Monday, May 7, 2007

Northend of Halifax: Uniacke Squre and the New Halifax

The north-end of Halifax: How is new development changing the city and what does it mean? Like many major Canadian cities, the landscape of Halifax is changing - rising land values and the trend towards condo-living is changing the Halifax landscape. A lack of opportunity in international real estates markets have landed international investors to Halifax. The best example of this is the newly painted Brunswick Towers - now call Ocean Towers .

Over the last couple of months The Coast has written two articles about Halifax's northend. I found both of these articles interesting and educational. First, before talking about the new Halifax, I wanted to share with you this article about the old - or at least the not to so new.

The first is an article by King's College's own Stephen Kimber: "Inside the square" . This article give a short history of the Uniacke Square housing project and aims to present the views of residences. I must admit, I think about the issues surrounding housing development more often then most economists; perhaps because I walk by Uniacke Square each day on my way to work and again on the way home. For anyone that is, or wants to be, a policymaker - or who is a past, present or even future Haligonian - this article provides a difference perspective. A community lives in Uniacke Square.

Take two: New Construction and Middle Class Push ... Lis van Berkel points to 'gentrification' in "Where goes the neighbourhood?" . As referred to in the above article, the new building in the north-end of Halifax is generating a push: tear it down and build a new one: each construction replaces an older one and, over time, will remove affordable housing from the city's core - unless policy steps-in! Although so-called 'gentrification' does price people out a given market, it is not all bad: rising housing prices generate wealth for home owners; new construction changes the stock of housing to meet the needs of todays consumers; construction creates jobs; higher prices generate higher property tax for the city to provide services. I think the answer is in mixed development - the problem is that when we build low-income housing some people win (those who live downtown at a below market price) and some people will loose (via lower land values or otherwise). Mixed development needed; politicians with a backbone wanted.

Give me your thought.


M-Fax said...

pretty interesting, I tend to forget all about the north end

Francis Wooby said...

There's a big difference between providing affordable housing, and segregating a certain segment of a city's population out of ethnic or socioeconomic prejudices. There is also a difference between "gentrification" and mercilessly forcing out long-time, poorer residents of a neighborhood because the land is suddenly desirable for wealthy people.

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