Study explores how to make downtown Saskatoon a more desirable place to live
A University of Saskatchewan researcher is looking into how to make downtown Saskatoon a more attractive place to live.
The study involved an online survey of nearly 500 people who live in downtown Saskatoon and 10 other neighbourhoods.
“For a city our size, the number of people that we have living downtown is very small. It’s an area where we have an opportunity to really develop,” said Ryan Walker, a professor of city planning, who led the study.
Having more people live downtown is important for a city’s growth, according to Walker.
“The downtown is absolutely fundamental in terms of being the heart of the city for everyone, not only those living downtown,” he told CTV News.
The study found the South Saskatchewan River is downtown’s biggest asset and people want to live within a few blocks of the water.
The study’s respondents said more restaurants along the river would enhance the downtown lifestyle.
“Another thing that people talked about was making the downtown more pet friendly for people to live downtown,” Walker said, suggesting a small off-leash dog park.
Concerns about safety and a lack of grocery stores were also addressed in the study.
Walker said the best way to resolve the perception of safety is to boost residential development.
“When you get lots of people living downtown, the passive surveillance on the street becomes more prevalent and people just feel safer when there's a lot more people around,” Walker said.
The study was conducted in conjunction with the City of Saskatoon.
The city said it plans to use the study’s findings in the development of downtown projects — including the plans for a downtown arena.