Reviving London, ON: The Role of the John Labatt Centre and Covent Garden Market
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Societal changes have changed the function and presence of downtowns over the years and a variety of strategies have been implemented in an effort to revitalize downtown cores. One of the most recent strategies employed has been using urban catalysts, such as stadiums and markets, to stimulate downtown revitalization. The primary purpose of this strategy is to create catalysts for further development and investment. This study examines the role the John Labatt Centre (JLC, a recent arena) and Covent Garden Market (a farmers market with a large range of permanent food retailing facilities) play in revitalizing Downtown London, Ontario. Within the last decade the City of London invested millions of dollars into rebuilding the Covent Garden Market and constructing the John Labatt Centre in the heart of London’s downtown. The purpose of this research is to determine whether these venues act as catalysts for new development, and thus assess their spin-off effects. Data was collected by reviewing planning legislation, administering a survey to local business owners and interviewing key stakeholders. Findings show that the impact of the JLC and Market is unevenly distributed. The results provide insight on differences based on business type, and geographical location. Planning implications derived from the London, Ontario case study show that continued commitment from the public and politicians is the most important factor in downtown revitalization. Implementing urban catalysts helps to anchor downtown districts, by providing a destination. However, this strategy needs to be applied in conjunction with innovative ideas, such as a Main Street program and incentive programs (façade improvements, waiving development charges on residential buildings) that instill confidence in the private sector.
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Meghan Bratt (2010). Reviving London, ON: The Role of the John Labatt Centre and Covent Garden Market. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/5311