The Important Role Urban Planners Play in Creating Livable Neighbourhoods

The Important Role Urban Planners Play in Creating Livable Neighbourhoods

What makes a residential development beautiful, eco-friendly and functional? Usually, the urban planning work carried out before construction begins. Proper city planning has become essential over the past few years for the health of the planet, and likewise for our wallets!

According to Oxford University Press’s website, urban planning is “the planning and regulation of building, development, reconstruction, etc., in an urban area.” The practice of urban planning has improved over time and is today fare more complex and sophisticated, resulting in much more livable new neighbourhoods for residents.

A Municipal Government Requirement

New housing developments today are more aesthetically pleasing, functional and eco-friendly thanks in large part to the planning work that takes place in advance, often done in collaboration with a landscape architect. An increasing number of cities are insisting that developers bring in environmental and architectural experts before the diggers move in. This is good news: we all benefit when neighbourhoods are designed with best planning practices and resource optimization in mind. 

What Do Well-Planned Neighbourhoods Look Like?

Think of those old suburban neighbourhoods that are a hodgepodge of residential styles: they were probably not constructed by following a development plan (although this doesn’t mean that such places can’t be charming). A well designed and professionally planned community allows for homes that have similar dimensions and that are architecturally consistent, built with the same range of materials and in proportion to the size of the lot. About 20 years ago, urban planners would only be called in to fill in gaps or fix errors after the neighbourhood had been completed. The issues might range from a catastrophic drop in ground level following heavy rains, the use of non-durable materials, the presence of roads that increase traffic congestion, the lack of green spaces due to the clear-cutting of trees, etc. In some instances, it was possible to remedy the situation, in others it was not.

A Plus for Residents

When carefully planned out, a neighbourhood’s design and layout will make it a more convivial and functional place to live. For example, such neighbourhoods usually contain several pedestrian and bicycle paths, a wooded area for strolling, or an artificial lake to attract wildlife. The streets are often wider for smooth and easy snow removal. Businesses are located within walking distance. All for the residents to enjoy!

Greener and More Pleasant

Many of the benefits of a well-thought-out neighbourhood are not apparent, such as its small environmental footprint. These developments not only include parks and more effective water management systems, the houses are also positioned so as to reduce heat islands. The building materials chosen for the homes are more sustainable and environmentally friendly. The vegetation in outdoor community spaces is selected for its ability to attract and provide shelter for valuable pollinators. Trees no longer die from drought. Shrubs and flowers don’t shrivel up under the sun because they have been planted in the wrong light conditions. Fewer mature trees are felled, and more natural habitats or wetlands are preserved. There are a lot of details to go over, points to consider and factors to analyze … but it’s worth it!  

Homes that Are Worth More

The big winners in these well-planned neighbourhoods are the homeowners. They can enjoy community facilities that are more congenial and environmentally friendly. They are equally less likely to experience frustration with design oversights such as sewer overflows. Moreover, a well-designed urban area also safeguards the value of the properties it contains. Beautiful residential developments with lush vegetation and easy access to shared natural spaces are often highly sought after by buyers, which is an added financial bonus for owners!

Isn’t it reassuring to know that today’s neighbourhoods are designed to provide an optimized living environment for residents?

RE/MAX Québec

By RE/MAX Québec

By RE/MAX Québec

A leader in the real estate industry since 1982, the RE/MAX network brings together the most efficient brokers.