Comment 89535

By jason (registered) | Posted June 13, 2013 at 21:14:16 in reply to Comment 89532

Completely agree.

Folks have a misconception about Portland that it's flashy with glass towers everywhere and like a mini-Vancouver. Sure, right downtown there are new glass walls all through the Pearl District, but the city is really known for it's transportation system and ability to revitalize not only the downtown, but inner city SE neighbourhoods with a high quality of life in the form of an always-expanding tree canopy, incredible cycling infrastructure, walkable streets, local commercial/retail permitted right in the neighbourhoods and not just certain areas that everyone needs to drive to. The old, inner city hoods are desirable, funky places to live and visit now. In most cities, you'd avoid these very same neighbourhoods. Take a Google Streetview tour along Division. Venerable Stumptown Coffee is a few blocks ahead from here. Nothing fancy or 'pretty' about this hood. But it's vibrant, successful, eclectic and it works. Note the food truck pod you'll pass on the left:

How about SE Belmont - home to the original Stumptown location. There's a great food co-op here, local businesses etc....

Again, nothing fancy. Or as my wife said last fall when we visited, "this is an ugly city". She was expecting some modern city based on it's reputation. My fascination with Portland is the very fact that it has working class roots and neighbourhoods and can teach Hamilton so much about how to make these hoods livable and fun again. Portland Does NOT restrict little restaurants from opening in the neighbourhoods like we see all the time in urban Hamilton.

Our neighbourhood supported a business owner who wanted to put an ice cream shop here:,...

Councillor McHattie supported as well. City planning staff said the ground floor must revert back to residential (apparently it was residential 7 decades ago).
It's small things like this that make a huge difference in urban neighbourhoods. Portland nails it. We suck at it.

I agree with your comment above about humanizing our urban neighbourhoods. The principle is no different than the great level of road service residents expect in the suburbs where virtually everyone drives. In some of our urban neighbourhoods more half of the residents don't even own a car. Yet look at the options we give them to travel by bus, foot or bike.
Cities the world over have proven that old, inner city neighbourhoods can revitalize off of quality of life, safe streets, livability and having all the necessary amenities at residents doorstep. Why is Queen Street so fantastic in Toronto? It repeats itself over and over - butcher, pharmacy, grocery, bank, cafes serving each neighbourhood in repeating fashion all the way down the street. Some areas aren't very 'pretty' either. But they are fun, livable and they work.

Hamilton's lower city hoods could become just as livable and desirable if we make the right investments and give it a chance.

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