Sustainable Housing, Sustainable Community: Edmonton’s North Glenora Housing Project

What does it take to create and sustain housing that is inclusive, affordable, and environmentally sustainable?

Sustainable Housing, Sustainable Community aims at understanding various aspects of contemporary housing in urban areas, particularly focusing on the material and social aspects of sustainability in the North Glenora affordable townhomes, which are now home to 16 refugee families. Built on land that previously housed Westmount Presbyterian’s large aging church, the housing project also included the tear down and rebuild of the church with a more sustainable design. The overall site development (housing-plus-church) has become a test case for affordably scaling up net-zero housing projects.

This research project studies the participants and activities involved in the North Glenora housing development and church complex, considering aspects of how the housing development is innovative in terms of its sustainable design and net-zero construction and also in terms of its social concerns. Our  in-depth exploration of the difficulties and successes involved in the housing project’s initiation, completion and ongoing use helps to better understand the collaborative development of sustainability-oriented housing projects and raises questions of the possibilities of sustainability in home building, as well as in community building, in urban areas.

In order for Edmonton to meet its climate targets by 2050, 80% of buildings will need to be net-zero. This project investigates how new builds can contribute to those targets while investing in just futures. If you’re interested in how we can meet these targets through retrofits as well, check out our project La Cité Résiliente: A Decade in Transition.