Alternative neighbourhood design, re-designing the conventional subdivision

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Spence, Mark
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The issue of urban sprawl is a main concern for cities across North America. Conventional neighbourhood subdivisions are the key building blocks that contribute to sprawl and have been criticized for their lack of affordability, convenience, efficiency, and public space. This research project presents an alternative approach to conventional neighbourhood planning and design. Recognizing that suburban growth is likely to continue, this project attempts to improve the residential subdivision rather than to limit its development. The alternative approach is based on the concept of sustainable development and is guided by a set of planning principles and design guidelines. This approach is demonstrated in the re-design of Royalwood, a conventional neighbourhood subdivision in Winnipeg. Following the re-design, a comparative analysis between the alternative concept and the conventional plan is undertaken, focusing on land use distribution and "urban efficiency". The analysis shows the alternative concept has advantages in housing diversity and affordability, local services, public spaces, and pedestrian conveniences, while having lower infrastructure and development costs. This project concludes with suggestions for future alternative development in Winnipeg, noting that the City government, residential developers, and local homebuilders are the key players for initiating progress. Recommendations are directed at the City of Winnipeg to create a more favorable setting for the possible implementation of future alternative development.