“The only constant is change.“
(Heraclitus, philosopher, 540 – 480 BC)
Over the course of the last two years my personal needs for a living space have changed. In March of 2012 my first daughter Everleigh was born. In March of 2014 my second daughter will join us. Although our current home in New Edinburgh will continue to provide us with the living environment we want initially, it will not satisfy our needs indefinitely. Although the home was designed and built to facilitate adaption over time, my wife Carmen and I did not recognized the extent to which we would be accommodating visitors once we had a grand child in the house. Our 1,500 square feet of living space will no longer work well for a family of 4, my cat Zadie and a couple of visitors for extended periods in the coming years. Given our affinity for our neighbourhood, the opportunities (financial and structural challenges) associated with our rental property at 205 Crichton Street, and our need for more space, I have decided to start the plan-design-build process in earnest. Ultimately, I will seek approval for a renovation and addition to 205 Crichton Street, with the ultimate intention of moving down the block in 2015.
While doing my due diligence work prior to purchasing the property in 2011, I explored a series of concepts for the site. Each of my concepts preserved the existing brick structure and sought to realize the original vision for property, in a manner that was financially prudent. Because of the high land value in New Edinburgh, equity has to be created on the property to balance the significant investment required to repair and enhance the existing home. My pro forma demonstrates that without permission to create two residential properties where there is now one, significant improvement to the existing building will be unaffordable.
Notwithstanding the fact that some members of the neighbourhood might prefer that the existing buildings of New Edinburgh be preserved indefinitely; change is inevitable. Staunch preservationists must determine whether or not that change is to be in the form of decay or dynamism. It is widely agreed among urban thinkers (academics, legislators and creators) that the most dynamic urban places are the most desirable urban places. Although I believe that we need to respect our past (i.e., conserve existing architectural references) in building our future, we must enable individuals to create sustainable neighbourhoods. These are places that include as diverse a demographic character as possible, living in close proximity to one another, within buildings that maximize the use of increasingly limited resources.