West Harbour Planning Area Study (2002 – 2005)
Steeped in history, Hamilton’s West Harbour contains stable residential neighbourhoods, mixed-use corridors, remnant industrial properties, a rail yard, large brownfield sites, and a recreation-oriented but under-developed waterfront. Urban Strategies prepared a comprehensive land use plan for the area, following the integrated master plan process under the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act. Extensive public consultation included dozens of interviews, workshops and several well-attended open houses, and reinforced the objectives to extend public access to the water’s edge, improve connections to Downtown, strengthen the neighbourhoods and celebrate the City’s heritage. The plan, adopted by City Council, calls for a mix of residential, commercial, cultural and marine recreation uses along the waterfront, linked by a continuous open space and trail system. Residential redevelopment and new streets will integrate brownfield sites into existing neighbourhoods. In addition to setting out land use, transportation and environmental policies, the plan outlines the critical next steps to stimulating further reinvestment.
On Pier 8, a focal point of the West Harbour plan, a mid-rise apartment neighbourhood, new cultural attractions, and a civic plaza for year-round activity are envisioned. A mix of cultural institutions, a hotel, restaurants and retail, in mixed-use buildings and framed by continuous open space, will establish a unique tourist destination. The first new attraction, the Canada Marine Discovery Centre is now built along with a public promenade. New restaurants have been attracted to the pier, and the City is working with the Port Authority to establish an entity to initiate and oversee commercial and residential development.
Consultant Team: Stantec Consulting Ltd., Paradigm Transportation Solutions Ltd.
Hamilton Downtown Mobility Street Masterplans (2002 – 2003)
Urban Strategies, in collaboration with MBTW, prepared streetscape master plans for five of Downtown Hamilton’s primary or “mobility” streets, an initiative that flowed from the firm’s Downtown Design Strategy. The goal was to enhance the safety, pedestian amenity and civic image of Downtown and strengthen linkages to the Waterfront, the Niagara Escarpment and adjacent neighbourhoods. Consultation with the community helped establish a comprehensive and cohesive overall design vision and define a distinct role, image and character for each of the streets. An action plan identified key projects and priority areas for first phase implementation while providing a framework of streetscape improvements and linkages to be implemented over time. A project matrix provided an overview of project type, streetscape components, movement and functional characteristics, special features and design elements, and order-of-magnitude costs. The action plan has been coordinated with the City’s 10-year capital works budget.
Consultant Team: The MBTW Group, McCallum Sather Architects, O’Connor Consultants Inc.
Downtown Hamilton Design & Economic Strategy (1998 – 2000)
Urban Strategies prepared and helped implement a Design and Economic Strategy for the revitalization of Downtown Hamilton. Hamilton is endowed with significant heritage resources and is home to a number of well-known entertainment venues such as Copps Coliseum. The downtown, however, has suffered from neglect, a lack of private and public sector investment, and depopulation. Vitality is also hampered by an extensive one-way road system designed to move automobiles with little regard for pedestrian comfort or other modes of transport. Seeking to strengthen and build upon the city’s core assets, the Design and Economic Strategy calls for substantial residential infill and intensification, the creation of a downtown parking strategy, and improved retail and entertainment districts. Key to revitalization is a better balance between the automobile and pedestrian/bicycle systems and extensive reinvestment in the public realm, both designed to bring people and economic activity back downtown. Implementation is supported through the Downtown Secondary Plan, Urban Design Guidelines, and annual capital investment allocations for strategic initiatives, in addition to targeted actions by the public/private Downtown Partnership.
Consultant Team: PricewaterhouseCoopers
Downtown Hamilton Secondary Plan (1998)
As part of the City’s ongoing efforts to revitalize its downtown core, Urban Strategies, in association with PriceWaterhouseCoopers, undertook a study to address a variety of planning, design and economic issues which served as a basis for new downtown secondary plan policies in Hamilton. The objective was to develop strategies to strengthen the connections between downtown and surrounding neighbourhoods; to make downtown streets more inviting and comfortable for pedestrians; to attract more people to live in and adjacent to downtown; and to revitalize the retail and economic base of the downtown core. The study also incorporated an extensive public consultation process led by Urban Strategies, consisting of stakeholder workshops and focus group sessions, interviews with key community representatives, and a series of public meetings and open houses.