Revitalization

Eyeballs: A West Harbour Stadium Means a Safer Downtown

By Nick Tomkin
Published July 30, 2010

A few years ago, the place where I work decided to resurface the west wall of the building we work in. After the wall had been completed, the whole streetscape had changed. It was brighter, cleaner and warmer.

While various business people in the community would comment on how much nicer it looked, I could never get over the thought that vandals would soon come and murder our tall, wide, mighty wall with tags and other forms of artless fizzes of paint.

4 years will have gone by this month and not one signia is to be found.

I started to wonder how this could be. Could a tagger really pass up this huge, untouched canvas so easily? Could they just walk past knowing they are passing up precious local fame in the splatterous signature community?

So far, the answer has been a resounding yes. Amidst a fury of tagging that has gone on in Hamilton, our brown wall of tagless integrity stands without so much as a "Donny wuz here".

But why?

It eventually came to me. The reason for this is incredibly simple: Eyes.

Within viewable distance of our building is a condo full of people, an art centre, shoppes, restaurants and meeting centres.

Businesses help regulate crime and any dreaded tagging during the day. The people who live in the condos continue this transparent protective barrier during the night.

More eyes. Less crime. Less crime? More people! A very simple concept, indeed.

Now imagine our future stadium being built at the West Harbour site, in the middle of a desperate area which begs for redevelopment. More eyes. Less crime. A resounding mutual benefit not just for the West Harbour community, but for the city as a whole. Remember that Hamilton has a rather sticky self-image.

The decision on where to place our stadium shouldn't be based on how well the stadium will do, but how well we all benefit from the stadium.

The aftermath of selecting the West Harbour and correctly building a people-friendly atmosphere will make the stadium manageable and exposed to the exponential positivity of the network effect that binds services and people together.

A West Harbour stadium means a safer downtown. More people means more eyes. It is really that simple.

This was first posted on Nick's personal website.

Nick Tomkin is a web developer who works and lives in Hamilton with his wife, a few cute pets and a robot or two.

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By red24 (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 17:07:53

Yep. This is a classic proposition advanced by Jane Jacobs and reinforced by a great deal of criminology research. It's a Goldilocks and the 3 Bears story - not too much foot traffic and not tool little foot traffic makes for safe streets.

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By the other option (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 11:05:37

The Setting Sail plan for the west harbour would accomplish the same benefits, likely even better results depending on the design of the stadium - walking past Copps Coliseum does nothing for eyes on the street security, and I have little faith that a new stadium would be helpful in this regard.
Setting Sail plan would have mixed use residential in a compact form here, and I think is preferable, the Cats can stay at Ivor Wynne as far as I care.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted August 01, 2010 at 12:40:13

Graf artists target what is ugly, and do it where they think they'll be able to get away with it. That's why drab concrete bridges are always hit, even if there isn't anyone living within miles.

Look at the MacNab St. tunnel @ Hunter. They got it re-painted with a nice new mural, and nobody's touched it. The average when they were just re-painting it grey was about an hour before it would be tagged again.

You can cover all manner of ugly urban surfaces with murals for free. Simply let the decent artists do it. Any city in Europe shows how beautiful this can become. Crack down on all "graffiti style" art (as the city and BIA do, threatening even businesses with legal, indoor, commissioned art like Sonic Unyon or the Intolerant gallery will only open up a vacuum to be filled with kids like Chillen.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2010 at 13:17:49

This is just like that other headline you guys had about the doctors saying that WH was the healthy choice.

You guys are really starting to look very stupid with how you are pushing your support over this. Is this all you have? What next?

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