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Downtown Kitchener Tall Building Urban Design Guideline.
#16
(06-11-2016, 04:04 PM)panamaniac Wrote:
(06-11-2016, 02:05 PM)BuildingScout Wrote: One thing Etherington left unsaid is that bad as King and Columbia are, they look better than 90% of Kitchener. I have visitors from out of town this week and while driving around several times they said, why is it so ugly around here? and every time it was when we had crossed from Waterloo to Kitchener. They were indifferent to the high rises in Northdale, while they actively disliked Kitchener. The "emperor has no clothes" argument here is that most of "heritage" Kitchener is actually rather mediocre and not worth the designation.

Second he makes it sound like the reason King and Columbia is bad is high rises, which is just an ignorant comment.t It is possible to have a very nice town full of sky rises just it is possible to have a horrible town full of detached single homes.

Dramatic statement for effect?  What has happened up in that particular part of Waterloo is pretty much universally recognized as ugly, not at the Regional but at the national level (although its not just a matter of height, as the newer mid-rise student apartment buildings are in many cases as bad as, if not worse than, the highrises.  Kitchener has nothing to compare (Drewlo's recent efforts notwithstanding), nor would it in the absence of a student ghetto.  This is why I found Etherington's comments inappropriate - they were completely pointless in the context of Kitchener, which will develop these guidelines to suit its own needs, which are different from those driving development in Northdale.   The risk of duplicating Waterloo's Northdale mistakes, when Waterloo has already recognized the problem and moved to start correcting it, seems remote to the point of near impossibility, imho.
Seriously? Better than 90% of Kitchener? Feel free to give some examples of areas that are worse or even as bad as most of the student housing in Waterloo. While your visitors may think the area is ugly it's also interesting to note that most visitors wouldn't even know when they've crossed from one city to the other. While you've been quick to disregard most of Kitchener's registered heritage buildings, the city does have a good stock of old buildings and homes and neighbourhoods, that are for the most part fairly attractive.

(06-11-2016, 04:16 PM)jordan2423 Wrote: To be honest. I think the skyline of Waterloo on university and around that area is very nice. It makes Waterloo look like the big city on the region while Kitchener doesn't come close. Even though Kitchener is twice the size of Waterloo in terms of population.

Our downtown is pretty bad right now tbh.
If you just look at the number of highrises in Northdale you might be fooled into thinking this, but get a little closer and you'll see the problem. No visitor from out of town is going to tour Northdale streets and think "Wow, Waterloo sure is a big city." It's just not going to happen. Also if you think our Downtown is bad then you most likely haven't been down there in a while.
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#17
I'd be at a loss to say how Kitchener's SFH are any more/less ugly than any other Canadian city's. The urban core won't win any beauty prizes, but it contains not many surprises if one knows local history. In any event, the guidelines are supposed to be about new highrise developments, not existing lowr-rise development.
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#18
(06-11-2016, 04:45 PM)Lens Wrote: Seriously? Better than 90% of Kitchener? Feel free to give some examples of areas that are worse or even as bad as most of the student housing in Waterloo.

1) Downtown Kitchener still boarded up and empty lots. 2) The innovation district which it still is mostly parking lots 3) Victoria Street. 4) Drive down Weber or Belmont and a few blocks past the border houses go down hill.

Quote: While your visitors may think the area is ugly it's also interesting to note that most visitors wouldn't even know when they've crossed from one city to the other.

Quite to the contrary, we welcome visitors all the time and it is a common comment when we tour them around the city. Housing goes down rapidly a few blocks past the border and it doesn't come close to anything in average Waterloo until you get to Victoria park or some of the neighbourhoods around Greenbrook Dr or Glasgow West.

I do agree that neither city is about to win awards for nicest views. My point is the whole area is a mess and focusing in King and Columbia seems odd, when your own downtown looks freshly bombed (Mayfair, empty lot across the street, the still dis-repaired fire down King, and the parking lot next to it, the falling apart Market square) or the innovation district is still a half project full of parking lots rather than a built up vibrant area (going in the right direction though).
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#19
(06-11-2016, 07:04 PM)BuildingScout Wrote: I do agree that neither city is about to win awards for nicest views. My point is the whole area is a mess and focusing in King and Columbia seems odd, when your own downtown looks freshly bombed (Mayfair, empty lot across the street, the still dis-repaired fire down King, and the parking lot next to it, the falling apart Market square) or the innovation district is still a half project full of parking lots rather than a built up vibrant area (going in the right direction though).

The fire-damage building is finally being rebuilt, albeit slowly.  A very small crew working at it so I expect it'll take most of the summer before they are done.  But it is getting rebuilt.

And while we have weak spots (you didn't make it past Cedar), "freshly bombed" is a bit exaggerated, I think.  King St N past Columbia isn't much better than Victoria St N, either.
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#20
If you're referring in this thread to the meeting last week, it is not a downtown urban design guidelines, it is a Kitchener-wide "Tall Building Urban Design Guideline." Perhaps this should be renamed if that's the so-far-very-clear focus.
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#21
(06-11-2016, 07:04 PM)BuildingScout Wrote: 3) Victoria Street. 4) Drive down Weber or Belmont and a few blocks past the border houses go down hill.

...Housing goes down rapidly a few blocks past the border and it doesn't come close to anything in average Waterloo until you get to Victoria park or some of the neighbourhoods around Greenbrook Dr or Glasgow West.

Hear, hear on Victoria Street. It’s a blight, I think fairly objectively.

I’m not so sure about the assertion that “Housing goes down rapidly a few blocks past the border…” I’m trying to think of neighbourhood streets like an Ellis, a Margaret or a Dunbar, and I am not sure the upkeep of the homes on one or the other side of the border is much different. I’m not so sure it’s true of Weber, either. Especially as, if driving, within a couple of minutes you’re at Kitchener’s beautiful brand-new underpass.

Etherington was talking specifically about the high rises in Northdale, which makes sense given his comments were in the context of developing a strategy to make sure future high rises are of a certain design standard. I’m not sure why his comment was viewed as fightin’ words or some kind of an indictment on Waterloo generally.
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#22
(06-13-2016, 11:41 AM)MidTowner Wrote:
(06-11-2016, 07:04 PM)BuildingScout Wrote: 3) Victoria Street. 4) Drive down Weber or Belmont and a few blocks past the border houses go down hill.

...Housing goes down rapidly a few blocks past the border and it doesn't come close to anything in average Waterloo until you get to Victoria park or some of the neighbourhoods around Greenbrook Dr or Glasgow West.

Hear, hear on Victoria Street. It’s a blight, I think fairly objectively.

I’m not so sure about the assertion that “Housing goes down rapidly a few blocks past the border…” I’m trying to think of neighbourhood streets like an Ellis, a Margaret or a Dunbar, and I am not sure the upkeep of the homes on one or the other side of the border is much different. I’m not so sure it’s true of Weber, either. Especially as, if driving, within a couple of minutes you’re at Kitchener’s beautiful brand-new underpass.

Etherington was talking specifically about the high rises in Northdale, which makes sense given his comments were in the context of developing a strategy to make sure future high rises are of a certain design standard. I’m not sure why his comment was viewed as fightin’ words or some kind of an indictment on Waterloo generally.


Nobody could interpret the comments that way, imo.  However, the comments and reactions have sent this thread off on a bit of a tangent. 

I agree with Viewfromthe42 about the title of the thread - the process underway is city-wide, not limited to the downtown core
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#23
(06-13-2016, 10:55 AM)Viewfromthe42 Wrote: If you're referring in this thread to the meeting last week, it is not a downtown urban design guidelines, it is a Kitchener-wide "Tall Building Urban Design Guideline." Perhaps this should be renamed if that's the so-far-very-clear focus.

Good point, thanks
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#24
http://www.therecord.com/opinion-story/6...s-skyline/

... You're welcome, KitchenerSmile
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#25
I'm a bit curious about the setback guidelines they're touting, wanting to push tall buildings back to create a more inviting pedestrian space. I'm pretty sure there's plenty of setback on King between University and Columbia that's part of the inhospitability, whereas I'm very confident that 1Vic will have a positive pedestrian experience, just as any active streetwall of no setback would. Something to consider commenting to them on.
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#26
(06-21-2016, 09:54 AM)Viewfromthe42 Wrote: I'm a bit curious about the setback guidelines they're touting, wanting to push tall buildings back to create a more inviting pedestrian space. I'm pretty sure there's plenty of setback on King between University and Columbia that's part of the inhospitability, whereas I'm very confident that 1Vic will have a positive pedestrian experience, just as any active streetwall of no setback would. Something to consider commenting to them on.

It will all be covered in the tall building guidelines, but there is no delivery date for the full guidelines. Setbacks are probably going to be most important in the Innovation district as the entire area is basically a blank slate and proper setbacks (on rear and side yards) are going to be important to ensure we don't end up with tall buildings too close together. With that said, it's really beneficial to have guidelines in place BEFORE all the tall buildings start to go up, and the guidelines will provide a set of known rules for everyone to play by which *should* reduce opposition to these developments when they come forward. The display panels sum it up nicely:

http://www.kitchener.ca/en/businessinkit...Panels.pdf

(Slide 2 is my favorite: "Fall 2014, Council Directs Development of Tall Building Guidelines" ... that's me and my Planner! lol)
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#27
https://www.kitchener.ca/en/businessinki...elines.asp

You can comment until August 17th.
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#28
I think this is a great idea. The buildings downtown Kitchener (constructed and proposed) are decent for a city its size. And it's a wise idea to attempt to maintain some sense of direction and aesthetic in a rapidly growing city. Waterloo has built a plethora of ugly student towers that will not age well. I'm glad he spoke out about that, because nobody really has.

Kitchener itself may be slow to grow and much of it is old and in need of investment, but it has a distinct atmosphere in its core with the manufacturing history and the evidence of that everywhere (in buildings, preserved mechanical works, sculptures) alongside the modernisation. Whereas Waterloo seems to have no real direction. It's just growing and building to accommodate students. IMO Kitchener will ultimately remain the a more distinct part of the region in the coming decades.
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#29
(08-06-2016, 02:02 PM)ac3r Wrote: Kitchener itself may be slow to grow and much of it is old and in need of investment, but it has a distinct atmosphere in its core with the manufacturing history and the evidence of that everywhere (in buildings, preserved mechanical works, sculptures) alongside the modernisation. Whereas Waterloo seems to have no real direction. It's just growing and building to accommodate students. IMO Kitchener will ultimately remain the a more distinct part of the region in the coming decades.

I don't know. Northdale is starting to come along really nicely, with various restaurants and eateries opening up. Plus it is surrounded by two universities, a college campus and the R&D lands on the North Campus and Phillip. Sure, ugly buildings along King st were not the best start, but it is not like plywood boarded up DTK is putting up that much of a competition either.

Bottom line, the region is growing and several places (Northdale, Uptown, DTK, DTC) look much better now than they used to look twenty years ago.
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#30
(08-06-2016, 02:24 PM)BuildingScout Wrote:
(08-06-2016, 02:02 PM)ac3r Wrote: Kitchener itself may be slow to grow and much of it is old and in need of investment, but it has a distinct atmosphere in its core with the manufacturing history and the evidence of that everywhere (in buildings, preserved mechanical works, sculptures) alongside the modernisation. Whereas Waterloo seems to have no real direction. It's just growing and building to accommodate students. IMO Kitchener will ultimately remain the a more distinct part of the region in the coming decades.

I don't know. Northdale is starting to come along really nicely, with various restaurants and eateries opening up. Plus it is surrounded by two universities, a college campus and the R&D lands on the North Campus and Phillip. Sure, ugly buildings along King st were not the best start, but it is not like plywood boarded up DTK is putting up that much of a competition either.

Bottom line, the region is growing and several places (Northdale, Uptown, DTK, DTC) look much better now than they used to look twenty years ago.

ac3r's point is that Kitchener has more of a clear direction, I don't think he's making a claim about the niceness of any particular area.

That said, I don't think UTW is much better than DTK in terms of boarded-up buildings (cough, cough, post office, cough cough).
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