Building new homes always costs money. The further away new homes are from the city’s core, the more the city has to spend to expand its resources, including its water, sewage, electric, and transportation systems. Read the two passages below to determine how Calgary pays for its urban growth.
Between 1998 and 2002, Calgary's residential growth in developing communities absorbed about 2,548 hectares of land, grew by 85,653 people and prompted housing starts averaging 10,375 total units per year for the period. . . .
The growth pressures will require the city to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in the years ahead to meet the needs of its booming population, including emergency services, parks, transportation, waste and water management.
Source: Seskus, Tony. “Growing pains challenge planners: Thriving suburbs stress city finances.” Calgary Herald. December 29, 2003, B1. CanWest Interactive, 2003.
[Calgary’s property tax] system puts the highest values and taxes on residential property in the inner city with costs decreasing towards the periphery. Ironically, this kind of ‘user-doesn’t-pay’ system seems to support the very urban expansion it was created to offset (Calgary Herald, December 19, 2003:A19). In one of the highest priced housing markets in Canada, an opportunity to pay less, save money and live in the country adjacent to some of the most spectacular foothill landscape and mountain scenery in the West is encouraging Calgary residents (both new and old) to buy property in rural residential areas.
Source: Tyler, Dr. Mary-Ellen. “ ‘ Nice City: Wonder What It Will Look Like When It’s Finished:’ A Case Study of Calgary, Alberta – Past, Present and Future.” The University of Calgary. March 1, 2004.
1. What might be driving the current population boom in Calgary?
2. Where are “new and old” Calgary residents buying property? Why?
3. Why might the city be hesitant to raise property taxes on new developments in the urban fringe?
4. Based on these two passages, who seems to be shouldering the cost of residential development and urban growth?