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Happy City survey finds a market in St. John’s for dense development; results to be presented tonight at Wesley United Church hall.

An online survey organized by civic advocacy group Happy City St. John’s has found that there is a market in this city for denser development. Responses from more than 250 people from all over St. John’s showed some clear patterns:

  • People want commercial space in their neighbourhood. More than 60% of people wanted small-scale commercial buildings or mixed-use developments nearby.
  • Walkable amenities are important.  94% of respondents want a grocery store within a 10 minute walk; 88% wanted to be within 10 minutes of parks, restaurants, and cafes.
  • People are willing to have commercial development right next door. A majority of people would be willing to live right next to (or on top of) restaurants and small businesses; more than 40% would live next to grocery stores, medical offices, pharmacies, and daycares.
  • There’s a market for variety. 71% of people would consider living in a row house, and 55% in an apartment or condo. 77% could imagine living in a place between 1000-2000 square feet. 38% were up for living in 500-1000, and 11% were up for 500 square feet or less.
  • Pedestrian-friendliness, attractiveness, and access to parks were just as important as the price of housing in choosing where to live
  • People do have some concerns about density. The biggest worries were about noise and pollution, traffic and parking, sightlines and shadows

More results from this survey will be presented tonight at the final Doing Density Right forum at Wesley United Church on Patrick Street from 7-9 PM, which will focus on density in the Centre City.  The forum will also feature a panel discussion with members of the local business, development, and architecture communities and an interactive workshop for attendees to generate ideas about density. This is the third forum of the week – Tuesday and Wednesday saw well-attended discussions in the East End and West End.

These forums, and the survey, are organized by Happy City St. John’s in partnership with the St. John’s Board of Trade and the Canadian Home Builders’ Association NL (CHBA-NL), with the goal of starting some conversation between citizens and the private sector about how our city will be changing.  Volunteers at Happy City will assemble the results from the survey and forums for release – we look forward to continuing the conversation!