Ottawa's Maturing Neighbourhoods
FROM CRITERIA TO REGULATION
By changing development regulations we can effect development patterns, leaving behind patterns that are eroding our neighbourhoods and are not environmentally responsible, and allowing patterns that meet our needs and aspirations.
Zoning and other planning regulations were set in place decades ago and have been revised and updated since. But over that period of time the economics of development and our family demographics had changed so radically that the fundamental mechanisms of these regulatory systems do not function as intended.
The simplest example of this is the zoning envelope, which establishes the volume within which built forms are permitted. When this tool was instituted within our zoning bylaws it was effective in preventing a developer or home builder from placing a house too far in any one direction. Today a zoning envelope is used to establish the building envelope – a situation not originally contemplated, and often disastrous to streets and neighbourhood character. In proposing zoning regulations targeted at meeting criteria for healthier neighbourhoods we must address these systemic problems within the format and scope of our existing bylaws.
From CRITERIA to REGULATION:
“In plain fact, our land use patterns were, and still remain, precariously out of sync with our most profound economic, social and environmental needs."
Peter Calthrope, Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change.
Conventional planning regulations generally understand and regulate cities from an areal view point... a flat mapped world view.
But a pedestrian views the buildings on a street at an angle, with diminishing perspective. And not as a fixed scene, but moving at a walking pace. Many character defining elements of a street can only be understood from the pedestrian's perspective. Zoning must be crafted from a pedestrian view of the world, in order to build neighbourhoods that are meaningful and delightful for pedestrians.
Existing regulatory systems generate the patterns of development that are being built now. They must be modified to generate patterns that make our maturing neighbourhoods more:
Diverse (both in income and household demographics)
Affordable (individually & collectively)
The application of these five goals must be location specific and based on existing neighbourhood context.