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Infill Development: Advantages and Disadvantages

Infill construction stands as a method for redeveloping outdated or underused land, playing a crucial role in rejuvenating urban communities. By breathing new life into vacant buildings, unused parking lots, and neglected parcels, infill development contributes to urban revitalization.

The demand for homes in urban neighbourhoods surpasses that for larger suburban homes. One driving factor behind this trend is the preference of today's young professionals to reside closer to work and enjoy the amenities provided by city living, including diverse shopping and dining options within walking distance. The renewed emphasis on central business district work hubs has led not only to the construction of residential skyscrapers in downtown areas but also to the rise of infill development. Effective urban planning might even employ zoning regulations mandating that multi-story apartment complexes and commercial zones be situated within a certain proximity to public transportation or main roads.

As homes have proliferated farther from the city, developers have turned to infill development as a viable alternative.

Why Opt for Infill?

The rationale for advocating infill development varies. Let's delve into some of these advantages.

  1. Infill projects position residents closer to employment and community services.

  2. New construction breathes life into the area and bolsters the local economy.

  3. Infill frequently maximizes the utilization of existing infrastructure and amenities.

  4. In some instances, infill projects conserve historic structures, either by preserving them or fostering renewed appreciation.

  5. Urban centres generally offer more transportation choices compared to suburbs.

  6. Businesses are more accessible to residents due to proximity, enhancing convenience.

  7. The presence of mature landscaping lowers costs and elevates property values.

  8. Infill investments contribute to the growth of the existing community.

  9. Local or state agencies occasionally offer financial incentives to support infill endeavours.

Nevertheless, despite the compelling arguments in favour of infill construction, downsides do exist. Let's examine some of these drawbacks.

  1. Infill development can disrupt established communities and their residents. Construction not only generates messiness but also alters traffic patterns, causing road dirt, construction-related noise, and blocked lanes or driveways.

  2. Urban construction tends to be more expensive than suburban development. The expenses associated with updating or upgrading infrastructure pose challenges. In some instances, existing infrastructure necessitates updates or relocation.

  3. Zoning modifications can provoke anxiety among neighbourhood inhabitants and businesses. The permit process usually involves multiple hearings, heightened building and zoning requisites, and increased parking stipulations. Those opposing projects often voice their concerns more vocally than proponents.

Overall, most urban authorities and developers concur that infill development presents a logical and practical approach to expanding housing options. Not only does infill rejuvenate, but it also capitalizes on pre-existing infrastructure and services. For developers, the value and return on investment from infill usually outweigh inconveniences such as waiting for permit approvals.


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