Alternative Designs – Make better choices!

The notion that Halifax has to build high rises to accommodate population is arguably a false “principle”. Its population was many times greater in the 1950s and 60s with very few apartment buildings higher than three stories. Government-led urban renewal planned the demolition of thousands of these buildings, shifted people to bedroom communities, and separated businesses and commerce to industrial parks. Today although there are many more buildings than before there is a drastic decline in household sizes and an increase in singles.

Luckily we can learn something about density from the neighbourhood of Schmidtville, a designated heritage conservation district. It has one of the city’s highest densities; equivalent to Barcelona or Paris, all within less than 6 blocks and no higher than 35 feet. Approximately 75% of the residents are renters and the median income is $25,439 providing both housing diversity and affordability within this existing, heritage community. Schmidtville show us that density can be achieved and be respectful of the buildings that are the real asset of the neighbourhood and city.