By Jason Leach
Published June 04, 2012
I was on King Street in Kitchener this weekend for the first time in years. The last time I was there it was bland and boring, like Hamilton's King Street is today.
No more. The New King Street in Kitchener is "designed to put pedestrians first" to help "transform our core into a vibrant, urban, modern, environment full of creative energy".
Streetscaping on King Street in Kitchener (Image Credit: IBI Group)
A 2011 article in World Landscape Architecture explains the transformation:
In 2007 the City of Kitchener, Ontario, retained IBI Group to develop a Streetscape Master Plan for the City Centre District: the core of Kitchener's historic downtown. The City recognized the need to revitalize the area, to transform the once neglected streets into a lively, liveable area that would renew the district's civic pride, awaken its creative energy and, most importantly, bring people and businesses back to the downtown core.
It's great to visit local cities that believe in themselves and their urban cores. You either want your downtown brought back to life, or you don't - period.
In Hamilton, dithering and ignoring every expert who comes to town is holding us back as other cities pass us by. King Street in Kitchener used to be a joke. Now it seems the joke is on us.