The Spread of Commuter Development in the Eastern Shore Zone of Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1920-1988

By Millward, Hugh | Urban History Review, October 2000 | Go to article overview

The Spread of Commuter Development in the Eastern Shore Zone of Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1920-1988


Millward, Hugh, Urban History Review


Abstract

This study uses evidence from archival and recent topographic maps to plot developing patterns of commuter-induced residential construction in the Eastern Shore sector of the Halifax commuter zone. Building counts were made from 1:50,000 topographic maps surveyed in 1917-20 (pre-commuter situation), 1960-7 (early commuter), and 1988 (mature commuter), and the mapped patterns were analyzed visually and statistically.

Both regionally and locally, a typical sequence of development is apparent and is discussed with examples. The evolving pattern of development has been moulded by five sets of variables: access, services, environment, socio-cultural factors, and planning. Some variables operate primarily at the regional scale (notably distance to the city centre), some at the district level (notably distance to an elementary school), and some are highly localized (e.g., the availability of road frontage). The results may be useful for anticipation and control of future development.

Resume

Basee sur des renseignements provenant de cartes topographiques d'archives ainsi que de cartes recentes, cette etude dresse le plan des nouveaux developpements des habitations (destines aux banlieusards qui se rendent en ville pour travailler) dans le secteur Eastern Shore, en banlieue de Halifax. Le nombre d'habitations a ete calcule a partir de cartes topographiques au 1:50 000 levees en 1917-20 (avant les deplacements des banlieusards), en 1960-7 (debut des deplacements des banlieusards) et en 1988 (nombreux deplacements des banlieusards), et les modeles des cartes ont ete analyses visuellement et statistiquement.

Une sequence typique des developpements est apparente tant au niveau regional que local; et celle-ci est expliquee et accompagnee d'exemples. Le modele suivi par ces developpements a ete faconne par cinq variables: acces, services, environnement, facteurs socio-culturels et planification. Certaines variables ont une incidence principalement lechelle regionale (en particulier la distance entre le domicile et le centre-vile), d'autres au niveau du district (en particulier la distance entre le domicile et une ecole elementaire), d'autres encore ont une incidence extremement localisee (par exemple l'existence d'une route en bordure de la propriete). Les resultats de cette etude peuvent etre utiles pour anticiper et controler les developpements futurs.

Though Halifax today has a metropolitan population of 330,000, its hinterland remains remarkably devoid of settlement, with considerable pockets of wilderness. The glacially-scoured hardrock environment mitigated against early resource-based settlement, so that the population remained extremely sparse into this century. Thus, the impact of automobile-induced commuter settlement in the last half-century has been clear and dramatic. This study uses evidence from archival and recent topographic maps to plot the developing pattern of residential commuter development within a 40 kilometre by 30 kilometre section of the Eastern Shore, one of four main corridors or sectors of exurban expansion around Halifax. The aim of the analysis is to generalize the sequence of exurban development, and gauge the relative impact of factors that have either encouraged or inhibited commuter housing development.

Each of the four main commuter corridors developed along the old post-road highway routes, which were the first to be paved and upgraded, and which were later augmented by parallel 100-series limited-access highways. In clockwise sequence from the west, the corridors follow the St. Margaret's Bay road (Highways 3 and 103), the Windsor road (2 and 102), the Truro road (1 and 101), and the Eastern Shore road (7 and 107). The Eastern Shore corridor has been most dramatically affected by commuter development, since it was least settled originally. In addition, this corridor is remote from other urban centres that might contribute to commuter development, so that distance-decay effects can be isolated with greater confidence. …

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