Monday, 20 May 2013

Compare and Contrast: Lowertown East 1968 and 2013

In the 1960s the city of Ottawa, like many municipalities across the continent, engaged in a series of urban renewal projects to heal "blighted" urban spaces through expropriation and reconstruction. Three targeted neighbourhoods immediately come to mind: Little Italy, Lebreton Flats, and Lowertown East.

City planners performed a neighbourhood level survey of the city and identified approximately one dozen neighbourhoods requiring attention order to save them from the social ills of high rates of tenancy, mixed land uses, and 'obsolete' community buildings. Little Italy and Lowertown East were also targeted as potential locations of new high schools by the local collegiate board.

The following images (I apologise for the low resolutions) chart the progression of 'renewal' in Lowertown East, first from the contemporary (in 1968) landuses which follows the traditional urban grid, through to the proposed plan filled with curving roads and cul-de-sacs (not to mention a terrifyingly wide King Edward Avenue) to the hybrid that exists today.

"Current Land Use," Ottawa City Council Minutes, March 18, 1968 page 928. Held by City of Ottawa Archives

--> "Lower Town East" in Lower Town East Neighbourhood Study, inside cover. Published by the City of Ottawa in 1966. Held by City of Ottawa Archives.
"Proposed Land Use, 1968" Ottawa City Council Minutes, March 18, 1968 page 927. Held by City of Ottawa Archives.

Lowertown East today from Google Maps.