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Sunday, 21 February 2010

Demo on a Grand Scale in Brantford

Image source: wiki
After a number of questionably successful downtown revitalization mega-projects, starting with the Civic Centre and ending with Portage Place, we've spent the last few decades happy to pick off old buildings one by one like loose teeth. Brantford is going back to the 1980's with a three block long demo along the south side of Coleborne Street in their downtown.

In a bid to clean up the downtown the city expropriated the properties and forty are barricaded and ready for demolition.


Their downtown's saviour ? It's not clear yet, public consultations
by the South Side of Coleborne Task Force are still to come. One possible project floated by Brampton's former Mayor, is a 100,000 square foot recreation facility in conjunction with The YMCA and Laurier University.
Image Source: wiki
Of course the debate that raged was what you would expect: demolition by neglect; heritage proponents waiting too late to get their act together; magaproject vs. boutique downtown.

I wish them the best with their revitalization. I hope they'll take some lessons from the hundreds of cities who have found that the megaproject, even a collection of them, don't necessarily clean up a downtown.

Christopher Hume, The Toronto Star's architecture critic, opens one of his columns on the topic this way:

Given its troubled relationship with the past, Brantford's faith in the future is touching.

Even after nearly destroying its downtown through a series of nasty self-inflicted wounds, the city still believes it can build itself up by tearing itself down.

I thought it sounded rather familiar !

Related:
In Brantford: Heritage treasures or hopeless hovels? Toronto Star
Plans for downtown redevelopment underway Brantford Expositor
All Buildings 'are going to come down': Scaffolding going up today Brantford Expositor
Memo to Brantford: Hamilton Heritage Demolition 101 - Raise the Hammer

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