Halifax needs to build up – not out

by Andrew Murray on June 27, 2011

Downtown Halifax at a stand still?

When we take a look at the major cities in Canada and the United States, we see a growing trend – increased urbanization similar to one hundred years ago, an increasingly young professional working class, a gentrification of older structures in the downtown cores of major cities. New York and Toronto, the largest of each country’s respective cities, has seen this change in demographic the most. Both cities have an immeasurable amount of history, but manage to retain their distinctive identities despite increased urbanization and urban development. However, Halifax is in an awkward spot – at the moment we are on the cusp of being a major city, while still retaining many of the qualities of a large town. The downtown core is stale and not moving readily, and the city continues with its outward expansion.

Height Restrictions

City council insists that no buildings block the view of Citadel Hill – a seemingly reasonable request – yet manages to block or stall any major development proposal that comes its way. Most recently, this stall tactic involves the newly proposed World Trade and Convention Centre off Argyle Street. What I advocate is for city council to continue to build up. I am pushing for this because there are benefits for the city at large and for its residents. Building up increases tax revenue far greater for a city like ours, without occupying as much space as an entire subdivision. As well, with continued growth in the form of condos and office buildings, Halifax will be attracting more young professionals, more money and more immigration. This will allow our great city to mature and develop like many of the other major urban centres across North America. The future of Halifax is not to continue to expand into the Hinterland, but to rise to the challenge and build up!

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