Making Cold Weather Cities Livable – Edmonton’s New Example

In northern cities, wintertime can mean a season devoid of urban co-living. It’s too cold, too grey, and too slippery to bother getting involved with public events and to occupy social spaces. This unfortunate reality can hold city growth back. People want to live in happening places – areas where they can quickly access fun social activities.

As an absolutely frigid winter city, Edmonton is well aware of these livability issues. To combat its own stodgy wintertime vibe, Edmonton has placed itself at the forefront of creating urban space designed to minimize winter’s effects. To drive social engagement, Edmonton has undertaken plans to create an urban core based upon simple principles of winter-focused design. Mixing evergreen and deciduous trees can create a natural wind barrier, while allowing sunlight to reach through. Brightly colored features add life to grey skies. Lightwells in buildings take advantage of all of the sunlight they receive.

While the current trend of urban renewal is a new, developing, and ongoing process, the idea of winter focused urban design is even younger. Expect design trends and idea to grow, change, and develop in the coming years as more cities make concerted efforts to beat winter and attract new residents.

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