The Rideau Heights Regeneration Strategy remakes a 32-hectare, 1960s social housing complex in Kingston into a new mixed-income neighborhood with market condominiums, new park configurations and better street connections. The multi-phased, 25-year Strategy aims to improve the safety and functionality of the neighbourhood, better integrate it with the surrounding community, and improve the quality of life of all Kingston Frontenac Housing Corporation (KFHC) residents. The Strategy was developed by a multi-disciplinary team led by Urban Strategies Inc., with extensive input from the City of Kingston and KFHC staff. The ongoing involvement of the community, surrounding residents and multiple stakeholders was critical to understanding the existing challenges and developing a feasible roadmap for the regeneration of Rideau Heights. As part of the plan, the redevelopment of the existing housing stock and community infrastructure will be financed through both land sales and support from the City of Kingston. The Rideau Heights Regeneration Strategy provides a framework for reimagining the neighbourhood in a financially sustainable way, while preserving the unique community character of Rideau Heights. It represents a prototype of how to regenerate older public housing projects with a socially-sustainable, financially-realistic and well-designed strategy in Canada’s smaller cities and towns.
The Rideau Heights Regeneration Strategy was developed over several phases. The first phase of the project included a reconnaissance stage to better understand the physical characteristics of Rideau Heights, including the condition of the existing housing stock and the state of the neighborhood parks. Next, resident consultation was undertaken in order to grasp what residents viewed as challenges in their neighbourhood and what they would like to see changed. The project team incorporated this feedback into a draft strategy, with a new neighborhood layout, new forms of housing as well as new street connections. This draft was presented to the community at an Open House and finalized following extensive discussions with various departments at the City of Kingston. All aspects of the Strategy took financial feasibility into consideration. Bringing the vision and objectives to fruition was inextricably linked with how the Strategy could be implemented, and which funding streams could be tapped into as the neighbourhood was regenerated. This entailed fully understanding possible funding mechanisms, including municipal tools and proposing a realistic timeline.
Read more about the project on City of Kingston’s website.