Group of 26 Strives for a Better Cogswell District and Halifax

October 24/18
Group of 26 Strives for a Better Cogswell District and Halifax

Twenty-six organizations are working together to facilitate discussions around the redevelopment of the Cogswell District to ensure that Halifax advances with the best overall urban design vision possible for the project, through a robust public design process. Fourteen of those organizations, plus Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), have hired and funded New York and Copenhagen based urban design firm, Gehl, to research, collaborate, and produce a Cogswell District recommendations report. The Gehl report, which will be completed by mid-November, will include strategies, best practices, and design recommendations, incorporating the public aspirations as well as the downtown plan and the seven district goals for the project. HRM has agreed to consider the resulting recommendations in the 90% plan.

“Beyond Gehl’s specific scope of work, we represent a variety of opinions and have concerns about how well the final design will achieve HRM Council’s seven goals for the District and how well it will interface with other plans, such as Halifax Transit Plan, Port of Halifax Master Plan, and HRM’s Integrated Mobility Plan,” said Bill MacAvoy, Managing Director with Cushman and Wakefield Atlantic. “We believe in the need to engage as a community in constructive discourse as part of a healthy public process to building a great city.”

“This invites a new model of collaboration with municipal government,” said Paul MacKinnon, Executive Director with Downtown Halifax Business Commission. “We believe this is a great example of how HRM and the broader community, including the private sector, which includes design, planning, and economic experts, can work collaboratively together towards the public vision.” 

Since these organizations came together last spring with a desire to develop the Cogswell District in the best manner possible, HRM has conducted a series of Council directed public engagements, and is collaborating with Gehl through a steering committee to enhance the project as it approaches 90% design and a Council decision.

The timing is crucial because the plan needs to integrate considerations from the public engagements regarding placemaking, transit, affordable housing, connectivity, building design, tourism, and city building. The group also endorses and strongly encourages further discussion on how to mitigate the effect of truck traffic on the livability and pedestrian enjoyment of downtown Halifax as part of the Port of Halifax’s future plans.

Representatives from Gehl will be presenters at the upcoming Art of City Building conference, October 28-29, 2018. Art of City Building is an annual conference designed to inspire conversations around people, design and placemaking. The conference is open and free to the public, but registration is required.

List of partners involved in the discussion, which is an open group inviting broad participation:

  • Atlantic Developments
  • Breakhouse Inc.
  • Building Owners and Managers Association
  • Cities and Environment Unit
  • Compass Commercial Realty
  • Cushman and Wakefield Atlantic                                                              
  • Dalhousie University School of Planning
  • Develop Nova Scotia      
  • Downtown Halifax Business Commission                                                                              
  • Ecology Action Centre                   
  • Ekistics 
  • Grafton Connor Group                                                                                  
  • Halifax Chamber of Commerce  
  • Halifax Cycling Coalition                                                                                
  • Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia
  • HRM Apartments
  • Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia
  • It’s More Than Buses                                                                                     
  • North End Business Association
  • Our HRM Alliance
  • Planning and Design Centre        
  • RAD Consulting
  • Spring Garden Area Business Association                                                                              
  • TEAL Architects + Planners                                                                          
  • Turner Drake and Partners Ltd.                 
  • Urban Development Institute

List of Gehl project funding partners:

  • Atlantic Developments
  • Building Owners and Managers Association
  • Cushman and Wakefield Atlantic
  • Dalhousie University School of Planning
  • Develop Nova Scotia
  • Downtown Halifax Business Commission
  • Grafton Connor Group
  • Halifax Regional Municipality
  • Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel
  • Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia
  • HRM Apartments
  • North End Business Association
  • RAD Consulting
  • Southwest Properties
  • Urban Development Institute