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South downtown revitalization in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada : a review and reconsideration



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The physical redevelopment of Canadian downtown cores has been seen as a primary issue in economically and socially revitalizing urban areas. In the case of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the City’s South Downtown area is in need of such rejuvenation. In 2004 redevelopment plans for the area are underway; Saskatoon has set out a proposal to redevelop both its riverfront area and adjacent South Downtown. In order to accomplish the goal of a revitalized South Downtown, the authors of a successful redevelopment proposal must first identify a suitable user population for the area, namely the population of Saskatoon in its entirety, including the City’s disadvantaged central neighbourhood residents. The purpose of this thesis is to define the socio-economic traits of this potential user population for Saskatoon’s South Downtown in order to recommend facilities and services that should be included in the redevelopment effort. Census data for the fifty-one census tracts that comprise the census metropolitan area of Saskatoon are used to define the social and economic characteristics of this user population. After reviewing the population’s socio-economic situations, as well as the social and business organizations that are currently located in the area, recommendations regarding appropriate, requisite facilities and services can be ascertained. These recommendations could then be implemented in the undertakings currently transpiring in Saskatoon’s South Downtown. Along with defining the socio-economic character of the user population, this study also examines past redevelopment proposals for Saskatoon’s South Downtown area in an attempt to understand the historical context of the area. The three main past plans for the South Downtown area include: The Meewasin Valley Project (also known as Moriyama’s 100 Year Plan), the Mayor’s Task Force Report, and Princeton Developments’ South Downtown Master Plan. All of these failed attempts share many common design traits, culminating in the general goal to develop the area into a commercial, residential and recreational area that would cater to the upper-class residents of the city as well as higher-income tourists and visitors to the area. While it must not be assumed that plans which exclude lower-income populations are inherently wrong and destined to be unsuccessful, by targeting such an exclusive population as the primary users of a South Downtown redevelopment, the authors of the previous plans had inadvertently sought to develop an elite district of Saskatoon, financially inaccessible to a vast majority of the city’s population. Defining the socio-economic traits of a user population that is comprised of all Saskatonians, and implementing facilities and services that cater to them, would result in an area that is not discriminating; all peoples regardless of life situation or neighbourhood of residence would be able to enjoy an interesting and revitalized South Downtown area of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.



Princeton Developments, Moriyama, socio-economic profiles, urban planning, redevelopment, Meewasin Valley Authority



Master of Arts (M.A.)






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