranging in definition, greyfields are best described as an “underused, economically obsolete, retail tract located in an inner ring suburb that requires significant public and private involvement to curtail decline” (Feronti, 2003, p.11). However, tied to demographic trends and increased municipal urbanization, these vacated retail sites are positioned well for redevelopment. Yet, the redevelopment process of these sites is fraught with impeding and facilitating factors that can have significant implications for redevelopment options and viability. As such, research questions considered were: Do municipalities address greyfield challenges and opportunities? What factors impede and facilitate greyfield redevelopment? This thesis also asks these questions within the context of the City of Edmonton’s current policy and existing built form, and asked: How should greyfields be planned in the City of Edmonton? This thesis attempts to answer these questions through a review and analysis of existing literature, case studies (Belmar in Lakewood, Colorado and Century Park in Edmonton, Alberta) and through primary research conducted with key stakeholders. The research found that municipalities were largely unacquainted with the challenges and opportunities of greyfield redevelopment. Where support guidelines did exist, they were largely aspirational and lacked consideration for the unique impeding and facilitating factors of greyfield redevelopment. It was found that impeding factors to greyfield redevelopment ranged from administrative hurdles fraught with inexperience in greyfield redevelopment, to financial and land economic constraints. Facilitating factors were found in collaborative stakeholder consultation, municipal and administrative leadership, and a range of supportive fiscal mechanisms. Lastly, ten recommendations to facilitate greyfield redevelop within the City of Edmonton were discussed.