Background

durand neighbourhood mapThe Durand Neighbourhood is one of the oldest residential areas in the city of Hamilton. Over its long history, the neighbourhood has come to be defined by traditional streets and homes creating a unique urban area, despite the loss of significant residential housing stock through previous periods of development.

Currently, Hamilton is experiencing a renewed period of residential growth, and once again, the Durand neighbourhood is challenged with balancing new development and intensification within the established community. In response to this, the Durand Neighbourhood Association launched the Durand Neighbourhood Character Project. This Project explores an innovative, community driven, approach to defining and preserving neighbourhood character, inspired by an example from the City of Ottawa.  The goal of the project is for the City of Hamilton to adopt similar measures. This website provides information about this project.

What is Neighbourhood Character?

Neighbourhood character is difficult to define. In the context of the Durand Neighbourhood Character project, it refers to the look and feel of an area. A number of factors contribute to this, including streetscape elements, like the tree canopy, how a lot or property relates to others on the street, and actual features of buildings and homes, such as façade material or height. This project focuses on how to understand the character of streetscapes in order to help ensure that future development in Durand positively contributes to existing neighbourhood character. While there are various buildings of all shapes and sizes in any neighbourhood, the focus of this project is on low and medium-rise residential housing, which is six storeys or less in height.

How Can We Maintain Character?

pic3There are existing rules and guidelines in place that City officials use to evaluate new home construction or additions to an existing house in established neighbourhoods. These are set out in neighbourhood plans and zoning by-laws. Different cities use different rules to maintain character in mature neighbourhoods. For example, urban design guidelines or heritage conservation districts are used in many Ontario cities, including in Hamilton. The City of Ottawa introduced an innovative approach to establish rules to help maintain neighbourhood character that allows residents to better understand what defines the character of their neighbourhoods.

The Project

The Durand Neighbourhood Character Project began by investigating the Ottawa approach to preserving neighbourhood character and understanding how that might apply to Durand. Click here for more information.

Moving forward, the Durand Neighbourhood Character Project will engage citizens in describing the character of their neighbourhood. Specifically, Civicplan has developed tools to be used by residents to help gather information about the neighbourhood character. This includes a neighbourhood character auditing tool where residents record character elements that are present on a lot and street: what they see, not what they like or dislike. When the audit results are aggregated, overall characteristics of the neighbourhood will emerge revealing continuity in some cases, and diversity in others. The street audits will provide a clear view of the dominant characteristics of the existing streetscape.

Character Factors

As part of the Durand Neighbourhood Character Project, citizen auditors collect information about a number of factors in the neighbourhood. These factors were selected because they relate to one another to build a sense of the character of a street. Click the pictures below to learn more about some of the factors that will be looked at.

 

Citizen Survey

The goal of the Durand Neighbourhood Character Project is to develop a better understanding of those street and building factors that make up the look and feel of this unique community in the heart of Hamilton.  Part of this process is reaching out to Duranders and asking what they think.  With the Durand Neighbourhood Character Citizen Survey we asked for your input on what you think about factors that make your street and your neighbourhood unique. The results will help inform the outcomes of the project.

Contact

This website will be updated as the project moves forward in the coming months. For more information about the Durand Neighbourhood Association, click, here. For more information about the Durand Neighbourhood Character Project, contact info@durandcharacter.com