Planning Revitalization of the Fringe: A Case Study of Edmonton's Downtown East
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In cities across Canada, there are many examples of central areas within, adjacent to or just outside of downtowns that remain underdeveloped. There is great opportunity to redevelop these areas into vibrant, sustainable, dense neighbourhoods that can reduce the demand for greenfield development as our cities grow. There is a great deal of research on large sites that are completely void of development, and similarly on revitalizing areas that have a built up physical form. What is lacking in the research is information on how to approach the revitalization of areas that are physically underdeveloped, but are not a blank slate. As considerable physical redevelopment is necessary, this complicates the already complex process of revitalization as it is neither simply a major redevelopment project nor a community revitalization exercise. The purpose of this research is to begin to fill this gap in the literature through the study of one specific case: Edmonton’s Downtown East. Downtown East, located immediately east of downtown Edmonton in Alberta, represents a central area that is physically underdeveloped and in need of revitalization, with 40% of the land in the area laying vacant. This research seeks to determine what the most appropriate vision is for Downtown East. A qualitative, mixed-method approach was used to derive a vision for the Downtown East based on the history and context of the area. Findings of this research are structured around a detailed history and context of the area, including a review of significant redevelopment initiatives since the 1970s. From these findings, a discussion of the paths and barriers to revitalization in this area follows. Finally, recommendations are made for the Downtown East. A vision formed from the collective responses of key informants is put forward. Some strategic starting points for implementing this vision are then recommended based on the findings and discussion in earlier chapters. Recommendations are made for further research regarding the implementation of a vision, as this research revealed that one of the largest barriers to revitalization of the Downtown East was an effective approach to implementation of revitalization initiatives.
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Katrina Szekely (2009). Planning Revitalization of the Fringe: A Case Study of Edmonton's Downtown East. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/4330