Ottawa 2013: We’re a Suburban City

Sixty-eight per cent of Ottawa residents choose to live in the suburbs, a figure that is right on trend for city-dwelling Canadians, according a Queen’s University national study highlighted in a recent Ottawa Citizen story. The study showed that more than eight in ten people in Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver also choose to call suburbs home making Canada a nation of suburban dwellers.

The study by David Gordon, the director of the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Queen’s University, overturns the perception that Canada is an urban nation. The study team looked at census data and Google’s mapping tools (Streetview and Earth) to create a new classification for suburban residents. It proposed three types of suburbs:

  • Auto suburbs – suburbs designed around the car and people driving to work;
  • Transit suburbs – Older, more intensified suburbs with good transit service;
  • Exurbs – low density rural areas where more than half the working residents commune to the city.

Where Ottawans live:

The City of Ottawa has produced some insightful and citizen-friendly information sheets for Building a Liveable Ottawa 2031, the current review of Ottawa’s Official Plan and Transportation Master Plan. We thought to combine this information with David Gordon’s research to create a profile where Ottawans live. Here what we came up with:

Urban – 22% (204,000 residents from across Vanier, Rockliffe, New Edinburgh, Centretown, the Glebe, Old Ottawa South and East, Westboro, Civic Hospital, Hintonburg).

Transit suburbs – 34% (315,000 residents from across Britannia, Crystal Beach, Bells Corners, City View, Graham Park, Parkwood Hills, Craig Henry, Greenboro, Beacon Hill, Mooney’s Bay, Alta Vista).

Auto suburbs – 35% (323,000 residents from across Orleans, Barrhaven, Kanata/Stittsville).

Exurbs – 10% (94,000 from villages across rural Ottawa, Greely, Richmond, Manotick, Carp, Metcalfe, Osgoode).

While our breakdown of where we live does not measure up exactly with the findings from the Queen’s University study, we believe that it does paint an accurate picture of Ottawa in 2013 and where we choose to live – in the (transit and auto) suburbs.

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