Blatchford invests in sustainability and the future

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In the heart of Edmonton, nestled between the downtown core and Yellowhead Highway, Blatchford is set to become one of the largest sustainable communities in the world.

Josh Culling moved to Blatchford with his wife, seven-year-old son, and Boston Terrier in 2021.

“We recognize that Blatchford is a bit of an experiment for Edmonton. We believe in the values that underpin the neighbourhood design and wanted to support those values in hopes of proving out this concept.” says Culling.

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Father and son photo with Blatchford Control Tower in the background with overcast skies above.
Josh and Silas Culling pose for a picture in front of the Blatchford entrance feature and control tower.

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Blatchford combines the best of mature neighbourhoods ⁠— central living, connected streets, vibrant public spaces ⁠— with sustainable features that will make the community resilient. Laneway and multi-family housing increases density. High efficiency standards conserve energy. Boulevard trees create shade, while community orchards and gardens provide food. Spaces for walking and separate bike lanes expand options for getting around, while narrower streets are safer and less costly.

And that’s just the beginning.

 

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Boy and girl playing in park with Blatchford Control Tower in the background.
Kids enjoying the garden themed playground, Littlewood Park, in Blatchford.

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Sustainability is the foundation of Edmonton’s Blatchford neighbourhood. Literally.

Blatchford was originally the location of Edmonton's City Centre Airport. Starting in 2014, portions of the site were steadily deconstructed, recycled, and converted into 536 acres of unlimited potential; presenting a highly unique opportunity to build something special from the ground up.

Cities account for nearly half of Canada’s carbon emissions so many of the solutions we need to tackle climate change have to come from the places we call home. By building in flexibility and efficiency, Blatchford fits into the City of Edmonton’s plans for a climate resilient city. When completed, the community will make a difference in the day-to-day lives of over 30,000 residents.

 

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Entrance feature designed to resemble struts of a biplane between two benches with Blatchford Control Tower in the background.
Blatchford’s Arrival Gate, created as a pedestrian gateway to the community.

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Sustainable Living in Blatchford

We asked Josh about what sustainable living in Blatchford means to him.

Edmonton: Why did you and your family buy in Blatchford?

Josh: We have always lived in and around Edmonton’s downtown core and wanted to continue to do so. Blatchford provides the proximity we wanted to the downtown and an efficient development pattern. As a family, we do not see the need to have a detached home, and we value the benefits of attached housing. For example: efficient land use, energy efficiency, potential for more people in one area… that all equals business attraction. Blatchford checked a lot of boxes for us.

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Edmonton: What does sustainability personally mean to you?

Josh: At a minimum, it’s leaving the planet in the same state we found it. But, this is already a compromise — sustainability is more properly, and with hope, leaving the planet in a healthier state than we found it.

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[Sustainability] is more properly, and with hope, leaving the planet in a healthier state than we found it.

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Earth Day’s 2022 theme is, “Invest in Our Planet.” What is the importance of investing in sustainable living?

I think that we are still in the “early adopter stage” for so many initiatives that may contribute toward a healthier planet, be they electric cars, solar panels, high efficiency housing, etc. This stage is somewhat of a “proof of concept,” both to other people who will make decisions to or to not embrace these initiatives, and also to those who provide the particular goods. For example, car manufacturers and land developers.

It was important to us to use our financial means to support these initiatives rather than choosing other alternatives. It is our hope that as “early adopters” to some of these initiatives, we are proving out the concepts, leading to higher volume of options — like electric car models and housing types — and opening up opportunities to wider groups of people. 

Edmonton: What do you think Blatchford means for Edmonton’s future?

Josh: Blatchford is a proof of concept for a sustainable neighbourhood. I believe it will be a success and through this success this project will inform housing preference and land development opportunities.

My hope is that in time, as Blatchford builds out, more and more people experience it as a place that they would like to live and that ultimately this would encourage land developers to explore more sustainable opportunities. 

Edmonton: How does it feel to be a part of the beginning of one of the world’s largest sustainable communities? To be one of its first residents?

Josh: Proud? Excited? Curious? — all of the above and under the category “good.” We are participating in a bit of an experiment. I am optimistic of the outcome and believe in the underlying values. We are pleased to be here in this neighbourhood and look forward to participating in its ongoing development.

 

To learn more about Blatchford, visit blatchfordedmonton.ca

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