‘Smart Growth’ Not Necessary To Protect Farms

Audio, Agriculture, Frontier Centre

Urban sprawl is still regarded as undesirable by city planners, but the arguments against it are changing.

The planners have long maintained that limited development should be allowed beyond existing urban boundaries, as long as there are areas in the core that could be reclaimed and redeveloped.

One of the arguments against developing outward is that it will take valuable farmland out of production.

But that’s a case that no longer holds the strength that it used to.

These days, less land is needed to produce food because farming has become more productive and the same output is harvested from fewer acres than 30 years ago.

More agricultural land in Canada has been taken out of production because it’s simply no longer needed.

While urban sprawl poses little or no threat to agriculture, increasing urban density can mean more air pollution and traffic congestion.

In addition to health and environmental concerns, urban containment policies tend to drive up the cost housing.

This means families have less disposable income and a lower standard of living.

Municipalities should recognize these changing realities and ease land use regulations.

By doing so, they will help improve the air we breathe, and make housing affordable.

I’m Roger Currie. Join us again next week for more thoughts on the Frontier.

For more on urban policy, visit our website www.fcpp.org.