CRSC releases new issue of Curb Magazine – “Suburban Land Use: Strip Malls and Parking Lots”

By: Brittany Stares, Managing Editor, Curb Magazine

Suburban land use poses unique challenges for planners, developers and residents; particularly in those communities that are well-established and have limited space upon which to draw. The sprawl, segregation and dependence on the private automobile that often characterizes the suburbs undermine broader pushes for community-building and sustainability.

The winter issue of Curb Magazine, entitled “Suburban Land Use: Strip Malls and Parking Lots,” explores this topic, with a particular focus on better utilizing space in the suburbs through the re-imagining, retrofitting or redevelopment of existing, outdated sites. Using under-performing strip malls and their associated parking lots as the basis for innovative planning, featured articles highlight the potential – and pathways – for these unloved spaces to reduce sprawl, encourage alternative means of transportation, decrease greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate economic, cultural and recreational activity. Contributors include winning and shortlisted entrants from the international ideas competition, “Strip Appeal: Reinventing the Strip Mall” and renowned architect/author, Ellen Dunham-Jones.

Curb Magazine is published by the City-Region Studies Centre (CRSC) at the University of Alberta, and focuses on policy practice and community experience in cities, regions and rural areas. Curb is distributed to municipal offices and planning departments across Canada and the northwestern United States. The CRSC aims to inform public policy by increasing understanding of cultural, political and economic interactions and inter-dependencies within social spaces. It is one of the only centres in North America focusing on regional as well as municipal research.

Curb 3.2, “Suburban Land Use: Strip Malls and Parking Lots,” is available now through the CRSC website ( This issue has been generously sponsored by the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, along with our following issue on stewardship and sustainability in planning.

Foundation Announces Spring 2013 Community Investment

The Board of Governors of the Alberta Real Estate Foundation recently approved $295,000 in community investment projects at their recent meeting on March 8, 2013.

We are happy to announce the following 8 community investment projects include:

$20,000 to the Calgary Horticultural Society to enhance capacity of the Community Gardens Resource Network.

$60,000 to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce for policy research as part of their Great Cities Series.

$20,000 to the Friends of Fish Creek to further develop their Community Watershed Stewardship Project.

$75,000    to the Haskayne School of Business to develop a Real Estate and Entrepreneurship Studies Program.
$50,000    to the Faculty of Geography of the University of Calgary for the Heat Score initiative to develop a Home Energy Efficiency Dashboard (HEED) in order to Support Green Real Estate.
$30,000 to Operation Grasslands Community Program in order to Engage Stakeholders in Alberta’s Grassland Region in Sustainable Land-use Solutions.
$25,000 for Sustainable Cities International to Launch their Inaugural Session of the Sustainable Cities International Energy Lab (SCIEL)
$15,000 to the Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association for Building Constituency for Conservation and Sustainability in Waterton Biosphere Reserve Area.

The Alberta Real Estate Foundation supports initiatives that enhance the Real Estate Industry and benefit the communities of Alberta. The Foundation was set up in 1991 under the Alberta Real Estate Act. Since then, it has awarded over 14.2 million dollars in community and industry grants to over 455 projects across Alberta.

Co-Gen Melcor YMCA Village

Thanks to funding from the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, the newly constructed Melcor YMCA Village will include Co-gen, a vital energy efficiency component.  Situated in the core of Edmonton’s Boyle Street Community, the Melcor YMCA Village – Affordable Housing Facility will be home to more than 150 low-income families, couples, and individuals, including people with limited mobility.

The Co-gen project will help ease the financial burden that many Melcor tenants face by reducing heating costs through the energy converting technology.  For many low-income individuals, times arise when they need to choose between paying their rent and paying for groceries. These individuals are at times one pay check away from losing their homes.  Co-gen not only has environmental benefits but will help the residents stay housed by keeping their housing affordable. 

On behalf of the YMCA of Edmonton, we would like to thank you for all of your support.