Here in Winnipeg housing prices have been rising and the builders are going pretty hard. Good for the economy and all that. I've noticed some things lately that have been driving me nuts though.
The first is a strip of condos that's being built. I'm sure they are nice, and the landscapers certainly did a nice job, but the location is just stupid. They are on a minor (major right now because of other construction, but that's temporary) truck route. They neighbour on some bars that are drifting from questionable to seedy. They are across the street from CN Rail's maintenance and repair yards. Prices on the signs are from $289,000-$325,000.
The second is more general because it's happening all over the city. We are building monster houses, McMansions, and luxury apartments and condos right next to industrial parks. These are areas with little infrastructure and no services beyond a nearby bar or two. The industrial parks are full of all the things industrial parks are full of...noise and dirt and trucks and machinery. Not exactly family friendly. Prices range from $300,000-$500,000.
Meanwhile we're building new industrial parks, often on what is good farm land, because the old ones are filling up.
My feeling is that once the real estate market levels off, or goes bust because I can't see these prices being sustainable here, these areas are going to become the slums of the future. That feeling comes from looking at the history of the city. We've done this over and over again. This city is full of formerly nice houses in neighbourhoods that have degraded at least partially because they are beside industrial areas. Conflicts between older residential areas and established industrial areas make the news about once a month around here as it is, and now we're doing the same thing again.
So, are Winnipeg's city planners stupid or insane?