Pity the city planners: They have to invent rationalisations for bad decisions


The big green area in the Google map above tells a story. It marks an undeveloped area between the east Winnipeg neighbourhoods of Elmwood and Transcona, an area that remains undeveloped because the city obligingly extends roads, underground pipes and the full range of its services past it, at taxpayer expense, without requiring its development. My latest article shows how Winnipeg, like many other North American cities, pays a heavy price for its failure to ensure that its infrastructure and services be developed and used in an efficient manner.

The article looks at the undeveloped green area, Transcona West, and two other undeveloped or newly developing areas in or near the city and shows how municipal infrastructure and services are extended widely and inefficiently across the Winnipeg region in response to developers’ demands, while wishful thinking conceals the reality of an unviable network. The city is left with roads, sewerage and water lines,  and other municipal services whose lack of viability becomes manifest in the city’s inability to maintain inner-city streets and underground municipal services.

Winnipeg, and other municipalities in the metropolitan area, publish planning documents that purport to show how a local or provincial planning process guides the growth of the metropolitan area. For those who follow the politics and administration of growth day to day, these documents fail to conceal the fact that planning is, in reality, a clean-up operation designed to legitimize decisions that are driven primarily by developers, and that prioritises the interests of those developers, and of the residents of their new neighbourhoods, over the interests of the city as a whole.

One response to “Pity the city planners: They have to invent rationalisations for bad decisions

  1. Excellent insight. True that development happens where and when big developers can buy vacant land. Alas in the case of Waverley West this includes Manitoba Housing as a developer. Farmland there is having topsoil removed long before scheduled development, just so that the topsoil can be relocated to the front yards of new houses in the area, but leaving mini dustbowls behind. Thanks for this article. jean

    Sent from my iPad

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