Economic Change and the Inner City Landscape: A Case Study of Hamilton, Ontario
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The urban landscape reflects the social, economic, and policy changes that have taken place in a community. The inner city has been previosly called a microcosm that indicates the changes that are occurring in society. The inner city can thus be studied to examine how it responds and adapts to economic change. This thesis asks in what ways are the historic and current economic transitions visible in Hamilton’s inner city landscape; and how do planning policies influence the emerging urban built form. The thesis examines select characteristics of the contemporary inner city derived from the literature (i.e. art and entertainment amenitites, recreational uses, residential revitalization, institutional uses, post-Fordist economy, decline in manufacturing activity, promotion of multi-modal transportation, sustainability policy, and statement place making) and their expected physical manifestations. The methods consist of a historical analysis and visual diagnosis that uses photographs and field notes in order to provide a bottom-up interpretation of downtown Hamilton’s changing urban landscape. There is evidence of arts-culture led rejuvenation of downtown Hamilton and the public realm. However, there is the challenge of promoting revitalization in a context of visual urban blight and the possibilities of policy-induced loss of employment lands.