Urban Design Background Paper 

Cover of the Urban Design Background PaperThe Urban Design Background Paper covers the following topics:

- What is Urban Design?
- Existing Province of Ontario Policies
- Existing City of Brantford Policies
- Issues and Key Policy Direction

Download the Urban Design Background Paper (474 kb). This document is in Adobe PDF format and will require the Adobe PDF Reader Plugin.


What is Urban Design?

Urban design is about the form and arrangement of buildings, the layout of streets, the design of a landscape and of public spaces. Urban design gives form, shape and character to the physical elements that comprise the streets and neighbourhoods of a city. Urban design blends architecture, landscape architecture, and city planning together to make urban areas functional, attractive and sustainable.

Good urban design can:

  • Help to create a sense of place; 
  • Foster environmental stewardship and social equality; and
  • Create spaces that celebrate the culture, beauty, and identity of a place.  

Issues and Key Policy Direction

The following table summarizes the Urban Design issues related to the current policy and any requirements to implement related Provincial legislation. The purpose of the following table is to generate input and discussion on the issues and the proposed key policy directions that are being considered for the new Official Plan policies. 

Identified Issues Key Policy Directions Proposed
Limited Current Official Plan Policy for Urban Design. Current urban design direction is generic or only applies to a small area of the City (i.e. West of Conklin). With the adoption of Official Plan Amendment 184, which implements recommendations from the Intensification Strategy, the Official Plan now contains policies confirming that the City may prepare Urban Design Guidelines. Downtown makes to the growth and livability of a City.   
A substantial amount of work has been done to identify area-specific urban design qualities the City of Brantford would like to achieve, but little has been done to implement the recommendations of these previous reports, plans and studies. Without incorporation into the Official Plan, the area-specific policies do not have any enforcement tool, and are difficult to achieve.
Develop a framework for implementing enforceable urban design policies. The framework should include: 
-General urban design policies within the Official Plan for specific types of areas/urban structure designations (e.g. residential areas, the downtown, intensification corridors, etc.)
-Policies enabling the City to prepare and apply area or issue-specific urban design guidelines that shall be implemented through the plan of subdivision and site plan approval process, as applicable; and,
-Policies requiring the City to adopt regulations consistent with the urban design policies through the implementing Zoning By-law.  
Limited Urban Design Guidelines for Existing Neighbourhoods Across the City. Due to Provincial requirements for intensification, existing neighbourhoods may experience new development pressures for infill or higher density projects. These existing areas represent a large part of the City and much of historical character of the community. Aside from studies undertaken for the Downtown, areas adjacent to the waterfront and the areas for intensification, little direction has been given in previous studies for what urban design elements may be appropriate in existing neighbourhoods. -Identify neighbourhoods that are expected to be impacted by intensification, and enable the City to develop area-specific urban design guidelines for those areas, which shall be implemented through the plan of subdivision and site plan approval process.
-The specific areas should be listed in the Official Plan wherever possible.
Issues and Policy Directions: Urban Design

Join the Conversation! 

Please share your feedback by contacting Nicole Wilmot, Manager of Policy Planning, by email or by telephone at 519-759-4150.

Related Reports and Documents

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