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A task force’s bold prescription: a Canada of 15-minute cities

“More and better housing.” That is the promise of a new report from the federal Task Force for Housing & Climate. No news there. This is what Canada needs.

But this crucial “blueprint” brings a more surprising insight. Its authors conclude that to deliver affordable, low-carbon and resilient homes, the No. 1 factor is where they are built. Building “inside existing communities” can be cheaper, faster and less carbon-intensive.

In other words, we have to stop building sprawl. The 15-minute city, with a mix of activities steps away, is the future of Canada.

These are powerful insights, and they’ve been largely absent from the political discourse. Thus it’s especially interesting to see them emerge from this cross-partisan task force. Co-chaired by former Edmonton mayor Don Iveson and former federal transport minister Lisa Raitt, it also includes academics, planners, developers, economist Mike Moffatt and former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney.

The report tackles the country’s intersecting challenges: how to build 5.8 million homes by 2030, following Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s estimate of what is required to achieve affordability, while also addressing climate goals, and delivering affordable and attainable housing. Not to mention updating building codes and reducing risks from extreme weather. …[Continue Reading]