Urban growth and change research group findings and analysis

A decade long research project by the School of Planning's Dawn Parker's urban growth and change research group releases findings from roughly ten years of housing data from Waterloo Region. Among their finding are:

  • A residential mismatch between demand and supply for transit-oriented developments (TOD) in Kitchener Waterloo. 
  • Renters in Kitchener-Waterloo are diverse - but their rental options are not. 
  • Calls for the Region to build "missing middle" multi-bedroom affordable Housing for families near amenities thus creating "urban villages" along main transit routes.

Dawn Parker headshot

Urban Growth Research Group Logo


Explore the urban growth and change research group most recent reports and recommendations...

Why won’t our current development trajectory solve our housing crisis?

Man cycling

School of Planning's Dawn Parker finds Waterloo Region needs higher quality transit-oriented development for all — everywhere

Our group has also found that many buyers place a high priority on access to urban amenities—including walkability and bikeablity, access to shopping and entertainment, and access to open space—but purchased homes in suburban areas without these amenities, in order to obtain more living space, a yard, and more garage space.  These buyers would have preferred to buy so-called transit-oriented development, but could not afford it.  Having moved to the dispersed and segregated suburban landscapes, they find themselves highly reliant on driving.

Read more here...

Kitchener-Waterloo’s rental market would benefit from more family-friendly options

skyline of KW

Renters in Kitchener-Waterloo are diverse - but their rental options are not

The report also found that renters may be willing to pay a premium for three or four bedroom townhomes near the downtown core as well as mid-density housing options outside the core, provided they were near sufficient amenities.

The report, compiled by Parker and Waterloo graduate student Xinyue Pi, analyzed survey responses from households that were renting in K-W and collected their views on preferred location, rental experience as well as their views on the upcoming LRT.

Read more here...


There is a commonly held myth that bike lanes will reduce local property values

a bike lane

Examining the relationship between cycling infrastructure and residential property prices in Kitchener Waterloo

The local community may fear changes of streets or loss of road-side parking space. This myth is part of an often vocal ‘Bikelash’ – resistance to cycling infrastructure. The project seeks to understand to what extent cycling infrastructure is associated with changes in residential property values. It uses a mixed-method approach, including the qualitative approach through interviewing realtors and developers and the quantitative approach through building statistical models.

Read executive summary here...
The full report can be downloaded soon

Many families prefer neighbourhoods with transit but live in areas designed for cars

LRT in Kitchener

The residential mismatch between demand and supply for transit-oriented developments in Kitchener Waterloo

Our research finds that 41.7% of homebuyers in the survey sample hold positive preferences for most TOD features. Particularly, they value transit accessibility, walkability, bicycle-friendliness, access to open space and retail stores for their neighbourhood selection. However, 58.3% show a lower preference for TOD and favour a car-dependent lifestyle. These findings indicate that a substantial proportion of households prefer living in transit-oriented communities.

Read the executive summary here...


train going over a bridge near some condos