Seek Newsletter – Volume 004

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Many projects in the Halifax Regional Municipality are currently underway, some are just starting to be discussed, some are now coming to light and seeking public approval, others are approved but not yet evident on the ground. At least one went from its status as an approved project to simply becoming another empty site. Obviously there are also several projects under construction changing the skyline and streetscapes at this very moment.

There are also plans recently approved, Functional Plans on the horizon and studies underway. Not to mention, working groups (within City Hall), Task Forces and Commissions, Corporations, Boards and Citizen Interest Groups.

Plans, projects, studies and infrastructure investments (in the centre and the suburbs, both grandfathered and parentless) are largely isolated pursuits and frequently not seen as part of a complex interrelated whole.

The truth is that projects depend on each other. That each project and infrastructure investment affects everything else and all of us. Every project in every part of this region and every plan is an opportunity for innovation and creativity. Each project, every expectation has the potential to distinguish us, to build on what makes us special, to improve the quality of our community and thereby attract more residents, tourist and investment. We have to expect the best and demand creativity and quality.

The Planning & Design Centre is dedicated to three simple principles:
1. That access to information is of primary importance. To increase awareness and improve the quality of design information about projects and plans needs to be current, in one place and highly visible.
2. That an ongoing forum for public discussion and exhibitions is key to raising expectations, overcoming established polarized views, establishing a design culture and shaping our own future.
3. That developing high quality, sustainable infrastructure requires leadership, innovation and an advocate.
SEEK is the newsletter for the PDC. It is a small part of that first principle. This fourth issue is dedicated to current development in the central area. It’s hoped that even this limited picture might serve as the basis for more informed discussion. The next issue will expose the connection between the centre and the region by focusing on transportation.

We continue to be dedicated to the idea that planning and design need to be more visible. That development is not innately good or bad, but rather what we are able to make of it. That the future of this city cannot be contained or constrained by a plan, a project or any momentary setback. That the only limit is the reach of our collective imagination.

Click here to read SEEK 004.