Do Heritage Conservation Districts Work? the Case of Kitchener's Upper Doon District
Kovacs, Jason F., Shipley, Robert, Snyder, Marcie, Canadian Journal of Urban Research
Many countries including Canada use the designation of heritage conservation districts as a tool to manage change in historic areas. Designation attempts to provide an orderly way of reviewing potential changes in an effort to ensure the maintenance of historic value. However, there has been some opposition to district designation in Canada, often based on myths and false premises. Those opposing designation view it as restricting property rights and undermining property values. However, research from across North America generally shows a correlation between designation and increased property values. The current study examined the Upper Doon district established in Kitchener, Ontario in 1988. Several questions were asked: has the district achieved its stated goals, how do residents feel about it and what has happened to property values. Results affirm that residents are knowledgeable about the functioning of their district and satisfied. Furthermore, the data show that all applications for changes were approved speedily, and that properties performed above average in the market.
Keywords: heritage, conservation district, property value, Ontario
Plusieurs pays, incluant le Canada, emploient la designation de district de conservation du patrimoine (DCP) comme outil d'amenagement pour gerer les changements au sein de secteurs historiques. Cependant, il y a eu quelque opposition a la designation de DCP au Canada, plus souvent qu'autrement base sur des mythes et de fausses premisses. Les opposants revendiquent que cette designation impose une limite aux droits eta la valeur de propriete. Neanmoins, les etudes en Amerique du Nord illustrent generalement une correlation entre la designation de district de conservation du patrimoine et une hausse accrue de la valeur de propriete. Notre etude se concentre sur le district Upper Doon de Kitchener, Ontario etablie en 1988. Nous avons adresse plusieurs questions: est-ce que les buts exposes ont ete realise dans le district, qu'elle est la perception des residants au sein du district et quelle ont ete les consequences sur la valeur de propriete. Les resultats demontrent que les residants sont satisfaits et bien informes du fonctionnement et des reglements concernant leur district. En outre, les donnees illustrent que toutes les demandes pour des changements ont ete approuvees rapidement et que la valeur des proprietes est au-dessus de la moyenne du marche.
Mots cles: heritage, district de conservation du patrimoine (DCP), valeur de propriete, Ontario
What is a Heritage Conservation District?
There is a long established practice in urban planning of identifying sites and structures of heritage significance (Machacek 2004). The body of practice is perhaps best viewed from the perspective of the World Heritage Convention (WHC) to which Canada and over a hundred other United Nations member states are signatories. The so called Venice Charter of 1964, one of the foundation documents of the WHC, accepted that the definition of a heritage structure applies: "not only to great works of art but also to more modest works of the past which have acquired cultural significance with the passing of time." It also says that this definition "embraces not only the single architectural work but also the urban or rural setting in which is found the evidence of a particular civilization" (ICOMOS).
Under the WHC, signatory states recognize the ongoing threat to sites of historic significance posed not only by natural decay but also from modern development pressures and they undertake to ensure "the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations of the cultural and natural heritage" (UNESCO 1972). Recognition of heritage sites, therefore, is intended as the first step in their conservation and their retention for the use of future citizens. As a Federal state, the legal expression of Canada's obligation under the WHC fell to the Provinces, and in the 1970s most jurisdictions in Canada adopted Heritage Acts designed to protect heritage sites. …