The City of Kitchener has been growing at a steady rate since the formation of Regional government. Its growth has been outward with new subdivisions in the suburbs as well as upwards with tall apartment buildings.
There was a very strong apartment development in the 1970s when the baby boomer population was leaving home and wanting to live in a starter home usually an apartment building. Many apartments were built and some as high as 20 storeys at certain nodal points like around Fairview Park Mall as it was called then, the downtown and elsewhere throughout Kitchener.
We are now at a point in Kitchener’s growth into the 21st century of going even higher. City staff has prepared a manual entitled Design for Tall Buildings which was approved by City Council last month.
As a former city planner I can envision the direction Kitchener is taking in the next 25 to 50 to 100 years. Tall buildings that are erected today are built to last a very long time and will be standing well into the 22nd century. Note that we also have many buildings from the 19th century still standing.
With intensification we will be growing taller and denser. We won’t look like Toronto or New York but we’ll have buildings in the future as high as 40 storeys or more. These buildings will have to be located at nodal LRT stops to maximize transit travel in the region. In their design we need to look at buildings higher than nine storeys to be architecturally beautiful as well designed to address placement, relative height, separation, overlook, orientation, streetscape and landscape design amongst other things.
Yes, we’re planning tall buildings for the 21st century.