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  #21  
Old Posted Aug 31, 2015, 7:23 PM
beyeas beyeas is offline
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Not sure if this had already been shared, but just in case I wanted to share this article from Spacing Atlantic. An excellent breakdown of the discussion around density, opposition to density, why density is not bad, and also why not every development is good.

I especially liked the line "For specific developments, the number of people inside is at best a good thing and at worst irrelevant. Buildings must be judged in terms of their quality, not the people." Interesting argument as well around the common complaint that we should not have more density because there is already not enough parking and roads, which he countered with the fact that there are 25,000 fewer people living on the peninsula compared to the '70s, and yet we now have more traffic and are being asked to build bigger roads.

http://spacing.ca/atlantic/2015/08/10/oppose-building-not-people/"
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  #22  
Old Posted Sep 1, 2015, 12:51 AM
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Interesting article. It is great that there are more voices now and a lot of them are articulating a different vision beyond the usual anti-development angle.

I disagree with a couple of small points and the conclusions though. I don't think the city should stop allowing plan amendments until the Centre Plan is done. We don't really know how long the plan will take to develop or how successful it will be, and once that's done there will be other plans and other calls to put things on hold. The city needs to keep moving forward and part of that involves making sure that planning applications go through. The amendments and development agreements are just a normal part of the process.

Similarly I think the argument about how buildings need to be the "right" buildings at the right quality level is deeply problematic. For any given building there will be a percentage of people who don't like it, and there will always be ways that new buildings can be improved. The cities with the best quality buildings have lots of development and support industries where developers and architects can thrive. Coming at this from the negative perspective of wanting to "weed out" bad buildings is not going to be effective. The city needs to say yes to developers while nudging them in the right direction.
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  #23  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2015, 8:47 PM
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This photo from Hali87's thread made me think of an interesting aspect of Halifax building stock:

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Queen Street 4 by Hali87, on Flickr
A lot of people, particularly in Halifax, believe that wood is worse than brick or stone, but I disagree. It is really more mutable and flexible. If an area declines, it starts to look worse much faster. If an area develops, however, it's easier to extend, and this is happening in a lot of central Halifax, as shown in the shot above. If done well it would be great to see old wooden 2-storey houses converted into 3 and 4 storey buildings in a sympathetic way. It's good from a density perspective but it's also realizing some of the potential that never materialized in the city up until now. Halifax wasn't a city with large areas of medium density neighbourhoods in 1920 but it could be one in 2020.

The North End would be a lot more vibrant if about half of the old saltbox rowhouse building stock were extended upward at the same time as new buildings were constructed on the empty lots.
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  #24  
Old Posted Dec 21, 2015, 3:22 PM
beyeas beyeas is offline
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I was wandering around Soho, Greenwich Village etc last week while my wife shopped, and came across this Home Depot at basically West 23rd & Broadway in the Flatiron District. Now THAT is urban format. Talk about a gorgeous looking facade for what is fundamentally a warehouse store!

https://goo.gl/maps/mYNVSj9zmTU2

As a side note... ran into "George Bluth Sr" in the Apple Store in SoHo (or maybe it was Oscar?!
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  #25  
Old Posted Dec 21, 2015, 3:27 PM
OliverD OliverD is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beyeas View Post
Interesting argument as well around the common complaint that we should not have more density because there is already not enough parking and roads, which he countered with the fact that there are 25,000 fewer people living on the peninsula compared to the '70s, and yet we now have more traffic and are being asked to build bigger roads.
Interesting. What caused that shift out of the peninsula? I assume at some point the population of the peninsula began growing again?
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  #26  
Old Posted Dec 22, 2015, 9:06 AM
Hali87 Hali87 is offline
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A number of factors - new housing and easy mortgages became common so a lot of new housing was built off-peninsula (and the fact that it was new had appeal). Several neighbourhoods were redeveloped in urban renewal schemes that didn't necessarily replace the net loss to local residential (example: residential north Downtown was razed for [non-residential] Scotia Square, most of the residents were displaced to Mulgrave Park, which was surplus war-era military housing). Families shrank in "presence" as the younger generation tended to buy new property in the suburbs. Also there has been a growing proportion of students on the peninsula (and likely military) not all of whom are counted as residents in the census.
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  #27  
Old Posted Dec 22, 2015, 9:08 AM
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FWIW, these trends tended to be common in most Canadian cities, and were actually more common in the US, where there was usually a conspicuous racial element as well.
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  #28  
Old Posted Dec 22, 2015, 1:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Hali87 View Post
(example: residential north Downtown was razed for [non-residential] Scotia Square, most of the residents were displaced to Mulgrave Park, which was surplus war-era military housing).
No. Mulgrave Park was built in the '60s as new public housing, as was the trend at the time to build housing projects. It was a hellhole for years, as those type of developments tended to quickly become. Not sure what it is like now.
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  #29  
Old Posted Dec 22, 2015, 1:59 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Yeah, actually a huge area of the downtown/north end was razed for what amounted to urban renewal, the planners' vision of the future as viewed through 1950s rose-coloured glasses.

It encompassed all the area of Scotia Square, Cogswell, and the north end of Barrington to accommodate the ill-fated Harbour Drive project. This subject has been covered in great detail in other threads on this site.

As far as I know, the people displaced by this project just moved elsewhere, wherever they could. The public housing projects like Uniacke Square were created to house those displaced when the city took over Africville, if I'm remembering this correctly. Not sure where Mulgrave Park fits in to all of this, though.
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  #30  
Old Posted Dec 22, 2015, 5:23 PM
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The biggest factor in the population decline on the peninsula is shrinking household sizes. It used to be common to have 4-5 people in one unit but now the average is on its way down to 2. The number of inhabited housing units on the peninsula is probably higher today than it was in 1950.

Often neighbourhoods actually decline in density as they become wealthier and overcrowding is reduced. This is particularly true in areas where it's not possible to add many new housing units, like the single family parts of the peninsula.

Another factor in Halifax is commercial and institutional development. Areas like Grafton Street used to be residential neighbourhoods but transitioned to businesses as the city grew. It's only in the last couple decades that the idea of mixed-use development in these areas has caught on.
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  #31  
Old Posted Dec 22, 2015, 5:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
No. Mulgrave Park was built in the '60s as new public housing, as was the trend at the time to build housing projects. It was a hellhole for years, as those type of developments tended to quickly become. Not sure what it is like now.
The site was originally military housing though. I assumed the buildings were original but maybe not.
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  #32  
Old Posted Dec 22, 2015, 5:32 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
Yeah, actually a huge area of the downtown/north end was razed for what amounted to urban renewal, the planners' vision of the future as viewed through 1950s rose-coloured glasses.

It encompassed all the area of Scotia Square, Cogswell, and the north end of Barrington to accommodate the ill-fated Harbour Drive project. This subject has been covered in great detail in other threads on this site.

As far as I know, the people displaced by this project just moved elsewhere, wherever they could. The public housing projects like Uniacke Square were created to house those displaced when the city took over Africville, if I'm remembering this correctly. Not sure where Mulgrave Park fits in to all of this, though.
Mulgrave Park was completed a few years before Uniacke Square, more or less concurrent with the clearing of the "Central Redevelopment Area" (now Scotia Square) while Uniacke Square was associated more with Africville.
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  #33  
Old Posted Dec 22, 2015, 5:47 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by Hali87 View Post
Mulgrave Park was completed a few years before Uniacke Square, more or less concurrent with the clearing of the "Central Redevelopment Area" (now Scotia Square) while Uniacke Square was associated more with Africville.
I don't really have any info on Mulgrave, other than knowing the area was leveled by the Halifax Explosion, and later reconfigured with a new street layout.

Given the scope of the central redevelopment I can't see Mulgrave Park being anywhere large enough to accommodate all the residents displaced by this project over the years. I can tell you that my father's family moved to Dartmouth, as they were residents of Grafton Street where Scotia Square now stands.
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  #34  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2016, 2:14 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
I don't really have any info on Mulgrave, other than knowing the area was leveled by the Halifax Explosion, and later reconfigured with a new street layout.

Given the scope of the central redevelopment I can't see Mulgrave Park being anywhere large enough to accommodate all the residents displaced by this project over the years. I can tell you that my father's family moved to Dartmouth, as they were residents of Grafton Street where Scotia Square now stands.
More info now from Ziobrop's excellent blog:

http://halifaxbloggers.ca/builthalif...mulgrave-park/
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  #35  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2016, 2:26 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Just wanted to haul these comments over from the Pavillion at South Park thread, where it had gone off on a little tangent. I thought that the comments would be more appropriate for this thread:

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A lot of buildings were destroyed in the North End but just about everything survived downtown and in the South End. The old poor asylum burned down in 1882. Unfortunately, a lot of those big Victorian-era buildings were prone to fires.

Most of the heritage buildings were lost over decades due to the exact process we're seeing today with the Doyle Block and CBC Building. Back in the 1960's they were tearing down buildings from the mid-1800's and earlier. A lot of people argued that they were obsolete and run-down.

I agree that Halifax could have had an Old Montreal kind of area, particularly below Barrington Street and the harbour. Some of that could still be recaptured by doing things like restoring the Dennis Building and Province House grounds, etc. There are a couple of old buildings that might be worth reconstructing too, like the building that originally had the naval clock (from 1772). That would be a nice landmark for the waterfront. People really like the Morse's Teas building but it is only one of maybe 6 or 8 similar buildings (Cunard, Brown Brothers/Pentagon, and a few other unidentified ones) that were mostly demolished. Similarly there was a handful of Dennis Building type 7 storey narrow offices that were demolished. The stretch up Sackville Street, around Hollis and over to where the Maritime Centre is now was mostly 4-6 storey masonry office buildings that would be heritage buildings today.

The Great Pontack is another interesting old waterfront landmark (from 1754, played a role in the Seven Years' War, and apparently survived until at least 1925): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pontack_(Halifax)

Prince Edward also had a townhouse somewhere around the Citadel, maybe near Brunswick Street. I've never managed to find any pictures or drawings of it.
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And to add credence to someone123's post about the relative lack of destruction in other areas, there's this photo from downtown (Five Fisherman building) shortly after the explosion:

https://novascotia.ca/archives/explo...ives.asp?ID=22
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You can see St. Paul's Parish Hall in that scene, 1718 Argyle Street. Another unfortunate architectural loss, although part of the facade is still there.

The Auction House next door isn't a terribly impressive building but it is from 1765. Five Fishermen is circa 1810.
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Originally Posted by fenwick16 View Post
It is sad that such a beautiful building was torn down.

I like to imagine Halifax with these interesting old buildings, including ones such as the pentagon building, mixed with modern 20, 30 and 40 storey tall buildings. Halifax has achieved this to an extent but could have done better.
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That's exactly the vision that I have, in my ideal world. A vibrant, lively downtown with a combination of functional modern and heritage buildings, creating a neighbourhood that has a recognition and respect for the historical aspects of one of the oldest and arguably most interesting cities in North America.

It could still happen, but change has to occur first from the most basic levels of the political, planning, and development communities.
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Yeah, this is what I would like to see too, and I think it is what a lot of people would actually like even though a lot of people don't see the big picture (many are stuck in the "development vs. heritage preservation" mindset, but it's a false trade-off; you can have both).

HRM by Design and the Barrington Street heritage district have brought planning rules a bit more in line with this vision but there's still a big gap remaining. The city needs to simultaneously provide better heritage protections and throw out pointless and harmful restrictions on development. The Centre Plan also needs to be put in place so that it is easy to grow the downtown core of the city into new areas, removing the incentive to redevelop the same old downtown areas over and over every time land values and demand for new space grow a bit.
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  #36  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2016, 2:41 PM
portapetey portapetey is offline
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
Just wanted to haul these comments over from the Pavillion at South Park thread, where it had gone off on a little tangent. I thought that the comments would be more appropriate for this thread:
I see that you're already making good use of that multi-quote button!
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  #37  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2016, 3:33 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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I see that you're already making good use of that multi-quote button!
You may have created a monster!
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