Older, Smaller, Better!

According to a study by Preservation Trust, blocks of older, smaller buildings such as this historic neighbourhood on the Halifax Common are proven to perform better than districts with larger, newer structures when tested against a range of economic, social and environmental outcome measures. Their three city study of San Francisco, Washington DC and Seattle findings are something we need to pay attention to:

  • Older, mixed-use neighbourhoods are more walkable.

  • Young people love old buildings.

  • Nightlife is most alive on streets with a diverse range of building ages.

  • Older business districts provide affordable, flexible space for entrepreneurs from all backgrounds.

  • The creative economy thrives in older, mixed-use neighbourhoods.

  • Older, smaller buildings provide space for a strong local economy.

  • Older commercial and mixed-use districts contain hidden density.

The Preservation Trust recommends that city’s such as Halifax work to realise the efficiencies of older buildings and blocks.

  • Fit new and old together at a human scale.

  • Support neighbourhood evolution, not revolution.

  • Steward the streetcar legacy. Make room for the new and local economy.

  • Make it easier to reuse small buildings.


Unfortunately Halifax’s understanding of the value of heritage is too narrow and ignores economic, social, cultural and environmental role of older buildings.