Participants: Abbie Little (McMaster University); Christina Karney, Liam Brown, (McCallum Sather Architects/HBSA and McCallum Sather Architects, respectively); Elise Desjardins (McMaster University); Emma Cubitt (Invizij Architects); Karol Murillo, Phillip Caldwell (City of Hamilton Economic Development); Kim Graham (kg&a); Mary Lou Tanner (Niagara Planning Group); Melissa Bennett, Tor Lukasik-Foss (Art Gallery of Hamilton); Patrick Byrne (CityLAB); Sandy McIntosh (DPAI Architecture); Témo Cruz (Ellis Don); Violetta Nikolskaya (YWCA Hamilton); Andrew Sullivan, Eric Turcotte, Mary Castel, Josh Neubauer (Urban Strategies Inc.)

Discussion overview: The intention of the meeting was to bring together city-builders from diverse disciplines in Hamilton to help prioritize discussion topics for future Collaborative Sessions workshops. The discussion focused on the following issue statement and questions:

Hamilton is expected to grow from 537,000 people to 780,000 by 2041. What should the planning, design and development community be thinking about together to realize thoughtful growth, Hamilton-style?

• What are the priority topics?

• Who should take part?

• What should growth look like?

• What can we produce collectively that will enhance the city-building conversation?

Values and approaches: The group identified several values, approaches and meta-topics that should be applied to all future sessions:

• Integrate diverse voices into the conversation (e.g. not just “new” Hamilton, and perspectives beyond the established urbanist circles) and be ready to hear difficult things

• Break down silos and create new mechanisms for sharing city-building ideas • Apply lenses of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and gender-based analysis (GBA) • Help to set the ambition in the city for high-quality design and place-making • Acknowledge climate change and foster a culture of sustainability

• Be specific—the sessions should result in clear ideas or recommendations • Desire to catalyze good things, generate hope again after a rough year

Topics: Five priority themes emerged for future sessions:

MOBILITY AND LAND USE

• Ensure planners, designers and other city-builders have a part in the dialogue to promotetransit-supportive land uses

• Safe and accessible active transportation networks• Establishing mutual benefits for downtown, suburban, and rural areas

 

LIVABILITY

• How do we retain and promote Hamilton’s local identity and spirit (like the “Keep Portland Weird” sentiment)?

• Supporting the little things that add up to a great place – not just big visionary ideas but hyper local, incremental and accumulative interventions. “You can do anything in Hamilton” — really?

• How to lift obstacles in policy?

• Getting ahead of speculation to retain spaces for locally-led, human-scaled retail and residential projects

• Places for newcomers

 

SHAPING GROWTH

• Understand “who’s coming” to Hamilton to build/design for growth

• Stop “begging” for development and proactively consider “what should Hamilton look like?” especially in the context that most of Hamilton’s lots are relatively small

• Investing in the public realm

• Connecting new investments with Hamilton’s history without “museum-ification”. Hamilton is more than just steel, but steel is still here

• How can policy catch up?

 

PUBLIC REALM AND PLACEMAKING

• Designing spaces for everyone (leveraging public space, institutions, and private space)

• Infusing fun into the planning and design process

• Ensuring that public realm development creates opportunities to open urban conversations really wide (i.e. beyond echo chamber of “progressive urbanists”/newcomers/gentrifiers)

• How to lift obstacles in policy?

• What places in Hamilton are ripe for experimentation or interventions?

 

HOUSING

• Designing and building for inclusivity (e.g. flexible units for varying family

sizes, up- and downsizing, etc.)

• What would made-in Hamilton solutions look like?

• What are the policies, tools, models and typologies for affordable housing?

• The missing middle (build on HBSA charette)

 

Next Steps:

• Participants to indicate which topics they would like to continue to engage in, and any ideas on how to focus those topics further

• Participants to indicate other people who could engage in each topic

• Urban Strategies to schedule themed collaborative sessions, beginning in Ap