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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Monday Mused..monthly

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co-hosted by Rachel Caroline Derrah

If coffee doesn’t quite spark your brain on Mondays, get your juices flowing with Spacing Atlantic’s musing of the week. We pose a question – you think, write, comment, share philosophies, facts, ideas or opinions. We will summarize the discussion and provide musings of our own. Don’t be shy! Comment away ..

This past month we were musing.  We were musing about space, or more specifically  Haligonian space that is currently un or under used.  Questions were posed about the potential usage of the chronicle herald’s empty lot aswell as the vacant storefronts just around the corner on Bare-ington St.  The comments/answers/suggestions and further questions that came from our initial questions led to a general consensus: That which is empty is begging to be filled.

Exactly what the filling could feel like is still up for debate but some progress was made.  With regards to both spaces there was a call for opening up a discourse (not unlike this one) where the people of the city could share their ideas with eachother and with the designers/engineers/landowners/decision makers who often seem out of ear shot.  With regards to the Chronicle Herald lot and the Convention Centre that is proposed to fill it, Robert Ruggiero suggested that the WTCC consider following the example of the Central Public Library by hosting comprehensive public consultation sessions with regards to their design plans.  In a similar vein, Allison suggested that the barren storefronts be used as forums where the Haligonian people could share their ideas about potential uses of the street with eachother.

Other comments fell on different sides of a question of permanence.  Are we proposing ways to fill  these spaces  for the next week or for the next 50 years?  When thinking about more permanent possibilities another p-word was inevitably dropped by people musing about how to develop downtown spaces that would yield profits while also benefiting the community.  J. Pooley points out that, “If there is no money to be made there will be no money to consider vague ideas like shape and form.”  Christopher Harbourne suggests that incentives be provided to lure businesses that will occupy these spaces.  What types of incentives could those be?  Tax advantages?  Could citizen contentment/engagement be seen as an incentive?

Costas Elles, in his video contribution shared by Cheryl, said that “We need [a] spark in the downtown.”  His hope is that the spark will be set off by hungry conference goers as they blink into the early evening sun after a hard days work-shopping.   Others suggest that spark could be lit by the citizenry of Halifax, by filling our voids with pop up galleries,  studio space for artists and musicians,“social innovation squats”, work space, mixed use office/small business,  galleries and cafes maybe even affordable housing downtown!

The un and under used spaces of our city are longing to be filled and based off of this months commentary it appears that the people of this Town have a lot of ideas of how that filling could be fulfilling.

So, what do we do with these ideas now?  Is it time to move from musing to using?

Photo by wdrwilson


One comment

  1. Solution is…

    Graffiti! (or rent control)

    Graffiti = low property value = cheap rent = artists and innovators = trendy = gentrification = business and tourism! = employment and tax dollars and funding from fines for not removing… Graffiti!