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Tour de blogoshere: Urban development and local news

By Alejandro Bustos on March 2, 2013

Ottawa is in the midst of a development boom. Whether it’s the recently approved Light Rail Transit (LRT) system, plans to build several large condo buildings in the Preston/Carling area, the transformation of Wellington Street from Westboro to Hintonburg, the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park, or the numerous other construction projects in the city, our national capital region is undergoing a large-scale change. This development has not gone unnoticed in the local blogosphere, which is why this week’s round-up of local blogs looks at sites that focus on the current transformation taking place in Ottawa.

Urban Development Blogs

Arguably the best blog in Ottawa for development-related news is West Side Action by Eric Darwin. This fantastic site contains excellent analysis on city-wide development policies, as well as being the place to go for updates on the current and planned construction in Little Italy, Chinatown and surrounding areas.

One blog that I frequently read last year was Reinventing Ottawa by Kevin Bourne.  While it has been a bit dormant recently, Kevin is an active twitter on local development issues. Ottawa Condo Blog also contains periodic updates on condo projects in the city, while local developer Domicile has its own blog.  Other blogs include Modern Ottawa, a designer’s take on how the city can be improved, and Urbsite, which provides a mix of development updates and historical analysis of different buildings in the city. Spacing Ottawa, meanwhile, focuses on public spaces.

Not everyone in Ottawa is thrilled with how Ottawa is developing.  Ken Gray, the Ottawa Citizen’s former city editorial page editor and municipal affairs reporter, runs Bulldog Ottawa, an urban development blog that is critical of City’s Hall.  Clive Doucet, former city councillor and mayoral candidate, also has harsh words for developers on his blog. While his blog covers many issues, he often publishes posts that express his frustration with developers.

For a more pro-development view, there is the Ottawa-Gatineau section of the SkyscraperPage Forum.  While not technically a blog, this is where local development enthusiasts discuss pretty much every construction project underway or that is planned in the National Capital Region.

Neighbourhood Blogs With Occasional Development News

There are several local blog that report on specific areas in the city.  Sometimes you will find posts on development projects taking place in these neighbourhoods.  Blogs where I have seen development-related posts include Childfree (Hintonburg/Wellington Village), Vanier NowImages of Centretown and Miss Vicky’s Offhand Remarks (Hintonburg/Wellington Village).

Mainstream Media

Some local journalists blog on urban development and municipal affairs issues, such as David Reevely and Joanne Chianello from the Ottawa Citizen, and Jon Willing from the Ottawa Sun who pens the Sun & the City blog.  While not a blog, the Ottawa Business Journal is an excellent source for the most recent development news.

Community Associations / City Councillors

Many community associations are involved in development-related issues. Whether this includes working with a developer to change a proposed construction project, taking a case to the Ontario Municipal Board, or engaging with City Hall, there is no shortage of local activists who are involved.  For a contact list of community associations go here.  Community groups that have extensive development updates for their neighbourhoods include the Hintonburg Community Association, the Westboro Community Association and Centretown Citizens Community Association.

Local politicians also play a key role in forming and implementing urban development policies.  All 22 city councillors are listed as having web sites (for a full contact list link here), and when Apt613 checked them all but one worked. Mayor Jim Watson’s site can be found here.

Do you know of any other local blogs that focus on urban development? Let us know in the comments section below.  In the meantime, if you want to read more news and/or get further summaries of recent posts by area bloggers, you can link to a new blog that I recently created called The Ottawa Blogging Library that contains blogging news not included in the Apt613 weekly blog round-up.