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Vanier Cultural Revitalization

Project Status: 

Culture in Action

Famously, the Paris neighbourhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés had been all but abandoned in the early twentieth century, when leading figures in the visual, literary and performing arts, took up residence, revolutionized their artforms and created the modernist movement that left its mark on the twentieth century. Today, the neighbourhood has become one of the world’s most prized locations. New York’s SoHo neighbourhood began a similar transformation about fifty years later, when artists began to move into the factories left abandoned by industry’s exodus to the suburbs.

Artists eventually became the centre of economic, cultural and social life in these neighbourhoods. Initially, municipalities adjusted regulations and created incentive programs aimed at attracting artists to neighbourhoods like these. Subsequently, several cities around the world developed programs aimed at improving the relationship between artists and other neighbourhood residents labourers, academics, civil servants, shopkeepers and homeowners.

Having worked to attract artists, these cities all went on to collaborate with arts and heritage organizations, as well as with the ethnocultural communities present in each arts or cultural district. The measured results, after a decade or two, included a revitalized economy, improved health, increased security and enhanced cultural vibrancy.

The City of Ottawa is beginning a process aiming at developing such a neighbourhood plan as a pilot project, for Quartier Vanier.

The steps indicated below are those employed by many Canadian municipalities. City of Ottawa staff are currently engaged in Phase One work focused on Vanier. Public engagement will begin in the Fall of 2019

Proposed Process

Phase one: Develop knowledge and undertake initial internal and external engagement (2017 to 2019)

  • Secure municipal approval to undertake this Vanier pilot project.
  • Convene a municipal working group for the project.
  • Research and report on best practices.
  • Cultural mapping - identify neighbourhood arts, heritage and cultural resources.
  • Undertake broad community engagement with residents and relevant stakeholders including arts, heritage, cultural, and ethnocultural organizations and businesses, other businesses, academic and community leaders.

Phase two: Develop a proposed Vanier cultural revitalization strategy (2019 to 2020)

  • Establish a working group composed of key municipal staff and Vanier residents who participated in the community engagement process to undertake next phase two steps.
  • Analyze Vanier cultural resource strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
  • Define a desired shared future - design an overall draft vision and proposed strategy.

Phase three: Consult Vanier residents and arts, heritage and cultural communities (2020)

  • Working group consults residents and community leaders on proposed strategy.

Phase four: Finalize strategy (2020)

  • Adjust proposed strategy based on consultation feedback

Phase five: Present strategy to Committee and Council (2021)

  • Present revitalization strategy to Committee and Council for deliberation (vision, roles, partnerships, goals, actions, monitoring and evaluation plan).