Comment 6436

By rusty (registered) - website | Posted April 18, 2007 at 13:52:09

Jason,

As you know Corktown is in my neck of the woods. I love this area. It’s loaded with historic buildings and… ‘potential’ (there’s that word again…) However, if you walked around it today – as with many Hamilton neighbourhoods – you’d probably conclude that it’s run-down. The difference is that the neighbourhood appears to have hit a tipping point. The Don Lands Park is slated for completion this year (will probably be finished next year, it’s basically a few acres of mud right now), the East Don redevelopment competition, which pitted 4 design firms against each other to develop the land where the Don River meets Lake Ontario, has just wrapped up (the winning design was amazing) and the massive success of the nearby Distillery District, which is currently undergoing a ton of loft/in-fill development, are all contributing to the neighbourhood’s turnaround. And me moving in just down the road is obviously also a factor…

Also, as Ryan astutely points out, the area is already well serviced by streetcars as well as lots of local amenities. AND it’s just a mere 20 mins walk from the downtown!

Another great thing about the area is that I think it will be spared the usual over-the-top gentrification you get in these revitalized neighbourhoods. There is an assortment of affordable housing and coop blocks scattered around so it should develop into a nice mixed neighbourhood.

This area, and the factors contributing to its turnaround, could be seen as something of as a template for urban revitalization. I’ve summarized some of the turnaround factors below:

  • accessibility (streecars/walkable proximity to downtown amenities (shops, workplaces, etc), close proximity to major highways (2 mins from DVP and QEW))
  • mix of housing stock – good choice of affordable and different types of housing choices
  • park space – large scale development of green space and trails
  • safety/ambience/vibrancy/history/sense of place/community – awash with interesting architecture, lots of history, two-way streets throughout, minimal traffic throughput, easy to walk/bike around, increasing amount of local shops/pubs and foot traffic, an assortment of people places

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