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CIVIC CENTRE STUDY EDMONTON, EDMONTON DOWNTOWN D

'HE CITY OF EDMONTON 14

'ttp DOWNTOWN DESIGNCOMMITTEE City of Edmonton

PLAN G DEPARTMENT

SCOPE & PROCEDURE REPORT

FOR THE

CIVIC CENTER STUDY

February 24, 1961.

1 1756.1a .E3 :D71 1961


C11 4470

THE CITY OF EDMONTON DOWNTOWN DESIGN COMMITTEE February 24, 1961. Your Worship, Members of Edmonton City Council, City Commissioners. The Civic Center Study Herewith is the Scope and Procedure Report on the Civic Center Study. This report was authorized, along with a similar report on a proposed Central Business District Study, on January 4, 1961. It was earlier thought necesssry to conduct both studies simultaneously, each seemed so interwoven with the other that the requests for authority to proceed with the two studies were contained in a single report of the Planning Advisory Commission. However, the work of the Downtown Design Committee has indicated that it is practical to proceed with the Civic Center Study almost independently of the Central Business District Study. This is so partly because of the "non-commercial" nature of some of the elements included in the civic center project -- cultural elements, for example. Decisions concerning transportation, and concerning the more commercial components of the Center can probably-be made, tentatively at least, in a short period of time. They will be subject to refinement as the work progresses but basic concepts are not likely to alter substantially. This study, to be completed within a year, and at an estimated cost of 4.)40,000 to $50,0001 is important. Apart from its beneficial effect on the 4200 million investment already fixed in the downtown area, it will add to the region's cultural life and to the enjoyment of living in Edmonton. Furthermore, if properly conceived, it will be economically sound. It will serve to encourage other developments in the central area and its own value will continue to increase as the years go by. The Scope and Procedure Report for the Central Business District will be submitted separately at an early date. Because of the urgency of various aspects of the Civic Center project, however, this report requests authority to proceed with the Civic Center Study as described herein. Respectfully submitted, DOWNTOWN DESIGN COMMITTEL

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G. C. Hamilton, Chairman. GCH/gl

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THE CITY OF EDMONTON DOWNTOWN DESIGN COMMITTEE THE

CIVIC

CENTER

STUDY

The objects of the Civic Center Study, as set out in the Planning Advisory Commission's report of December

6, 1960,

are:-

1. To more carefully analyze the usefulness and benefits to the City and its citizens of a Civic Center which, while a source of pride and beauty, is primarily functional. 2. To create an architectural design and, perhaps, a scale model of that civic center whose elements are determined on the basis of need and usefulness in the life of the growing city. 3. To prepare a detailed report on the best way to translate the Civic Center plan into reality. The Civic Center was also dealt with in an earlier report (April 22, 1960) which outlined several reasons for initiating such a study. SECTION 1. BENEFITS TO THE CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT The Downtown Design Committee consider that the development of the Civic Center will have an important effect on the direction and nature of future growth in the central business district, and it seems useful, therefore, to examine the functional elements of the city's business core, and determine whether the Civic Center can be used to enhance or strengthen them.


2. DOWNTOWN DESIGN COMMITTEE The Civic Center Study Commerce. The Central Business District serves as a focal point of econoric activity throughout the region, accommodating corporate offices, banks and other financial institutions, and a wide range of professional services that are involved in economic transactions throughout the region. These enterprises tend to congregate in a central place, close to each other and to other elements of the Central Business District, in a way that affords ready business contact. Edmonton's principal financial district is located within one or two blocks of the Civic Center area, and will benefit from the transportation facilities, the improved open space, and te other attractions of the Center. Communications. The Central Business District functions as the center of communications within the region and as a link to other regions (including inter-region transportation). This involves the exchange of ideas, business information, and other personal comnunication. It involves meetings and conventions of many kinds. Since these activities are closely related to regional commercial life, their best location would normally be in the Central Business District. In planning Edmonton's Civic Center area, serious thought should be given to providing substantial additional convention facilities, the proper place for which is certainly downtown. It is the experience elsewhere that, in terms both of financial return to the business community and as an advertisement of the city itself, centrally located convention centers have a value much greater than is generally supposed. Retail Trade. The retail element of the Central Business District is that of offering to the regional population a wide range of merchandise


3. DOWNTOWN DESIGN COMMITTEE The Civic Center Study generally not available at other locations. This is made possible economically by the fact that the Central Business District retail stores are also supported by those employed in the other elements of the Central Business District, by the inlying neighborhood market, and by shoppers who utilize the transportation network that serves the multiple purposes of the Central Business District. In particular, the Edmonton Central Business District must be readily accessible to the rural population of the region so it can properly serve their business and social interests. The Civic Center should provide an additional attraction to the shopper, not only because of its architectural beauty and the variety of adtivities it offers, but because its easy adcessibility by a Variety of meansi Cuture and Entertainment. Major cultural facilities are usually regional in terms of the "market" they serve. The greater the accessible population, the higher is likely to be the level of cultural activity. Thus it is convenient for such facilities to be located in a central place in the region, and it is more efficient for them to be situated where other centralized regional activities are congregated. The economic activity of the Central Business District can be strengthened by the proper location of cultural elements in it. This will probably be one of the chief roles of the Civic Center: it should contain provision for several important cultural facilities which are best located in an area of great activity and accessibility. Government and Administration. The Edmonton Central Business District will also serve as a location for certain governmental activities


4. DOWNTOWN DESIGN comturTFE The Civic Center Study related to the region. These may involve certain public regulatory agencies, law courts, local and regional post offices, governmental consumer services; and quasi-commercial government agencies. The new City Hall is prominently located in the Civic Center, and, grouped around its perimeter are several other government buildings. These permanent structures should be provided with the dignified yet accessible position they deserve, for they are, in a sense, symbols of our democratic society. SECTION 2. CIVIC CENTER'S ROLE IN REDEVELOPEENT.

Concern over the renewal of older areas of North American cities is rising everywhere. Because Edmonton is such a comparatively young city, the consequences of functional obsolescence and physical deterioration have not yet become as serious as they are in older cities. The trends to these conditions are evident here, however, and thefe is no reasoh to believe that Edmonton will be immune to the prodess of Change and decay which seen to be an inevitable by-product of progress. One of the more important areas of concern in this regard lies east and north of the Civic Center. It is of great potential value because of its central location and yet there is serious doubt that it will renew itself automatically, in the way that is most beneficial to the area itself and the city as a whole. The Civic Center can play an important role in initiating renewal. This aspect of Civic Center may, in future, be among the most important justifications for its development, and it should be so regarded in any


5. DOWNTOWN DESIGN COMMITTEE The Civic Center Study urban renewal study. SECTION 3. CIVIC CENTER'S ROLE IN TRANSPORTATION Much attention has been given, lately, to the problem of transportation in all its forms within the metropolitan area, and it is hoped that, through the proposed traffic, transit and parking study)a plan for movement within the city can be devised. Many new prospects concerning public transportation have developed over the past few months, all of which point to the probable importance of the Civic Center area as a focal point in a future transit system. In addition, the Center's role in serving the automobile is becoming increasingly clear. The final results of the metropolitan traffic study will not be available for some time, but it is anticipated that the basic transportation decisions affecting the Civic Center may be made fairly quickly; These will be subject to refinement as the work proceeds, but are not likely to change in basic concept. SECTION

4. THE

STUDY PROGRAM

Many projects, some of great importance, are being planned for downtown Edmonton by various private groups. Some of these are soon to become reality; others will be encouraged, and, perhaps be substantially benefitted by the Civic Center development. Some projects may, in fact, become part of the Civic Center itself. All this adds urgency to the Civic Center study, and, notwithstanding its close interrelationship with the central business district, it is felt that an early start must be made. The best approach to the Civic Center design is to determine what activities or land uses will be of greatest


6. DOWNTOWN DESIGN commITTEF The Civic Center Study benefit to the City (and, more particularly, to the central area), and then examine when and how these beneficial elements might be placed in or around the Civic Center. Some of the features proposed will lend themselves to fairly direct economic analysis, while other features will serve community needs that cannot be measured with financial precision. Throughout, the importance of the Center as an architectural and visual symbol must be emphasized. The Center's importance in relation to traffic, transit, and parking plans has been noted. This is another illustration of the close functional interrelationship of the Central Business District and the Civic Center. Nevertheless, the study of the Civic Center is primarily architectural in nature. Partly because of its "non-commercial" elements, it is practical to begin work on this project earlier than would be the case if all decisions relating to it were measurable by a precise dollars-and-cents yardstick. In its report of December 6, 1960, the Planning Advisory Commission stated:"The Planning Advisory Commission wishes to emphasize that the principle criteria on which these studies are proposed are the hard-headed ones of preserving and enhanding the value and usefuless of the Central Business District, The Civic Center will be imPortant in this respect. The Civic Center's value in redeVelopment will also be considered. Every proposal will be examined from the point of view of its probable contribution to the economic welfare of the city and its business interests. The Planning Advisory Commission believe that these will turn out, generally, to also confer social benefits and, if properly planned and designed, to enhance the appearance of the Central Business District and the beauty of the Civic Center. But the keynote is utility." This approach to the study will be closely adhered to, but certain judgements must be made which are not based solely upon direct quantitative measurements. An example is the decision as to whether or not t ere should be provision, in the Center, for an art gallery or perhaps a museum. Such facilities


7. DOWNTOWN DESIGN COMMITTEE The Civic Center Study would enhance the area and enrich life in Edmonton, but so would many other additions to the city's cultural life* The final decisions on all these matters will, of course, be made by Council, but these can best be made on the basis of Some analysis and design work undertaken on the Civic Center project by the Downtown Design Committee. Architectural sketching should begin as soon as preliminary decisions have been made concerning the best component elements of the Center. As noted previously, these decisions, tentative though they may be, and subject to later refinement, should be the first work of the Downtown Design Committee. SECTION

5. TIME

SCHEDULE AND COST ESTIMATE

If an immediate start can be made on the Civic Center study, it seems reasonable to expect that it will be substantially complete in 1961. Some of the final reports and presentation drawings may extend the final submission date into early 1962 but preliminary plans and report should be available earlier. The architectural work would include the following:(a)Detailed analysis of the problem and assembly of pertinent information. (b)Preparation of the complete design. (c)Preparation of an explanatory text. . (d) Preparation of illustrative sketches. (e)Preparation of a scale model. The architectural cost estimate is 00,000.00. In addition, because of the necessity for decisions and collaboration of other members of the Downtown Design Committee, (chiefly related to transportation and selection the components of the Civic Center), a further cost of 0.01000.00 to


8. DUVTOIPIN DESICV COMMITTEE The Civic Center Study 20,000.00 is anticipated. The Downtown Design Committee requests that City Council authorize the Civic Center Study as described in this report. Respectfully submitted, DONNTOWN DESICV 'COMMITTEE / . 'e

G. C. Hamilton, Chairman.

GCH/gl February 24, 1961t

e(


Edmonton (Alta.) - 1961 - Scope and procedure report on the civic center study (1961-02-24)  
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