My husband and I are new parents. We live with our 16-month-old toddler in the heart of the core — two blocks from Rogers Place — in an apartment/loft building that is primarily professionals, MacEwan students, and a couple of retirees. Prior to 2012, our loft was my now-husband’s bachelor pad. He lived there as a single guy for six years before I moved in with him in 2013. He’s been there almost 10 years now.

Living downtown, simple and central, is wonderful for a young family. As a brand-new mom, I could easily access library programs on foot. I could walk to the mall, the grocery store, the coffee shop; I was always busy and connecting with neighbours and making new friends. As new parents, we can conveniently grab a babysitter and walk to the movie theatre, pub, a restaurant, or elsewhere for a date night, and not have to drive out and back. It’s wonderful. We love being able to walk to Churchill Square and enjoy city festivities without having to find and pay for parking. We are sad when we imagine a life living outside the inner city.

I’m disappointed with current laws that prevent, or rather, exclude, certain members of society– namely, babies, toddlers, children. Rules to exclude them are outdated and narrow-minded. Our housing laws in Alberta need to grow and expand to include people of all ages. I was not aware of these rules before having my baby, and find them unfair to young families. Even when it comes to the baby-friendliness of restaurants and coffee shops, I think Edmonton and its’ businesses/buildings have a long way to go.

Babies and children make communities flourish. While I can understand some justifications for “adult-only” buildings, I don’t see the balance of family-inclusive buildings, where all types family units are welcomed. In fact, babies and young children add happiness, youth, and laughter to communities. If anything, they will benefit the building they live in and increase the standard of living of their neighbours. In my building, the residents all smile when they see our toddler, love having him wander and explore their apartments, and find him a breath of fresh air. He brings joy.

My family lives simply and we love having a smaller space. Our home is a loft that allows for less than 300 square feet for each of us. We don’t desire a large house. Focusing on keeping things simple has helped me avoid stress and chaos that comes with having a baby. Many of my friends comment that they “miss downtown” and “really loved living downtown” and “wish they could do it with babies.”

Our downtown life with a family is stress-free, most days. We can access every service, even doctors and dentists, by walking – it’s an attractive lifestyle. We are so comfortable and happy in our condo, and want to keep living here as long as we “can” with our little family.

Rachel Jones is an Edmonton mom and blogger. She is the founder of Edmomton: Becoming a Mom in Edmonton http://www.edmomton.com/

 

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