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THE PLANNING & DESIGN CENTRE NEWSLETTER

PROJECTS TIMELINE 2012

2003 - 2007 Big Ideas Sessions

Three sessions were held, each supported by a panel of community members. The public forums pushed beyond the characteristic limits of polarizing debate towards a significant shift in the way we talk about current issues, from static options to bold visions.

2007 Seek

A free newsletter, Seek features current planning documents, design projects, developments, and upcoming community events. This information is presented in an accessible, matter-of-fact way, forming a tool kit from which individuals can learn more about, and get involved with, the changes happening in their region

High School Urban Design Sessions

Weekly sessions were held with Grade 10 students from Dartmouth High School centred around the relations between their lives and design practices. Hands-on activities helped the students discover downtown Dartmouth and cultivate more acute powers of observation, as well as artistic and communication skills

2008 Share Space 2008: Transparency

Panel discussion about transparency in art, architecture and planning. Share Space was a partnership between the PDC, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University and Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Architecture and Planning intended to enhance institutional collaboration and sharpen our understanding of different disciplines

Cardboard City

A public art installation for Nocturne: Art at Night, Halifax’s nighttime art festival. Using reclaimed cardboard, hundreds of Nocturne attendees constructed a room-sized model of downtown Halifax from their memories and imaginations in seven hours

2009 Street Signs: A Forum on Barrington Street

Held in conjunction with the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, Street Signs was a panel discussion on the future of Barrington Street in the city.

PDC Movie Night + Discussion

A showing of the film “My Architect” was followed by a panel discussion about modernism in architecture and the impact on heritage planning.

Trillium Public Art Competition

The Planning & Design Centre, in conjunction with WM Fares Group, hosted a international public art competition. The site was the Trillium, a live-work development located in downtown Halifax. The aim of the competition was to improve the quality of life in Halifax Regional Municipality by contributing an original, lasting piece of art to the public realm that will serve as a landmark for the downtown, signifying a new history and identity of the district. It represented the unprecedented opportunity to create an artwork in response to the HRM’s Public Art policy, newly enacted at that time.

2010 Sustainable Transportation Task Force

The Task Force is an independent body formed to engage the public and other stakeholders in the development of a long-term Sustainable Transportation Strategy and identify immediate and long-term actions required to implement the Strategy. Formation of the Task Force responds to a growing interest in enabling a shift toward a more sustainable transportation system for the Halifax region.

2011 It’s More Than Buses

The PDC’s Sustainable Transportation Task Force is working at the grass roots level to advance our region’s shift toward a more sustainable transportation system. In partnership with Fusion Halifax, It’s More Than Buses featured three public forums designed to engage citizens in objectively exploring how to improve HRM’s public transportation system. Experts from across the country weighed in on the topic. Each session was part panel presentations and part breakout groups, inviting the public to take inspiration from the panelists and contribute their own ideas. This series was unique in that both the urban and suburban perspective on this issue were sought.The result of the forums was development of guiding principles and a high-frequency transit network. Further work is on-going.

Argyle Streetscape Design

As one of the most vibrant entertainment streets in the city, Argyle Street must be viewed as a model for how people-oriented places in the downtown are designed and developed. The PDC hosted two collaborative design sessions and an open house to develop a streetscape plan that establishes Argyle as a premier public space in the downtown. The hallmark of the plan is permanent infrastructure improvements that create a shared space to support the strong cafe culture, entertainment context and pedestrian life of Argyle Street all year. The final plan and renderings will be presented at the Nova Centre consultation on Oct 3. They are also available on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/ArgyleStreetscape

Switch: Open Street Sundays

Switch is planned to be a weekly event that encourages people to enjoy their city by walking, biking, skating, dancing, and moving around their city safely and comfortably. Switch offers the opportunity for everyone to get to many destinations on the Halifax peninsula in new and healthy way. Switch is not about street closures - it is about opening streets to a greater variety of transportation modes and the route will remain permeable to vehicles. Switch could be a transformative, ongoing event that promotes a safer city where people can travel with ease, and gain a new vision of public space. Switch launched on September 9 with a route extending from North St. and Agricola St. to Victoria Park. Activity nodes along the route animated the street with interactivity, vending and entertainment.

Argyle Street Animation Project (ASAP)

ASAP is conceived as a temporary scaffold installation that serves as hoarding for the Nova Centre construction site while animating the streetscape as a public space. The goal is to demonstrate how the city can temporarily activate vacant sites and reintegrate them as a dynamic part of the urban fabric. The ASAP structure is designed as simply as possible to be attractive, repeatable and adaptable. ASAP aims to host community programming such as art galleries, market stalls, performance spaces and a digital projection screen to add colour, light and energy to an otherwise lost public space.

PDC Online Development Map

The PDC Online Development Map will bring Halifax an interactive tool for tracking and learning about new development happening in the Regional Centre. The Online Development Map will allow developers to upload pertinent details and images about upcoming projects. This tool will improve developers’ ability to communicate with community members, and provide the public with a comprehensive and current picture of how and where new development affects the city. Once operational, this map has the potential to become a strong asset for public consultation and monitoring of the Regional Plan. Halifax can expect the online map to be launched this fall.

EVENTS

SEPTEMBER 2012 Switch: Open Street Sundays September 9 | 9 am - 2 pm See route map on the website and come out to enjoy 2.5 km of open streets for walking, running, cycling, skating and entertainment. http:SwitchHfx.ca PDC Mayoral Candidates Debate: Moving on Transportation September 24 | 6.30 pm Spatz Theatre | 1855 Trollope St Ask tough questions about transportation in HRM, the debate is a collaborative project between multiple organizations: www.pdcentre.ca http://tinyurl.com/PDC-mayoral-debate Halifax RX: Prescription for Good Ideas in HRM September 26 | 7-9pm Good Food Emporium | Windsor St. CKDU will be hosting a PechaKucha style ideas night, pitching a “Prescription of Good Ideas” for HRM.

ISSUE 006 | September 2012

The city is not static. It is constantly changing and evolving. Planning is a means of setting the direction for this change. Rather than being a rigid set of rules dictating how a community grows, a plan provides guidance on how to address the opportunities and constraints arising from this change. A plan must be representative of what the community needs and desires. A key component, then, is the public. In order to have the information to make these decisions, those responsible must know what the community values, needs and wants. It is not enough to hold meetings in conjunction with devising a new plan, a plan review, or as part of the development permit process. Planning is an attitude which requires on-going engagement. Change does not stop, so why does community involvement? Seek is the newsletter for the Planning & Design Centre. This issue is dedicated to community engagement in planning within HRM. Looking at three current opportunities for engaging the public, we hope to highlight how public participation in planning must not be limited to a moment in time. Rather, it must be on-going and meaningful, with citizens given the tools and information they need to contribute to the growth and development of their street, neighbourhood and city. Planning and design must be more visible. If the community is to contribute meaningfully to how their city develops, they must be given the tools and ability to make that contribution. The Planning & Design Centre represents a venue for the realization that planning and design can be a part of our everyday lives. The Planning & Design Centre is dedicated to three simple principles: 1. Awareness: Access to information is of primary importance. To increase awareness and improve the quality of design, information about projects and plans needs to be current, in one place and highly visible. 2. Collaboration: An ongoing forum for public discussion is key to raising expectations, overcoming polarized views, establishing a design culture and shaping our own future. 3. Innovation: Developing high quality, sustainable infrastructure requires leadership, innovation and an advocate.

http://www.pecha-kucha.org/ http://ckdu.ca/habitat HRM North-South AT Plan Public Sessions September 26 | 6:30-9pm Maritime Hall (Halifax Forum) | 2901 Windsor St. September 29 | 11am-1:30pm St. Andrew’s Church Gym | 6036 Coburg Rd. Public sessions to help design and plan the peninsula bikeways network and north-south cycling routes. http://www.halifax.ca/cycling/ http://cyclehalifax.ca

GET IN TOUCH t. 902.494.3678 e. info@pdcentre.ca 5257 Morris Street Halifax, NS

PDC www.facebook.com/PlanningDesignCentre Switch www.facebook.com/Switchhfx

It’s More Than Buses www.facebook.com/itsmorethanbuses PDC www.twitter.com/planningdesign

Switch www.twitter.com/SWITCHHFX

It’s More Than Buses www.twitter.com/morethanbuses Karma Rae Photography, 2011

Karma Rae Photography, 2011


RP+5

RP+5 is the first formal, mandated 5 year review of the HRM Regional Municipal Planning Strategy (RMPS) developed in 2006. The 2006 plan was a major step toward achieving the solidarity and regional coordination promised when amalgamation took place. A tangible example of how a community of communities could roll up its sleeves and contribute to a process that would guide the long-term growth of the region. The result was a plan that considered how our region could bring together land use, transportation and environment to support a high quality of life. Through this process a strategy for developing a network of urban, suburban and rural centres was identified to guide land use intensification and support the goal of 25% of all new growth in the Regional Centre. The RMPS sets out many goals and policies that have been largely neglected over the last 5 years, and include integrating

land use and transportation planning, advancing active transportation or focusing development in the urban core to reduce infrastructure investments. Millions of dollars have been invested in suburban road and highway projects and done little to achieve the 25% target of new residential growth in the Regional Centre. Despite the efforts of HRM planners, RP+5 has relied on a closed backroom process for advancing the review. The public steering committee is largely invisible and public involvement was only integrated for a short time using surveys and public meetings. The emphasis of the review is misplaced. The review focuses on examining limitations, revising policies and improving our understanding. The effort is ambitious and may be laudable but largely unnecessary. It’s not necessary because the plan itself is viable. It’s the execution that is lacking. The plan could state and restate the connections between land use and transportation or greater commitment to the environment but it will not make much difference so long as the policies are continuously disregarded. Without a focused review of the failed implementation, the plan will continue to make little if any difference on the ground. The rate of suburban growth has not slowed despite the plan’s goal to curb sprawl. Our politicians either do not understand or do not support the plan. The momentary crisis still determines the agenda. The public does not see the plan as clear enough or adequately inspiring for us to hold each other accountable as a community. The administration does not see the plan as a worthwhile direction that needs support and push across departmental and agency boundaries. The plan does not need to be improved. It needs to be given a chance. It needs to be implemented. Role of the PDC HRM’s commitment to the PDC would open up the planning process, providing on-going awareness of the purpose and direction of the plan and serve as a forum for collaborative engagement supporting the goals of the plan. The PDC would bring HRM departments, different levels of government and the public together to focus on making a difference: improving transit and active transportation options, fostering innovative infrastructure and celebrating good design. More than reexamining the plan, we need to put it to work more effectively. The PDC is a venue for community ownership of the plan.

Tying in a bonus/incentive system risks stifling a basic expectation of quality public amenities in all new developments.

RP+5 Middle Musquodoboit

Sheet Harbour

Centre Plan

The Centre Plan, Phase 3 of HRM by Design, began in April 2012 with a series of public consultation meetings throughout the Regional Centre. The Centre Plan process will develop proposed changes to the land use bylaw around massing and density guidelines for new developments in select development corridors. By determining these guidelines, HRM seeks to ensure that the existing character and scale of neighbourhoods will be respected and maintained.

Dartmouth

Halifax

Skye Development

CHANGES IN

HRM

SINCE 2006

Population

17 400

New Immigrants

11 000

Ne w J o b s Office Space (Downtown Growth 2008 - 2011)

Office Space (Suburban Growth 2008 - 2011)

19 000 4% 96%

Growth Targets Target

Actual

Urban

25%

16%

Suburban

50%

56%

Rural

25%

28%

The Centre Plan process is exploring design guidelines for parts of the following eleven corridors within the Regional Centre: Gottingen Street, Agricola Street, Young Street, Spring Garden Road, Quinpool Road, Grahams Grove, Portland Street, Wyse Road, Windmill Road, Pleasant Street and Green Village Lane.

Dwelling Units Single Family

(Construction Starts, 10 year average)

Semi-Detached & Row Housing Starts (2011 vs. 2010)

-31% 55%

Apartment + Condominium construction in 2011 exceeded the 20 year high Source: RP+5 consultation session (www.halifax.ca/ planhrm/documents/RP5PresentationMar19-29.pdf)

GOALS

RP+5

__ Economic Sustainability: Fiscal Responsibility for HRM, lower household costs for residents. __ Environmental Sustainability: Green site design and construction regulations, groundwater protection, densification and transit. __ Social Sustainability: Improved housing accessibilty and choice, improved heritage protection and cultural programs.

Centre Plan

__ New Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use By-law for Halifax Peninsula and Dartmouth inside the circumferential highway emphasizing individual neighbourhood identity. __ Opportunities for new growth in appropriate areas, while protecting neighbourhood scale and character. __ Complete, walkable, healthy neighbourhoods and communities __ Clear and predictable development regulations and approval processes. Source: www.halifax.ca/PlanHRM/documents/CouncilPresentation4-Oct-11v3.pdf

CENTRE PLAN

In late April 2012, HRM Staff engaged nine local developers and four local architects to discuss the economic feasibility of the proposed changes. Detailed notes from the meeting can be downloaded at: www. halifax.ca/planhrm/centreplan.html. As part of the Centre Plan process, HRM has asked the Provincial government to amend the HRM Charter to extend the Municipality’s ability to use density bonusing in other areas of the Region, besides the already approved downtown area. Three HRM committees, the Community Design Advisory Committee, Heritage Advisory Committee and the Community Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee, will be reviewing the proposed policy changes in preparation for the final public hearing for the Centre Plan, scheduled for October 2012. The Centre Plan focuses on streamlining the development application process and offering height incentives to developers in exchange for amenities desired by HRM. There are possibilities and issues with the Centre Plan proposition. Making development easier should not imply that the community no longer has a voice or interest in new projects on main streets. Height as an incentive risks misplacing the creativity needed in localized building form.

The largest issue is that the mandate for this plan is severely limited. Pushing through Phase 1 of the Centre Plan, charged only with looking at building form, clearly compromises the amenities, services, infrastructure and transportation questions that arise with new development. This is not a plan; it’s more like institutionalized spot rezoning. Higher density can work if it is appropriately located and designed. This means transportation, land use, building form, open spaces and community services all have to be considered together. This idea is embedded in our existing Regional Plan. Role of the PDC Under the banner of collaboration (among public, private, developers, community, different levels of government and different departments within municipal government) the Planning & Design Centre can serve as a forum for discussion and collaborative open design for each designated corridor. A partial plan is not a plan at all. The work the PDC has been leading through the Sustainable Transportation Task Force, and that various municipal agencies are working on, must be brought together in a public way with the Centre Plan. The issues are not technical but rather a matter of community values.

Development Hotspots Map

(Areas of Proposed Change in Orange)

Source: www.halifax.ca/planhrm

SKYE DEVELOP MENT United Gulf Developments Limited has proposed a 48 storey mixed-use building, Skye Halifax, at 1591 Granville Street. The proposal has been controversial; the developers propose amendments to the Region’s Municipal Planning Strategy, Downtown Halifax Secondary Municipal Planning Strategy and Downtown Halifax Land Use By-law. On February 21, Regional Council voted 146, despite planning staff recommendations against the project, to send the proposal to public hearing based on Policy 89 of HRM by Design. Policy 89 gives Regional Council power to amend the plan for “development projects with highly significant benefits for the downtown and HRM … that exceed the maximum height or building mass”. Policy 89 refers to public benefits that extend beyond the bonus zoning provisions - such as heritage preservation, public amenity space, subsidized residential units, public art, and sustainable building practices - in considering development projects under the plan. HRM by Design serves as a compromise of conflicting perspectives on development. During the HRM by Design process, the Urban Design Task Force had hundreds of meetings, with considerable public

Skye Rendering

Source: www.skyehalifax.ca

involvement, in the creation of land use and urban design policies. United Gulf’s proposal for Skye Halifax contravenes the outcomes of this process. Council’s decision to consider the proposal undermines the extensive public consultation. Following Regional Council’s decision to further consider the development, a public information meeting took place on May 3 at Dalhousie University. Whether based on economics, community planning, policy, view preservation, or architectural character, most opinions presented were beyond the scope of the meeting. The most compelling issue raised by this development is the lack of awareness or commitment to HRM by Design. Clearly we need more collective understanding of what the Plan says, what is allowed, and why. We need more information about why limits exist and more direction about the case that needs to be made to exceed the limits established by the Plan. Public discussion now is characterized by subjective commentary on issues - building height, views, economics, and general development patterns. The community should demand transparent information on the developer’s contribution to HRM by Design. The debate should question how the development would contribute to the public realm, not what works economically for the developer. Role of the PDC The PDC will provide a one-stop venue to learn more about proposed or planned projects in the community, providing detailed planning and design information by hosting pre-application meetings to enhance the level of public involvement in high profile projects. By providing greater access to information about proposed development the public, politicians, key stakeholders and the development community would all be more equipped to engage in an informed development debate. The PDC would serve as an advocate for the plan, providing information about how each new development project supports the vision of a particular site or district as well as the connection to the broader goals of the plan. This would allow the public and politicians to assess developments on their ability to meet the goals of the plan, reducing the potential for polarized views (pro or anti development). The PDC is the vehicle to foster a design culture in HRM that elevates the level of public discussion.

THE BOTTOM LINE In spite of efforts to realize urban planning goals at the regional, urban core and site levels, our plans are not working and public cynicism about community engagement and municipal planning is growing. As a community we need to become more informed to ask the right questions. We need to ask the right questions to create the best solutions. The PDC is more essential than ever to build awareness, foster collaboration and innovation. The PDC brings people and interests together in a way that does not currently exist in HRM. The PDC has served as a voice for openness and inclusiveness by publishing SEEK. The PDC has provided a forum for discussing transportation and land use issues and demonstrating community innovation in public transportation and design. The PDC has become a key advocate for innovation in public infrastructure through projects such as ASAP and the Argyle Streetscape Plan. PDC efforts have turned ideas into community action, demonstrated by Switch: Open Street Sundays. So much has been accomplished with virtually no resources beyond volunteers and supporters who provided whatever they could. Volunteerism will continue to fuel PDC initiatives, but ad hoc support is no longer enough. The PDC needs stable funding, a core staff, an online presence and a physical storefront.To achieve this the PDC needs support from three key groups. • Government & institutions Province, Universities)

(HRM,

• Local design professionals and the development industry • Inspired individuals and community groups We will be meeting with these sectors soon to discuss the role of the PDC in creating a planning and design culture built on excitement and excellence. This forum is vital for Halifax to become a vibrant, inclusive and dynamic city.


RP+5

RP+5 is the first formal, mandated 5 year review of the HRM Regional Municipal Planning Strategy (RMPS) developed in 2006. The 2006 plan was a major step toward achieving the solidarity and regional coordination promised when amalgamation took place. A tangible example of how a community of communities could roll up its sleeves and contribute to a process that would guide the long-term growth of the region. The result was a plan that considered how our region could bring together land use, transportation and environment to support a high quality of life. Through this process a strategy for developing a network of urban, suburban and rural centres was identified to guide land use intensification and support the goal of 25% of all new growth in the Regional Centre. The RMPS sets out many goals and policies that have been largely neglected over the last 5 years, and include integrating

land use and transportation planning, advancing active transportation or focusing development in the urban core to reduce infrastructure investments. Millions of dollars have been invested in suburban road and highway projects and done little to achieve the 25% target of new residential growth in the Regional Centre. Despite the efforts of HRM planners, RP+5 has relied on a closed backroom process for advancing the review. The public steering committee is largely invisible and public involvement was only integrated for a short time using surveys and public meetings. The emphasis of the review is misplaced. The review focuses on examining limitations, revising policies and improving our understanding. The effort is ambitious and may be laudable but largely unnecessary. It’s not necessary because the plan itself is viable. It’s the execution that is lacking. The plan could state and restate the connections between land use and transportation or greater commitment to the environment but it will not make much difference so long as the policies are continuously disregarded. Without a focused review of the failed implementation, the plan will continue to make little if any difference on the ground. The rate of suburban growth has not slowed despite the plan’s goal to curb sprawl. Our politicians either do not understand or do not support the plan. The momentary crisis still determines the agenda. The public does not see the plan as clear enough or adequately inspiring for us to hold each other accountable as a community. The administration does not see the plan as a worthwhile direction that needs support and push across departmental and agency boundaries. The plan does not need to be improved. It needs to be given a chance. It needs to be implemented. Role of the PDC HRM’s commitment to the PDC would open up the planning process, providing on-going awareness of the purpose and direction of the plan and serve as a forum for collaborative engagement supporting the goals of the plan. The PDC would bring HRM departments, different levels of government and the public together to focus on making a difference: improving transit and active transportation options, fostering innovative infrastructure and celebrating good design. More than reexamining the plan, we need to put it to work more effectively. The PDC is a venue for community ownership of the plan.

Tying in a bonus/incentive system risks stifling a basic expectation of quality public amenities in all new developments.

RP+5 Middle Musquodoboit

Sheet Harbour

Centre Plan

The Centre Plan, Phase 3 of HRM by Design, began in April 2012 with a series of public consultation meetings throughout the Regional Centre. The Centre Plan process will develop proposed changes to the land use bylaw around massing and density guidelines for new developments in select development corridors. By determining these guidelines, HRM seeks to ensure that the existing character and scale of neighbourhoods will be respected and maintained.

Dartmouth

Halifax

Skye Development

CHANGES IN

HRM

SINCE 2006

Population

17 400

New Immigrants

11 000

Ne w J o b s Office Space (Downtown Growth 2008 - 2011)

Office Space (Suburban Growth 2008 - 2011)

19 000 4% 96%

Growth Targets Target

Actual

Urban

25%

16%

Suburban

50%

56%

Rural

25%

28%

The Centre Plan process is exploring design guidelines for parts of the following eleven corridors within the Regional Centre: Gottingen Street, Agricola Street, Young Street, Spring Garden Road, Quinpool Road, Grahams Grove, Portland Street, Wyse Road, Windmill Road, Pleasant Street and Green Village Lane.

Dwelling Units Single Family

(Construction Starts, 10 year average)

Semi-Detached & Row Housing Starts (2011 vs. 2010)

-31% 55%

Apartment + Condominium construction in 2011 exceeded the 20 year high Source: RP+5 consultation session (www.halifax.ca/ planhrm/documents/RP5PresentationMar19-29.pdf)

GOALS

RP+5

__ Economic Sustainability: Fiscal Responsibility for HRM, lower household costs for residents. __ Environmental Sustainability: Green site design and construction regulations, groundwater protection, densification and transit. __ Social Sustainability: Improved housing accessibilty and choice, improved heritage protection and cultural programs.

Centre Plan

__ New Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use By-law for Halifax Peninsula and Dartmouth inside the circumferential highway emphasizing individual neighbourhood identity. __ Opportunities for new growth in appropriate areas, while protecting neighbourhood scale and character. __ Complete, walkable, healthy neighbourhoods and communities __ Clear and predictable development regulations and approval processes. Source: www.halifax.ca/PlanHRM/documents/CouncilPresentation4-Oct-11v3.pdf

CENTRE PLAN

In late April 2012, HRM Staff engaged nine local developers and four local architects to discuss the economic feasibility of the proposed changes. Detailed notes from the meeting can be downloaded at: www. halifax.ca/planhrm/centreplan.html. As part of the Centre Plan process, HRM has asked the Provincial government to amend the HRM Charter to extend the Municipality’s ability to use density bonusing in other areas of the Region, besides the already approved downtown area. Three HRM committees, the Community Design Advisory Committee, Heritage Advisory Committee and the Community Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee, will be reviewing the proposed policy changes in preparation for the final public hearing for the Centre Plan, scheduled for October 2012. The Centre Plan focuses on streamlining the development application process and offering height incentives to developers in exchange for amenities desired by HRM. There are possibilities and issues with the Centre Plan proposition. Making development easier should not imply that the community no longer has a voice or interest in new projects on main streets. Height as an incentive risks misplacing the creativity needed in localized building form.

The largest issue is that the mandate for this plan is severely limited. Pushing through Phase 1 of the Centre Plan, charged only with looking at building form, clearly compromises the amenities, services, infrastructure and transportation questions that arise with new development. This is not a plan; it’s more like institutionalized spot rezoning. Higher density can work if it is appropriately located and designed. This means transportation, land use, building form, open spaces and community services all have to be considered together. This idea is embedded in our existing Regional Plan. Role of the PDC Under the banner of collaboration (among public, private, developers, community, different levels of government and different departments within municipal government) the Planning & Design Centre can serve as a forum for discussion and collaborative open design for each designated corridor. A partial plan is not a plan at all. The work the PDC has been leading through the Sustainable Transportation Task Force, and that various municipal agencies are working on, must be brought together in a public way with the Centre Plan. The issues are not technical but rather a matter of community values.

Development Hotspots Map

(Areas of Proposed Change in Orange)

Source: www.halifax.ca/planhrm

SKYE DEVELOP MENT United Gulf Developments Limited has proposed a 48 storey mixed-use building, Skye Halifax, at 1591 Granville Street. The proposal has been controversial; the developers propose amendments to the Region’s Municipal Planning Strategy, Downtown Halifax Secondary Municipal Planning Strategy and Downtown Halifax Land Use By-law. On February 21, Regional Council voted 146, despite planning staff recommendations against the project, to send the proposal to public hearing based on Policy 89 of HRM by Design. Policy 89 gives Regional Council power to amend the plan for “development projects with highly significant benefits for the downtown and HRM … that exceed the maximum height or building mass”. Policy 89 refers to public benefits that extend beyond the bonus zoning provisions - such as heritage preservation, public amenity space, subsidized residential units, public art, and sustainable building practices - in considering development projects under the plan. HRM by Design serves as a compromise of conflicting perspectives on development. During the HRM by Design process, the Urban Design Task Force had hundreds of meetings, with considerable public

Skye Rendering

Source: www.skyehalifax.ca

involvement, in the creation of land use and urban design policies. United Gulf’s proposal for Skye Halifax contravenes the outcomes of this process. Council’s decision to consider the proposal undermines the extensive public consultation. Following Regional Council’s decision to further consider the development, a public information meeting took place on May 3 at Dalhousie University. Whether based on economics, community planning, policy, view preservation, or architectural character, most opinions presented were beyond the scope of the meeting. The most compelling issue raised by this development is the lack of awareness or commitment to HRM by Design. Clearly we need more collective understanding of what the Plan says, what is allowed, and why. We need more information about why limits exist and more direction about the case that needs to be made to exceed the limits established by the Plan. Public discussion now is characterized by subjective commentary on issues - building height, views, economics, and general development patterns. The community should demand transparent information on the developer’s contribution to HRM by Design. The debate should question how the development would contribute to the public realm, not what works economically for the developer. Role of the PDC The PDC will provide a one-stop venue to learn more about proposed or planned projects in the community, providing detailed planning and design information by hosting pre-application meetings to enhance the level of public involvement in high profile projects. By providing greater access to information about proposed development the public, politicians, key stakeholders and the development community would all be more equipped to engage in an informed development debate. The PDC would serve as an advocate for the plan, providing information about how each new development project supports the vision of a particular site or district as well as the connection to the broader goals of the plan. This would allow the public and politicians to assess developments on their ability to meet the goals of the plan, reducing the potential for polarized views (pro or anti development). The PDC is the vehicle to foster a design culture in HRM that elevates the level of public discussion.

THE BOTTOM LINE In spite of efforts to realize urban planning goals at the regional, urban core and site levels, our plans are not working and public cynicism about community engagement and municipal planning is growing. As a community we need to become more informed to ask the right questions. We need to ask the right questions to create the best solutions. The PDC is more essential than ever to build awareness, foster collaboration and innovation. The PDC brings people and interests together in a way that does not currently exist in HRM. The PDC has served as a voice for openness and inclusiveness by publishing SEEK. The PDC has provided a forum for discussing transportation and land use issues and demonstrating community innovation in public transportation and design. The PDC has become a key advocate for innovation in public infrastructure through projects such as ASAP and the Argyle Streetscape Plan. PDC efforts have turned ideas into community action, demonstrated by Switch: Open Street Sundays. So much has been accomplished with virtually no resources beyond volunteers and supporters who provided whatever they could. Volunteerism will continue to fuel PDC initiatives, but ad hoc support is no longer enough. The PDC needs stable funding, a core staff, an online presence and a physical storefront.To achieve this the PDC needs support from three key groups. • Government & institutions Province, Universities)

(HRM,

• Local design professionals and the development industry • Inspired individuals and community groups We will be meeting with these sectors soon to discuss the role of the PDC in creating a planning and design culture built on excitement and excellence. This forum is vital for Halifax to become a vibrant, inclusive and dynamic city.


RP+5

RP+5 is the first formal, mandated 5 year review of the HRM Regional Municipal Planning Strategy (RMPS) developed in 2006. The 2006 plan was a major step toward achieving the solidarity and regional coordination promised when amalgamation took place. A tangible example of how a community of communities could roll up its sleeves and contribute to a process that would guide the long-term growth of the region. The result was a plan that considered how our region could bring together land use, transportation and environment to support a high quality of life. Through this process a strategy for developing a network of urban, suburban and rural centres was identified to guide land use intensification and support the goal of 25% of all new growth in the Regional Centre. The RMPS sets out many goals and policies that have been largely neglected over the last 5 years, and include integrating

land use and transportation planning, advancing active transportation or focusing development in the urban core to reduce infrastructure investments. Millions of dollars have been invested in suburban road and highway projects and done little to achieve the 25% target of new residential growth in the Regional Centre. Despite the efforts of HRM planners, RP+5 has relied on a closed backroom process for advancing the review. The public steering committee is largely invisible and public involvement was only integrated for a short time using surveys and public meetings. The emphasis of the review is misplaced. The review focuses on examining limitations, revising policies and improving our understanding. The effort is ambitious and may be laudable but largely unnecessary. It’s not necessary because the plan itself is viable. It’s the execution that is lacking. The plan could state and restate the connections between land use and transportation or greater commitment to the environment but it will not make much difference so long as the policies are continuously disregarded. Without a focused review of the failed implementation, the plan will continue to make little if any difference on the ground. The rate of suburban growth has not slowed despite the plan’s goal to curb sprawl. Our politicians either do not understand or do not support the plan. The momentary crisis still determines the agenda. The public does not see the plan as clear enough or adequately inspiring for us to hold each other accountable as a community. The administration does not see the plan as a worthwhile direction that needs support and push across departmental and agency boundaries. The plan does not need to be improved. It needs to be given a chance. It needs to be implemented. Role of the PDC HRM’s commitment to the PDC would open up the planning process, providing on-going awareness of the purpose and direction of the plan and serve as a forum for collaborative engagement supporting the goals of the plan. The PDC would bring HRM departments, different levels of government and the public together to focus on making a difference: improving transit and active transportation options, fostering innovative infrastructure and celebrating good design. More than reexamining the plan, we need to put it to work more effectively. The PDC is a venue for community ownership of the plan.

Tying in a bonus/incentive system risks stifling a basic expectation of quality public amenities in all new developments.

RP+5 Middle Musquodoboit

Sheet Harbour

Centre Plan

The Centre Plan, Phase 3 of HRM by Design, began in April 2012 with a series of public consultation meetings throughout the Regional Centre. The Centre Plan process will develop proposed changes to the land use bylaw around massing and density guidelines for new developments in select development corridors. By determining these guidelines, HRM seeks to ensure that the existing character and scale of neighbourhoods will be respected and maintained.

Dartmouth

Halifax

Skye Development

CHANGES IN

HRM

SINCE 2006

Population

17 400

New Immigrants

11 000

Ne w J o b s Office Space (Downtown Growth 2008 - 2011)

Office Space (Suburban Growth 2008 - 2011)

19 000 4% 96%

Growth Targets Target

Actual

Urban

25%

16%

Suburban

50%

56%

Rural

25%

28%

The Centre Plan process is exploring design guidelines for parts of the following eleven corridors within the Regional Centre: Gottingen Street, Agricola Street, Young Street, Spring Garden Road, Quinpool Road, Grahams Grove, Portland Street, Wyse Road, Windmill Road, Pleasant Street and Green Village Lane.

Dwelling Units Single Family

(Construction Starts, 10 year average)

Semi-Detached & Row Housing Starts (2011 vs. 2010)

-31% 55%

Apartment + Condominium construction in 2011 exceeded the 20 year high Source: RP+5 consultation session (www.halifax.ca/ planhrm/documents/RP5PresentationMar19-29.pdf)

GOALS

RP+5

__ Economic Sustainability: Fiscal Responsibility for HRM, lower household costs for residents. __ Environmental Sustainability: Green site design and construction regulations, groundwater protection, densification and transit. __ Social Sustainability: Improved housing accessibilty and choice, improved heritage protection and cultural programs.

Centre Plan

__ New Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use By-law for Halifax Peninsula and Dartmouth inside the circumferential highway emphasizing individual neighbourhood identity. __ Opportunities for new growth in appropriate areas, while protecting neighbourhood scale and character. __ Complete, walkable, healthy neighbourhoods and communities __ Clear and predictable development regulations and approval processes. Source: www.halifax.ca/PlanHRM/documents/CouncilPresentation4-Oct-11v3.pdf

CENTRE PLAN

In late April 2012, HRM Staff engaged nine local developers and four local architects to discuss the economic feasibility of the proposed changes. Detailed notes from the meeting can be downloaded at: www. halifax.ca/planhrm/centreplan.html. As part of the Centre Plan process, HRM has asked the Provincial government to amend the HRM Charter to extend the Municipality’s ability to use density bonusing in other areas of the Region, besides the already approved downtown area. Three HRM committees, the Community Design Advisory Committee, Heritage Advisory Committee and the Community Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee, will be reviewing the proposed policy changes in preparation for the final public hearing for the Centre Plan, scheduled for October 2012. The Centre Plan focuses on streamlining the development application process and offering height incentives to developers in exchange for amenities desired by HRM. There are possibilities and issues with the Centre Plan proposition. Making development easier should not imply that the community no longer has a voice or interest in new projects on main streets. Height as an incentive risks misplacing the creativity needed in localized building form.

The largest issue is that the mandate for this plan is severely limited. Pushing through Phase 1 of the Centre Plan, charged only with looking at building form, clearly compromises the amenities, services, infrastructure and transportation questions that arise with new development. This is not a plan; it’s more like institutionalized spot rezoning. Higher density can work if it is appropriately located and designed. This means transportation, land use, building form, open spaces and community services all have to be considered together. This idea is embedded in our existing Regional Plan. Role of the PDC Under the banner of collaboration (among public, private, developers, community, different levels of government and different departments within municipal government) the Planning & Design Centre can serve as a forum for discussion and collaborative open design for each designated corridor. A partial plan is not a plan at all. The work the PDC has been leading through the Sustainable Transportation Task Force, and that various municipal agencies are working on, must be brought together in a public way with the Centre Plan. The issues are not technical but rather a matter of community values.

Development Hotspots Map

(Areas of Proposed Change in Orange)

Source: www.halifax.ca/planhrm

SKYE DEVELOP MENT United Gulf Developments Limited has proposed a 48 storey mixed-use building, Skye Halifax, at 1591 Granville Street. The proposal has been controversial; the developers propose amendments to the Region’s Municipal Planning Strategy, Downtown Halifax Secondary Municipal Planning Strategy and Downtown Halifax Land Use By-law. On February 21, Regional Council voted 146, despite planning staff recommendations against the project, to send the proposal to public hearing based on Policy 89 of HRM by Design. Policy 89 gives Regional Council power to amend the plan for “development projects with highly significant benefits for the downtown and HRM … that exceed the maximum height or building mass”. Policy 89 refers to public benefits that extend beyond the bonus zoning provisions - such as heritage preservation, public amenity space, subsidized residential units, public art, and sustainable building practices - in considering development projects under the plan. HRM by Design serves as a compromise of conflicting perspectives on development. During the HRM by Design process, the Urban Design Task Force had hundreds of meetings, with considerable public

Skye Rendering

Source: www.skyehalifax.ca

involvement, in the creation of land use and urban design policies. United Gulf’s proposal for Skye Halifax contravenes the outcomes of this process. Council’s decision to consider the proposal undermines the extensive public consultation. Following Regional Council’s decision to further consider the development, a public information meeting took place on May 3 at Dalhousie University. Whether based on economics, community planning, policy, view preservation, or architectural character, most opinions presented were beyond the scope of the meeting. The most compelling issue raised by this development is the lack of awareness or commitment to HRM by Design. Clearly we need more collective understanding of what the Plan says, what is allowed, and why. We need more information about why limits exist and more direction about the case that needs to be made to exceed the limits established by the Plan. Public discussion now is characterized by subjective commentary on issues - building height, views, economics, and general development patterns. The community should demand transparent information on the developer’s contribution to HRM by Design. The debate should question how the development would contribute to the public realm, not what works economically for the developer. Role of the PDC The PDC will provide a one-stop venue to learn more about proposed or planned projects in the community, providing detailed planning and design information by hosting pre-application meetings to enhance the level of public involvement in high profile projects. By providing greater access to information about proposed development the public, politicians, key stakeholders and the development community would all be more equipped to engage in an informed development debate. The PDC would serve as an advocate for the plan, providing information about how each new development project supports the vision of a particular site or district as well as the connection to the broader goals of the plan. This would allow the public and politicians to assess developments on their ability to meet the goals of the plan, reducing the potential for polarized views (pro or anti development). The PDC is the vehicle to foster a design culture in HRM that elevates the level of public discussion.

THE BOTTOM LINE In spite of efforts to realize urban planning goals at the regional, urban core and site levels, our plans are not working and public cynicism about community engagement and municipal planning is growing. As a community we need to become more informed to ask the right questions. We need to ask the right questions to create the best solutions. The PDC is more essential than ever to build awareness, foster collaboration and innovation. The PDC brings people and interests together in a way that does not currently exist in HRM. The PDC has served as a voice for openness and inclusiveness by publishing SEEK. The PDC has provided a forum for discussing transportation and land use issues and demonstrating community innovation in public transportation and design. The PDC has become a key advocate for innovation in public infrastructure through projects such as ASAP and the Argyle Streetscape Plan. PDC efforts have turned ideas into community action, demonstrated by Switch: Open Street Sundays. So much has been accomplished with virtually no resources beyond volunteers and supporters who provided whatever they could. Volunteerism will continue to fuel PDC initiatives, but ad hoc support is no longer enough. The PDC needs stable funding, a core staff, an online presence and a physical storefront.To achieve this the PDC needs support from three key groups. • Government & institutions Province, Universities)

(HRM,

• Local design professionals and the development industry • Inspired individuals and community groups We will be meeting with these sectors soon to discuss the role of the PDC in creating a planning and design culture built on excitement and excellence. This forum is vital for Halifax to become a vibrant, inclusive and dynamic city.


seek

THE PLANNING & DESIGN CENTRE NEWSLETTER

PROJECTS TIMELINE 2012

2003 - 2007 Big Ideas Sessions

Three sessions were held, each supported by a panel of community members. The public forums pushed beyond the characteristic limits of polarizing debate towards a significant shift in the way we talk about current issues, from static options to bold visions.

2007 Seek

A free newsletter, Seek features current planning documents, design projects, developments, and upcoming community events. This information is presented in an accessible, matter-of-fact way, forming a tool kit from which individuals can learn more about, and get involved with, the changes happening in their region

High School Urban Design Sessions

Weekly sessions were held with Grade 10 students from Dartmouth High School centred around the relations between their lives and design practices. Hands-on activities helped the students discover downtown Dartmouth and cultivate more acute powers of observation, as well as artistic and communication skills

2008 Share Space 2008: Transparency

Panel discussion about transparency in art, architecture and planning. Share Space was a partnership between the PDC, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University and Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Architecture and Planning intended to enhance institutional collaboration and sharpen our understanding of different disciplines

Cardboard City

A public art installation for Nocturne: Art at Night, Halifax’s nighttime art festival. Using reclaimed cardboard, hundreds of Nocturne attendees constructed a room-sized model of downtown Halifax from their memories and imaginations in seven hours

2009 Street Signs: A Forum on Barrington Street

Held in conjunction with the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, Street Signs was a panel discussion on the future of Barrington Street in the city.

PDC Movie Night + Discussion

A showing of the film “My Architect” was followed by a panel discussion about modernism in architecture and the impact on heritage planning.

Trillium Public Art Competition

The Planning & Design Centre, in conjunction with WM Fares Group, hosted a international public art competition. The site was the Trillium, a live-work development located in downtown Halifax. The aim of the competition was to improve the quality of life in Halifax Regional Municipality by contributing an original, lasting piece of art to the public realm that will serve as a landmark for the downtown, signifying a new history and identity of the district. It represented the unprecedented opportunity to create an artwork in response to the HRM’s Public Art policy, newly enacted at that time.

2010 Sustainable Transportation Task Force

The Task Force is an independent body formed to engage the public and other stakeholders in the development of a long-term Sustainable Transportation Strategy and identify immediate and long-term actions required to implement the Strategy. Formation of the Task Force responds to a growing interest in enabling a shift toward a more sustainable transportation system for the Halifax region.

2011 It’s More Than Buses

The PDC’s Sustainable Transportation Task Force is working at the grass roots level to advance our region’s shift toward a more sustainable transportation system. In partnership with Fusion Halifax, It’s More Than Buses featured three public forums designed to engage citizens in objectively exploring how to improve HRM’s public transportation system. Experts from across the country weighed in on the topic. Each session was part panel presentations and part breakout groups, inviting the public to take inspiration from the panelists and contribute their own ideas. This series was unique in that both the urban and suburban perspective on this issue were sought.The result of the forums was development of guiding principles and a high-frequency transit network. Further work is on-going.

Argyle Streetscape Design

As one of the most vibrant entertainment streets in the city, Argyle Street must be viewed as a model for how people-oriented places in the downtown are designed and developed. The PDC hosted two collaborative design sessions and an open house to develop a streetscape plan that establishes Argyle as a premier public space in the downtown. The hallmark of the plan is permanent infrastructure improvements that create a shared space to support the strong cafe culture, entertainment context and pedestrian life of Argyle Street all year. The final plan and renderings will be presented at the Nova Centre consultation on Oct 3. They are also available on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/ArgyleStreetscape

Switch: Open Street Sundays

Switch is planned to be a weekly event that encourages people to enjoy their city by walking, biking, skating, dancing, and moving around their city safely and comfortably. Switch offers the opportunity for everyone to get to many destinations on the Halifax peninsula in new and healthy way. Switch is not about street closures - it is about opening streets to a greater variety of transportation modes and the route will remain permeable to vehicles. Switch could be a transformative, ongoing event that promotes a safer city where people can travel with ease, and gain a new vision of public space. Switch launched on September 9 with a route extending from North St. and Agricola St. to Victoria Park. Activity nodes along the route animated the street with interactivity, vending and entertainment.

Argyle Street Animation Project (ASAP)

ASAP is conceived as a temporary scaffold installation that serves as hoarding for the Nova Centre construction site while animating the streetscape as a public space. The goal is to demonstrate how the city can temporarily activate vacant sites and reintegrate them as a dynamic part of the urban fabric. The ASAP structure is designed as simply as possible to be attractive, repeatable and adaptable. ASAP aims to host community programming such as art galleries, market stalls, performance spaces and a digital projection screen to add colour, light and energy to an otherwise lost public space.

PDC Online Development Map

The PDC Online Development Map will bring Halifax an interactive tool for tracking and learning about new development happening in the Regional Centre. The Online Development Map will allow developers to upload pertinent details and images about upcoming projects. This tool will improve developers’ ability to communicate with community members, and provide the public with a comprehensive and current picture of how and where new development affects the city. Once operational, this map has the potential to become a strong asset for public consultation and monitoring of the Regional Plan. Halifax can expect the online map to be launched this fall.

EVENTS

SEPTEMBER 2012 Switch: Open Street Sundays September 9 | 9 am - 2 pm See route map on the website and come out to enjoy 2.5 km of open streets for walking, running, cycling, skating and entertainment. http:SwitchHfx.ca PDC Mayoral Candidates Debate: Moving on Transportation September 24 | 6.30 pm Spatz Theatre | 1855 Trollope St Ask tough questions about transportation in HRM, the debate is a collaborative project between multiple organizations: www.pdcentre.ca http://tinyurl.com/PDC-mayoral-debate Halifax RX: Prescription for Good Ideas in HRM September 26 | 7-9pm Good Food Emporium | Windsor St. CKDU will be hosting a PechaKucha style ideas night, pitching a “Prescription of Good Ideas” for HRM.

ISSUE 006 | September 2012

The city is not static. It is constantly changing and evolving. Planning is a means of setting the direction for this change. Rather than being a rigid set of rules dictating how a community grows, a plan provides guidance on how to address the opportunities and constraints arising from this change. A plan must be representative of what the community needs and desires. A key component, then, is the public. In order to have the information to make these decisions, those responsible must know what the community values, needs and wants. It is not enough to hold meetings in conjunction with devising a new plan, a plan review, or as part of the development permit process. Planning is an attitude which requires on-going engagement. Change does not stop, so why does community involvement? Seek is the newsletter for the Planning & Design Centre. This issue is dedicated to community engagement in planning within HRM. Looking at three current opportunities for engaging the public, we hope to highlight how public participation in planning must not be limited to a moment in time. Rather, it must be on-going and meaningful, with citizens given the tools and information they need to contribute to the growth and development of their street, neighbourhood and city. Planning and design must be more visible. If the community is to contribute meaningfully to how their city develops, they must be given the tools and ability to make that contribution. The Planning & Design Centre represents a venue for the realization that planning and design can be a part of our everyday lives. The Planning & Design Centre is dedicated to three simple principles: 1. Awareness: Access to information is of primary importance. To increase awareness and improve the quality of design, information about projects and plans needs to be current, in one place and highly visible. 2. Collaboration: An ongoing forum for public discussion is key to raising expectations, overcoming polarized views, establishing a design culture and shaping our own future. 3. Innovation: Developing high quality, sustainable infrastructure requires leadership, innovation and an advocate.

http://www.pecha-kucha.org/ http://ckdu.ca/habitat HRM North-South AT Plan Public Sessions September 26 | 6:30-9pm Maritime Hall (Halifax Forum) | 2901 Windsor St. September 29 | 11am-1:30pm St. Andrew’s Church Gym | 6036 Coburg Rd. Public sessions to help design and plan the peninsula bikeways network and north-south cycling routes. http://www.halifax.ca/cycling/ http://cyclehalifax.ca

GET IN TOUCH t. 902.494.3678 e. info@pdcentre.ca 5257 Morris Street Halifax, NS

PDC www.facebook.com/PlanningDesignCentre Switch www.facebook.com/Switchhfx

It’s More Than Buses www.facebook.com/itsmorethanbuses PDC www.twitter.com/planningdesign

Switch www.twitter.com/SWITCHHFX

It’s More Than Buses www.twitter.com/morethanbuses Karma Rae Photography, 2011

Karma Rae Photography, 2011


seek

THE PLANNING & DESIGN CENTRE NEWSLETTER

PROJECTS TIMELINE 2012

2003 - 2007 Big Ideas Sessions

Three sessions were held, each supported by a panel of community members. The public forums pushed beyond the characteristic limits of polarizing debate towards a significant shift in the way we talk about current issues, from static options to bold visions.

2007 Seek

A free newsletter, Seek features current planning documents, design projects, developments, and upcoming community events. This information is presented in an accessible, matter-of-fact way, forming a tool kit from which individuals can learn more about, and get involved with, the changes happening in their region

High School Urban Design Sessions

Weekly sessions were held with Grade 10 students from Dartmouth High School centred around the relations between their lives and design practices. Hands-on activities helped the students discover downtown Dartmouth and cultivate more acute powers of observation, as well as artistic and communication skills

2008 Share Space 2008: Transparency

Panel discussion about transparency in art, architecture and planning. Share Space was a partnership between the PDC, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University and Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Architecture and Planning intended to enhance institutional collaboration and sharpen our understanding of different disciplines

Cardboard City

A public art installation for Nocturne: Art at Night, Halifax’s nighttime art festival. Using reclaimed cardboard, hundreds of Nocturne attendees constructed a room-sized model of downtown Halifax from their memories and imaginations in seven hours

2009 Street Signs: A Forum on Barrington Street

Held in conjunction with the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, Street Signs was a panel discussion on the future of Barrington Street in the city.

PDC Movie Night + Discussion

A showing of the film “My Architect” was followed by a panel discussion about modernism in architecture and the impact on heritage planning.

Trillium Public Art Competition

The Planning & Design Centre, in conjunction with WM Fares Group, hosted a international public art competition. The site was the Trillium, a live-work development located in downtown Halifax. The aim of the competition was to improve the quality of life in Halifax Regional Municipality by contributing an original, lasting piece of art to the public realm that will serve as a landmark for the downtown, signifying a new history and identity of the district. It represented the unprecedented opportunity to create an artwork in response to the HRM’s Public Art policy, newly enacted at that time.

2010 Sustainable Transportation Task Force

The Task Force is an independent body formed to engage the public and other stakeholders in the development of a long-term Sustainable Transportation Strategy and identify immediate and long-term actions required to implement the Strategy. Formation of the Task Force responds to a growing interest in enabling a shift toward a more sustainable transportation system for the Halifax region.

2011 It’s More Than Buses

The PDC’s Sustainable Transportation Task Force is working at the grass roots level to advance our region’s shift toward a more sustainable transportation system. In partnership with Fusion Halifax, It’s More Than Buses featured three public forums designed to engage citizens in objectively exploring how to improve HRM’s public transportation system. Experts from across the country weighed in on the topic. Each session was part panel presentations and part breakout groups, inviting the public to take inspiration from the panelists and contribute their own ideas. This series was unique in that both the urban and suburban perspective on this issue were sought.The result of the forums was development of guiding principles and a high-frequency transit network. Further work is on-going.

Argyle Streetscape Design

As one of the most vibrant entertainment streets in the city, Argyle Street must be viewed as a model for how people-oriented places in the downtown are designed and developed. The PDC hosted two collaborative design sessions and an open house to develop a streetscape plan that establishes Argyle as a premier public space in the downtown. The hallmark of the plan is permanent infrastructure improvements that create a shared space to support the strong cafe culture, entertainment context and pedestrian life of Argyle Street all year. The final plan and renderings will be presented at the Nova Centre consultation on Oct 3. They are also available on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/ArgyleStreetscape

Switch: Open Street Sundays

Switch is planned to be a weekly event that encourages people to enjoy their city by walking, biking, skating, dancing, and moving around their city safely and comfortably. Switch offers the opportunity for everyone to get to many destinations on the Halifax peninsula in new and healthy way. Switch is not about street closures - it is about opening streets to a greater variety of transportation modes and the route will remain permeable to vehicles. Switch could be a transformative, ongoing event that promotes a safer city where people can travel with ease, and gain a new vision of public space. Switch launched on September 9 with a route extending from North St. and Agricola St. to Victoria Park. Activity nodes along the route animated the street with interactivity, vending and entertainment.

Argyle Street Animation Project (ASAP)

ASAP is conceived as a temporary scaffold installation that serves as hoarding for the Nova Centre construction site while animating the streetscape as a public space. The goal is to demonstrate how the city can temporarily activate vacant sites and reintegrate them as a dynamic part of the urban fabric. The ASAP structure is designed as simply as possible to be attractive, repeatable and adaptable. ASAP aims to host community programming such as art galleries, market stalls, performance spaces and a digital projection screen to add colour, light and energy to an otherwise lost public space.

PDC Online Development Map

The PDC Online Development Map will bring Halifax an interactive tool for tracking and learning about new development happening in the Regional Centre. The Online Development Map will allow developers to upload pertinent details and images about upcoming projects. This tool will improve developers’ ability to communicate with community members, and provide the public with a comprehensive and current picture of how and where new development affects the city. Once operational, this map has the potential to become a strong asset for public consultation and monitoring of the Regional Plan. Halifax can expect the online map to be launched this fall.

EVENTS

SEPTEMBER 2012 Switch: Open Street Sundays September 9 | 9 am - 2 pm See route map on the website and come out to enjoy 2.5 km of open streets for walking, running, cycling, skating and entertainment. http:SwitchHfx.ca PDC Mayoral Candidates Debate: Moving on Transportation September 24 | 6.30 pm Spatz Theatre | 1855 Trollope St Ask tough questions about transportation in HRM, the debate is a collaborative project between multiple organizations: www.pdcentre.ca http://tinyurl.com/PDC-mayoral-debate Halifax RX: Prescription for Good Ideas in HRM September 26 | 7-9pm Good Food Emporium | Windsor St. CKDU will be hosting a PechaKucha style ideas night, pitching a “Prescription of Good Ideas” for HRM.

ISSUE 006 | September 2012

The city is not static. It is constantly changing and evolving. Planning is a means of setting the direction for this change. Rather than being a rigid set of rules dictating how a community grows, a plan provides guidance on how to address the opportunities and constraints arising from this change. A plan must be representative of what the community needs and desires. A key component, then, is the public. In order to have the information to make these decisions, those responsible must know what the community values, needs and wants. It is not enough to hold meetings in conjunction with devising a new plan, a plan review, or as part of the development permit process. Planning is an attitude which requires on-going engagement. Change does not stop, so why does community involvement? Seek is the newsletter for the Planning & Design Centre. This issue is dedicated to community engagement in planning within HRM. Looking at three current opportunities for engaging the public, we hope to highlight how public participation in planning must not be limited to a moment in time. Rather, it must be on-going and meaningful, with citizens given the tools and information they need to contribute to the growth and development of their street, neighbourhood and city. Planning and design must be more visible. If the community is to contribute meaningfully to how their city develops, they must be given the tools and ability to make that contribution. The Planning & Design Centre represents a venue for the realization that planning and design can be a part of our everyday lives. The Planning & Design Centre is dedicated to three simple principles: 1. Awareness: Access to information is of primary importance. To increase awareness and improve the quality of design, information about projects and plans needs to be current, in one place and highly visible. 2. Collaboration: An ongoing forum for public discussion is key to raising expectations, overcoming polarized views, establishing a design culture and shaping our own future. 3. Innovation: Developing high quality, sustainable infrastructure requires leadership, innovation and an advocate.

http://www.pecha-kucha.org/ http://ckdu.ca/habitat HRM North-South AT Plan Public Sessions September 26 | 6:30-9pm Maritime Hall (Halifax Forum) | 2901 Windsor St. September 29 | 11am-1:30pm St. Andrew’s Church Gym | 6036 Coburg Rd. Public sessions to help design and plan the peninsula bikeways network and north-south cycling routes. http://www.halifax.ca/cycling/ http://cyclehalifax.ca

GET IN TOUCH t. 902.494.3678 e. info@pdcentre.ca 5257 Morris Street Halifax, NS

PDC www.facebook.com/PlanningDesignCentre Switch www.facebook.com/Switchhfx

It’s More Than Buses www.facebook.com/itsmorethanbuses PDC www.twitter.com/planningdesign

Switch www.twitter.com/SWITCHHFX

It’s More Than Buses www.twitter.com/morethanbuses Karma Rae Photography, 2011

Karma Rae Photography, 2011


seek-newsletter