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  #2361  
Old Posted Oct 20, 2021, 4:36 PM
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Suburban:



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  #2362  
Old Posted Oct 20, 2021, 5:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonovision View Post
While I agree they might both be located within the urban boundaries of Halifax and Dartmouth. The very nature of a mall like MMM and HSC are suburban. This type of development of completely interior shopping malls that turn inward and ignore their context and are surrounded by seas of surface parking lots are by definition suburban.
I agree with your assessment of what makes an area suburban but I think this only partially applies to HSC. The Mumford bus terminal is there, and then there are sidewalks that lead to a front entrance with structured parking in front rather than surface parking. Then there are a few standalone commercial buildings across the street.

It is reminiscent of Metrotown or Yorkdale which I'd call "semi-suburban", while Mic Mac has a 70's suburban style more like Clayton Park (exact same style of lowrise apartments).

I wonder if the owner would ever build a pedestrian-oriented mixed use building on that long/narrow lot fronting Mumford Road. They could build 1 more modest parkade and then have 1-2 new development sites without any loss of parking. Just a couple of changes could transform HSC.
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  #2363  
Old Posted Oct 20, 2021, 5:24 PM
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There is a Moncton corollary to this discussion.

CF Champlain Place is a typical suburban mall, inward facing and surrounded by oceans of surface parking, but it is located immediately adjacent to the heart of downtown Dieppe, and there is a large 10 storey apartment building just across the street. There is a bus terminal there, and people walk to the mall all the time from surrounding neighbourhoods.

Is the mall urban or suburban?

Despite it's location, the character and the style of the mall is very suburban, and, when it was built, the surrounding urban structure did not exist in the same way that it does now. The mall is transitional, very much in the same way as Mic Mac Mall might be considered, but, as far as I'm concerned, I still think of CF Champlain as a suburban mall.

Maybe in 20-25 years, as more apartment buildings get built nearby, and the character of the mall itself changes to a more mixed use structure, my opinion may change, but for the time being it is still a suburban mall........
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  #2364  
Old Posted Oct 20, 2021, 6:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Half-Axed View Post
Similarly, on the "my way or the highway" question, that also works both ways. There is enough stridently anti-urbanist, anti-bike, anti-"progressive" rhetoric here, without an inch of give, to fill an oil executive's manifesto.
Doing God's work...

Seriously though, there needs to be a balance of opinions here given that the place seems generally skewed to the POV you outlined. It has been my experience that "progressives" are inordinately sensitive to any criticism of their positions since they believe theirs is the only one true way and therefore not subject to any dissenting views. I do not share that opinion.
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  #2365  
Old Posted Oct 20, 2021, 6:26 PM
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Doing God's work...

Seriously though, there needs to be a balance of opinions here given that the place seems generally skewed to the POV you outlined. It has been my experience that "progressives" are inordinately sensitive to any criticism of their positions since they believe theirs is the only one true way and therefore not subject to any dissenting views. I do not share that opinion.
And someone else is saying exactly the same thing about traditionalists as we speak. Ya’ll LOSIN’. YOUR. MINDS! over a stripe down the side of the road that’s supposed to separate cars from bikes.

(I have ridden a rear wheel over those #@#&! bumpouts on Vernon St. too many times to disagree with you completely though.)
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  #2366  
Old Posted Oct 20, 2021, 6:32 PM
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I agree with your assessment of what makes an area suburban but I think this only partially applies to HSC. The Mumford bus terminal is there, and then there are sidewalks that lead to a front entrance with structured parking in front rather than surface parking. Then there are a few standalone commercial buildings across the street.

It is reminiscent of Metrotown or Yorkdale which I'd call "semi-suburban", while Mic Mac has a 70's suburban style more like Clayton Park (exact same style of lowrise apartments).

I wonder if the owner would ever build a pedestrian-oriented mixed use building on that long/narrow lot fronting Mumford Road. They could build 1 more modest parkade and then have 1-2 new development sites without any loss of parking. Just a couple of changes could transform HSC.
I’ve thought that if they hadn’t built the little strip with /Tim’s and Moore’s they could have located the bus terminal more over there. They could have used the area the bus terminal occupies to build some parking with a shopping level on top connected by pedway to the HSC parkade (which could also have a retail level), therefore bridging Mumford and starting to make the whole complex more coherent.

Maybe the distances and elevations don’t make sense though.
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  #2367  
Old Posted Oct 20, 2021, 8:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Half-Axed View Post
I’ve thought that if they hadn’t built the little strip with /Tim’s and Moore’s they could have located the bus terminal more over there. They could have used the area the bus terminal occupies to build some parking with a shopping level on top connected by pedway to the HSC parkade (which could also have a retail level), therefore bridging Mumford and starting to make the whole complex more coherent.
In some places the bus terminals are integrated into the building complexes. You can see this at Metrotown or New Westminster in metro Vancouver or even older examples like Davisville in Toronto. This is going to get a lot easier once buses convert to electric and the need to handle the diesel exhaust is gone.

It seems like a lost opportunity that nothing like this appears to have been contemplated around Cogswell. Not sure if it was ever considered for Mumford.

The pedestrian overpasses etc. usually seem to turn out badly in large complexes. One big problem is that climbing stairs is relatively demanding compared to walking. I think the overpasses are often created in service to moving more car traffic, not helping pedestrians.
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  #2368  
Old Posted Oct 20, 2021, 8:49 PM
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In some places the bus terminals are integrated into the building complexes. You can see this at Metrotown or New Westminster in metro Vancouver or even older examples like Davisville in Toronto. This is going to get a lot easier once buses convert to electric and the need to handle the diesel exhaust is gone.

It seems like a lost opportunity that nothing like this appears to have been contemplated around Cogswell. Not sure if it was ever considered for Mumford.

The pedestrian overpasses etc. usually seem to turn out badly in large complexes. One big problem is that climbing stairs is relatively demanding compared to walking. I think the overpasses are often created in service to moving more car traffic, not helping pedestrians.
Oh of course the bus terminal could have been incorporated. I didn't think of that.

Pedways with moving treads like they have at airports could work!
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  #2369  
Old Posted Oct 20, 2021, 10:01 PM
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Oh of course the bus terminal could have been incorporated. I didn't think of that.
In the long run I think Halifax could also get a lot out of selective construction of bus tunnels. For example a 1.5 km "U" shape under downtown, or maybe some short stretches near terminals or to get around some bottlenecks.

A lot of the cost of subways is in the construction of stations, so this cost can be mitigated by having the buses come above ground to stop. Though I don't think downtown stations are out of the question either. I think Edmonton built some for LRT when it was a similar size to what Halifax is now.

Imagine how much nicer Spring Garden Road or Barrington would be with no buses at the surface level. And there could be subway style stops at the Grand Parade and library. With Cogswell there is an opportunity for tunnel construction during the reconstruction, and integration into a transit mall or mixed use complex. Though I think that ship has probably sailed.
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  #2370  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2021, 4:32 AM
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I apologize, it was over the top.
All good. I think we all have a tendency to occasionally say things in a heated conversation that we later regret. I have been guilty of it in the past, for sure.

Besides, I probably should not have interjected as the comment wasn't directed at me. I was just a little taken aback by the tone, as ns_kid had just entered the conversation to express an a opinion (which happened to be related to something I posted). So I suppose I felt I had a stake in it to a point.

Hopefully we all can try to elevate the level of conversation in the future. FWIW, this is yet another conversation I wish I had just not participated in.
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  #2371  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2021, 4:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Jonovision View Post
Thought I'd chime in just for fun.

While I agree they might both be located within the urban boundaries of Halifax and Dartmouth. The very nature of a mall like MMM and HSC are suburban. This type of development of completely interior shopping malls that turn inward and ignore their context and are surrounded by seas of surface parking lots are by definition suburban. They were developed in the 50s and 60s during the hollowing out of downtowns. Suburban culture is about driving and space for cars over space for people and both of these malls do exactly that. Yes, many can easily walk to them or even take transit from where they live within the urban boundaries. But the fact that to reach the shops a pedestrian must cross hostile car dominated landscapes makes these malls suburban in nature.

To sum up:
Development sits within boundaries of urban areas.
Development pattern is entirely suburban.
So everyone is right?
Perhaps the most reasonable post in the entire conversation. Well said.
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  #2372  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2021, 5:01 AM
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Thanks for the warm welcome. Yes I'm a long time lurker and yes I find this aspect of this forum very off-putting.
You're welcome. I also find this aspect of the forum very off-putting, but haven't been on a forum yet that doesn't contain some sort of personality clash every now and then. My opinion is that clashes are somewhat mild here, but your mileage may vary. Hop on over to the "Canada" section and you will find much more "enthusiastic" commenting. IMHO, all the mods, and notably someone123, do a good job of moderating the Halifax section of SSP, even though some drama and strong opinions still find their way here now and again.

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I agree the urban / suburban thing is somewhat subjective - there's a grey area for sure. But I really don't think a subdivision style residential-only area with a big mall in the middle is in that grey area.
I think Jono summed it up pretty well. IMHO no need to discuss further.


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I saw that happen on two sides and perhaps not in the same order you did. I thought the insults were responding to a rather snide and demeaning tone, not to a refusal to conform. Also subjective, apparently.
Interpretation of the intent and the emotion behind the written word is perhaps the most difficult part of navigating a messageboard such as this. So, yeah, subjective when it comes to opinion, perceived intent, and emotion. For example, I could have interpreted your comment as being a little sarcastic, but I'm sure it's not intended that way.

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Originally Posted by Half-Axed View Post
Similarly, on the "my way or the highway" question, that also works both ways. There is enough stridently anti-urbanist, anti-bike, anti-"progressive" rhetoric here, without an inch of give, to fill an oil executive's manifesto.
Sure, there are many opinions and, unfortunately, sides taken based on these opinions. It can make for healthy conversation, and too often... drama, once we allow our emotions to lead the way. No different than any other forum in existence on the internet.

But, I would have to opine that the opposite of the rhetoric which you described is alive and healthy on this board, and I would say the vast majority of posters on this board lean in that direction. Some posters are more 'vocal' than others, but after reading some of the recent posts in the QEII thread, I know that you have been studying this during your lurking days.

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Anyway, I thought the mod had created a separate "development issues" thread to try to sandbox this stuff. What happened to that?
Welcome to the world of tangents. You will find a nice selection here, and new ones often arrive without notice.

Last edited by OldDartmouthMark; Oct 23, 2021 at 1:53 PM.
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  #2373  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2021, 5:05 AM
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It's definitely subjective. For my 2 cents Mic Mac mall is within the centre plan area which encompasses only about 25% of Halifax's population. If you want to say it's suburban then basically everything off the peninsula is surburban. I disagree but I see the point. It's also got the apartment towers on Horizon court right next to it (17 storeys I think) and another 15 storey building under construction by Armour along with the 10+ storey condo towers on Banook by the mall and various other apartments of various heights in the vicinity which doesn't seem particularly suburban to me but can agree to disagree.

Its maybe in the grey zone for now or can say its transitioning, I think in 5-10 years there will be another few apartments up and will be no doubt it's not suburban.
Yup, with the amount of highrise developments happening in that area, it shouldn't seem to be too much of a stretch to consider it to be urban, both based on location and density. IMHO.

There is the slippery slope of areas like Larry Uteck or west Bedford, where the location and surroundings would likely be considered suburban, even though there's a dungpile of apartment/condo buildings clustered together. It think that's been covered here, though.
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  #2374  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2021, 2:54 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
Yup, with the amount of highrise developments happening in that area, it shouldn't seem to be too much of a stretch to consider it to be urban, both based on location and density. IMHO.

There is the slippery slope of areas like Larry Uteck or west Bedford, where the location and surroundings would likely be considered suburban, even though there's a dungpile of apartment/condo buildings clustered together. It think that's been covered here, though.
One interesting element of those newer developments is that they are getting a bit better at sprinkling more commercial in with the residential. They are still too focused (IMO) on apartments blocks versus business parks, but they seem to be be blending them a bit better than, say, the older suburbs of Clayton Park where you pretty much have to drive to even find a corner store.

The Motherhouse development looked like it was going to do even better at that. I’m not sure what is happening with that development though.
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  #2375  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2021, 3:21 PM
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One interesting element of those newer developments is that they are getting a bit better at sprinkling more commercial in with the residential. They are still too focused (IMO) on apartments blocks versus business parks, but they seem to be be blending them a bit better than, say, the older suburbs of Clayton Park where you pretty much have to drive to even find a corner store.

The Motherhouse development looked like it was going to do even better at that. I’m not sure what is happening with that development though.
That's an interesting observation. It seems as though the trend is to return to the concept of the days when people didn't rely on a car as a central part of their lifestyle, as if it's coming full circle (though obviously not exactly).

Neighbourhoods were more self-contained and most tended to have amenities available within walking distance (or perhaps horse and cart in some cases). For example, my maternal grandparents lived in downtown Dartmouth (their house was torn down to build Queen Square), and for to the best of my knowledge they never owned a car. However, most everything they needed was available in nearby stores, with lower Portland Street having the most business density in the area. My grandfather did commute, however, via ferry to his job at the Moirs factory on Argyle St. in Halifax.

It seems that once cars (and car-centred infrastructure) became the norm, it both opened up a new world of freedom in the form of places that people could easily visit that would have been a more arduous journey in the past, but this resulted in a cause/effect situation whereby new business models (i.e. malls) centred around car use started to draw customers away from their traditional local businesses, and thus where we are today with the pendulum possibly on the return swing...
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  #2376  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2021, 3:37 PM
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Yes exactly! Walkability is so key to community vitality, and it is a big influence on population health too. Studies have demonstrated that the further you are from an “urban” (sorry for that word again! LOL) core (which could mean a community hub like you described, not just a downtown) and therefore the more likely you are to rely on a vehicle, the less healthy you are (at an average population level of course - individual results will vary.)

Where I live, the nearest convenience store is about 1.5 km. Perfectly walkable distance of course, but the walk is along a highway mostly lined with a very tall concrete wall. Absolutely nothing of interest to draw anyone down the road on foot. So, I usually just hop in the car and go to a business park instead, which I also hate but there is something to be said for one-stop shopping. I’d love to be in an area like the hydrostone where you have butcher, baker, general grocery store, etc. all pretty close and mostly not entirely depressing to walk through (I do wish the strip malls with the grocery store, etc. were at the sidewalk with parking in back though.)


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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
That's an interesting observation. It seems as though the trend is to return to the concept of the days when people didn't rely on a car as a central part of their lifestyle, as if it's coming full circle (though obviously not exactly).

Neighbourhoods were more self-contained and most tended to have amenities available within walking distance (or perhaps horse and cart in some cases). For example, my maternal grandparents lived in downtown Dartmouth (their house was torn down to build Queen Square), and for to the best of my knowledge they never owned a car. However, most everything they needed was available in nearby stores, with lower Portland Street having the most business density in the area. My grandfather did commute, however, via ferry to his job at the Moirs factory on Argyle St. in Halifax.

It seems that once cars (and car-centred infrastructure) became the norm, it both opened up a new world of freedom in the form of places that people could easily visit that would have been a more arduous journey in the past, but this resulted in a cause/effect situation whereby new business models (i.e. malls) centred around car use started to draw customers away from their traditional local businesses, and thus where we are today with the pendulum possibly on the return swing...

Last edited by Half-Axed; Oct 21, 2021 at 4:12 PM.
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  #2377  
Old Posted Oct 22, 2021, 5:45 PM
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Yes exactly! Walkability is so key to community vitality, and it is a big influence on population health too. Studies have demonstrated that the further you are from an “urban” (sorry for that word again! LOL) core (which could mean a community hub like you described, not just a downtown) and therefore the more likely you are to rely on a vehicle, the less healthy you are (at an average population level of course - individual results will vary.)

Where I live, the nearest convenience store is about 1.5 km. Perfectly walkable distance of course, but the walk is along a highway mostly lined with a very tall concrete wall. Absolutely nothing of interest to draw anyone down the road on foot. So, I usually just hop in the car and go to a business park instead, which I also hate but there is something to be said for one-stop shopping. I’d love to be in an area like the hydrostone where you have butcher, baker, general grocery store, etc. all pretty close and mostly not entirely depressing to walk through (I do wish the strip malls with the grocery store, etc. were at the sidewalk with parking in back though.)
All good points, and par for the course in modern planning philosophy. I like a mix of both as there are times when using a car (gasp!) is best for carrying a larger number of items, like a week's worth of groceries, or when time is of the essence (like I don't have a half an hour/45 min to walk to the store and back). It's a wealth of choice that most of us have that wouldn't have been all that common in my grandparent's time, so I'm sure they just planned their store trips more carefully, or perhaps sent their kids to do it... something that seems almost unthinkable today but was quite common 50+ years ago.

I personally don't really mind car-centred infrastructure as it does have its benefits. I think that makes me somewhat of an outlier here, but that's OK. I do also like making things more walkable, but I don't think the two have to be mutually exclusive. I'm sure it's more challenging for planners, but there are solutions out there waiting to be discovered. There has to be something better than the curb bump-outs that they seem to be stuck on now.

Last edited by OldDartmouthMark; Oct 23, 2021 at 1:52 PM.
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  #2378  
Old Posted Oct 22, 2021, 5:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Half-Axed View Post
Yes exactly! Walkability is so key to community vitality, and it is a big influence on population health too. Studies have demonstrated that the further you are from an “urban” (sorry for that word again! LOL) core (which could mean a community hub like you described, not just a downtown) and therefore the more likely you are to rely on a vehicle, the less healthy you are (at an average population level of course - individual results will vary.)
I live in an urban setting in a walkable (though not particularly beautiful) area with rapid transit. I notice that when I go out to bucolic areas on weekend trips it's usually less walkable even though in theory there's open country everywhere. Usually there are lots of parks and trails but you have to drive to them. There are no sidewalks and the main roads are usually not very pedestrian friendly. Connectivity is poor and distances are large. I will get more "spontaneous" exercise (not counting say a planned hike somewhere) visiting an urban area than a rural one.

It's a tangent that might sound stupid but around here there's the hazard of wildlife too. There are people with big properties with giant yards and their kids can't go out unsupervised because of the bears and cougars. Something I never thought of in NS (at least around central/western NS, maybe it's different elsewhere). It's one aspect of small town BC life that's less than ideal. Of course we had the "summer of the coyote" here with coyotes biting people in Stanley Park too. That is more of a weird event but there are places where the wildlife is a real concern.
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  #2379  
Old Posted Oct 22, 2021, 6:31 PM
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I live in an urban setting in a walkable (though not particularly beautiful) area with rapid transit. I notice that when I go out to bucolic areas on weekend trips it's usually less walkable even though in theory there's open country everywhere. Usually there are lots of parks and trails but you have to drive to them. There are no sidewalks and the main roads are usually not very pedestrian friendly. Connectivity is poor and distances are large. I will get more "spontaneous" exercise (not counting say a planned hike somewhere) visiting an urban area than a rural one.

It's a tangent that might sound stupid but around here there's the hazard of wildlife too. There are people with big properties with giant yards and their kids can't go out unsupervised because of the bears and cougars. Something I never thought of in NS (at least around central/western NS, maybe it's different elsewhere). It's one aspect of small town BC life that's less than ideal. Of course we had the "summer of the coyote" here with coyotes biting people in Stanley Park too. That is more of a weird event but there are places where the wildlife is a real concern.
I like to think the coyotes got used to having the place themselves last summer because of COVID, and this summer they were like “hey! Whattchoo doin back here?? Out! Out!!!”

I’m glad we don’t have cougars or brown bears here.
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