Hamilton CCTP looks at smaller cities in North America

These three earlier posts, Hamilton as medium sized city in Netherlands,  Hamilton compared to a medium sized city in Australia and Hamilton as a medium sized city in German all show that Hamilton can be seen as a city of  normal density.

To take this a step further, Hamilton’s Central City Transformation Plan (CCTP) has ‘been prepared after reviewing academic research papers … and understanding what has worked in smaller sized cities around the world similar to Hamilton’.

The following are the cities from North America that were part of the review. Again, they show that Hamilton is not a low density city.


Now for a quick review of the lead paper The Successful Few Healthy Downtowns of Small Metropolitan Regions, Pierre Filion, Heidi Hoernig, Trudi Bunting, and Gary Sands. Journal of the American Planning Association. Vol 70 No3. Summer 2004

This study is based on a survey of hundreds of planners with interests in downtown revitalization in North America. The paper starts by stating:

Early strategies of the 1950s and 1960s … focused on … radial expressways and widened arterial roads were meant to channel the flow of cars towards downtowns, increasingly well provided with parking space.

Policymakers became convinced … downtowns had to gloss their image and embrace suburban shopping formulas. This phase, which ran from the late 1950s into the early 1980s … The assumption that by replicating … downtown areas could compete successfully with suburbs.

The 1970s … early revitalization attempts were often held responsible for downtowns’ downward spiral.

Moving forward to the 21st century, here is what planners believe are factors in the success of downtowns


The survey notes

Many respondents emphasized the importance of a resident population and a wide variety of land uses to assure 24-hour activity

Interestingly, Hamilton’s CCTP takes a ‘precinct’ (meaning an area with specific or restricted use) approach, ‘each with a dominant activity’ or non-activities at predictable times of the day.

To quote what Gehl Architects repeatedly remind city planners, this is from the Hobart 2010 Public Spaces and Public Life report http://www.hobartcity.com.au/Hobart/A_City_with_People_in_Mind/Gehl_Architects_Report Page 30 [file:///C:/Users/No805/Downloads/02_Final_report_-_Analysis.pdf]

The outcome could be non-functional areas of the inner city that are perceived as unsafe. This is particularly problematic when people have to pass through the areas in order to get to night time destination, home or to public transportation nodes

To finish, a second report from north America the CCTP reviewed is on Revitalizing Small city Downtowns The Case of Brandon, Manitoba, Canada  pop 46,061; density 599pkm2

The ‘revitalization’ was summarised in page 13 as

amounting to a taxpayer subsidy to the mall owners

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