HRM By Design

The future of Halifax is being decided by the present counsel & administration … what that future will be is still open for discussion. There’s still time to get involved in the process and have input where & when it counts. View other HRM By Design Links

I encourage you to visit the HRM – Regioal Planning

HRM by Design

Approved by HRM Regional Council on February 27, 2007.


Urban Design Vision Statement

The Urban Design Vision Statement provides a broad mission for the function, look and feel of the Regional Centre. It builds on the area’s inherent assets and potential strengths to set the overarching intent and objective for urban design. The Urban Design Vision Statement was prepared in the context of Forum 1 and was derived from workshop outcomes. It is an important direction setting tool that is the basis for all subsequent urban design initiatives.

• The Regional Centre is the symbolic, historic and functional heart of the Halifax Regional Municipality. It is distinguished by its rich past as is evident in: its historic architecture, traditional neighbourhoods and national landmarks; its natural features as shaped by its grand parks, harbour, lakes, waterways and rolling hills; and its regional importance as an economic hub, capital district, educational centre, health focus and cultural heart.

• The Regional Centre will build on its distinctions and assets to nurture an urban context that enhances quality of life, enriches urban living and becomes a global destination.

• The Regional Centre will assert and affirm a legible and ordered urban structure that will reinforce the best qualities and characteristics of its unique neighbourhoods and districts.

• The Regional Centre’s cultural vitality is rooted in its diverse population and accordingly it will strive to be an open, safe, affordable, accessible and welcoming place to people of all walks of life.

• The Regional Centre’s vibrancy, animation and economic health will be strengthened through the cultivation of a compact, civic inspired and human-scaled urban fabric of streets, blocks and buildings.


Guiding Principles

The Guiding Principles for Urban Design give direction to the broad cross-section of components that are the building blocks of the city and that work in concert to establish the function and the “look” and “feel” of the Regional Centre. The principles, prepared collaboratively by workshop participants, were a central focus and outcome of Forum One.

These principles will guide decision-making according to their respective themes. They reinforce the Vision Statement and are the ‘backbone” to the Campaigns for a Great City. Although these principles apply broadly across the Regional Centre, they can be further articulated and tailored to local area conditions and objectives when Neighbourhood or District Urban Design Guidelines are prepared.

1. Sustainable

• Design, plan and build with respect for economic, environmental, social and cultural sustainability.

• Create resilient communities that adapt to evolving opportunities and needs.

2. High Quality

• New development should be of high quality and compatible with other high quality developments.

• Promote high quality architecture and urban design that respects great heritage resources, including neighbourhoods.

3. Heritage and Culture

• Heritage resources, including heritage districts, buildings, landscapes and cultural heritage, should be recognized, used, protected and enhanced.

• Ensure lasting legacies (buildings, open spaces and streets) are maintained, and new ones are created.

4. Movement

• Integrate land use planning with transportation planning in such a way that
alternatives to driving become an easy choice. Transportation options should be efficient, pleasant and readily available.

• All streets should present an inviting barrier-free environment that considers the comfort, convenience, safety and visual interest of pedestrians.

• The Regional Centre, in all ways, should be conducive to, and supportive of, active transportation movement. It should provide people with choices that are viable alternatives to driving.

5. Complete Neighbourhoods

• Support safe, mixed-use and diverse neighbourhoods, including:
o Affordable housing and a variety of tenures;
o Residential, commercial, employment uses; and
o Visually and physically accessible amenity space, including schools and parks within walking distance.

• Ensure the necessary public services and amenities to support quality of life, cohesive communities and creative places.

6. Growth and Change

• Ensure that new developments respond to the natural, cultural, historical, and urban character of their context.

• Direct change and intensification to areas that will benefit from growth.

• Every new building should contribute to the betterment of the public realm.

• Design should support accessibility, active transportation and transit (i.e. streets, land uses, neighbourhoods, open spaces, circulation systems).

7. Process

• Foster a culture of support for the building/ construction of quality urban design.

• Recognize and reward design excellence.

• Involve neighbourhood communities in local planning matters.

• Maintain opportunities for public participation in the implementation of HRM by Design.

• Foster predictable outcomes that have been tested to be achievable and fair.

8. Connected

• Prominent views to prominent natural and built features should be recognized, protected and enhanced.

• Enhance safe and appealing connections within the Regional Centre including to and from the waterfront, open spaces and neighbourhoods.

Five Campaigns for a Great City

The urban design approach for bringing the Vision Statement to fruition is organized around five key “Campaigns for a Great City”. These Campaigns serve as the broad yet tangible objectives for shaping future growth in a manner and character that is desired for the Region Centre. These Campaigns are the themes that emerge from the Guiding Principles and became evident in the Urban Design Framework for the Regional Centre.

As the historic, cultural and economic heart of the Halifax Regional Municipality, the urban quality and character of the Regional Centre touches the lives of most residents and makes the greatest impression on the image of this “city” to visitors. Hence, in many ways, these Campaigns are not just about the Regional Centre, they are also relevant and meaningful to the entire urban area and the communities that comprise the Halifax Regional Municipality – a potential next Great City.

HRM by Design Links….


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