Forward Moving Growth: Dartmouth as a Candidate for Transit Oriented Development
MetadataShow full item record
Urban sprawl is becoming an increasingly serious problem faced by the Halifax Regional Municipality. It is an unsustainable form of growth whose consequences include traffic congestion and the elimination of open space and local resources. In response to this issue, many scholars have argued the merit of Transit Oriented Development (TOD), which can be defined as any dense, mixed-use, walkable development within close proximity to a transit station. They are often built in urban areas as infill, and they attempt to increase transit use by reducing the need for the car. This study explores the potential for TOD implementation in the area within 800 meters of the Bridge Terminal in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. It begins by investigating the benefits and limitations of TOD in general, and includes a bus-based TOD case study in the comparable suburb of Westboro, Ontario. It then develops a ‘best practice’ framework to help define the scale and scope of development that is needed to increase transit use. The study area is divided into 6 land use categories for individual assessment: (1) Low-Density Residential, (2) Park and Institutional Zones, (3) Vacant Lots, (4) Land with Intensification Potential, (5) the Brightwood Golf and Country Club, and (6) Harbour-Oriented Industrial Zones. Finally, each land use category is assessed based on its ability to contribute to TOD, as outlined in the framework and comparable case study. To determine suitability of the area, the study identifies the challenges and opportunities with TOD implementation under each land use category. This study has determined that TOD potential is widely varied among land use categories. The land use category with the greatest short term potential was determined to be ‘Vacant Lots’. The most prominent challenges with TOD implementation among all categories include political resistance to development, and current policy restrictions. To mitigate these issues, this study recommends that HRM re-evaluate several restrictive regulations under the Dartmouth Land Use By-Law, including zoning and view plane requirements. Municipal support is vital to TOD success. To deal with community resistance, it recommends that each potential development be taken on a case-by-case basis, with consistent community engagement sessions sponsored throughout the process. While this study is location specific, its implications traverse the boundaries of its study area. The framework can be used, and the methods replicated, in order to assess other areas with potential for TOD implementation.