The Growth Related Integrated Development Strategy (GRIDS) is a planning process that helps to determine where the future growth of the City will take place over the next 30 or more years. This unique planning tool integrates land use, transportation, water, wastewater and stormwater planning into one project.
What is GRIDS?
The Growth Related Integrated Development Strategy, or GRIDS, is a made-in-Hamilton balanced growth strategy. The purpose of GRIDS was to identify the most ideal places for growth and the type of growth based on environmental priorities, social issues, economic opportunities and population studies as well as to identify strategies to fund the servicing of these areas.
The GRIDS recommended a strategy to accommodate a projected population of 660,000 and 80,000 additional households by 2031. To provide for balanced population, household and employment growth, a minimum of 2,500 acres (more than 1000 hectares) of additional employment lands are required to accommodate projected employment growth including 400 – 800 hectares of employment lands are required to facilitate the development of the Hamilton International Airport as a economic growth node within the City of Hamilton and Golden Horseshoe area.
Hamilton will be hub of Greater Golden Horseshoe growth
The Province of Ontario has recently undertaken several planning initiatives that focus on projected growth in the area of southern Ontario extending west from Toronto through Hamilton to the region of Niagara commonly known as the Greater Golden Horseshoe. In it's Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Province outlines a strategy and identifies the necessary tools for managing growth in the fastest-growing region in Canada.
It is projected that over the next 30 years almost 4 million people will settle in the Greater Golden Horseshoe requiring 1.75 million new homes and 1.7 million additional jobs.
The Province has also proposed a Greenbelt Plan aimed at permanently protecting greenspace and containing urban sprawl in the Golden Horseshoe.
There are three steps in the GRIDS process.
(1) Development and evaluation of growth concepts - Development/density concepts and associated land requirements were identified providing the building blocks to determine where growth might occur in the City of Hamilton. The concepts represent different community growth patterns for the City and reflect different urban density scenarios and included:
- Status quo;
- No expansion;
- Distributed Development;
- Downtown Focus;
- Nodal/corridor focus; and,
- Build to the Limit and Stop.
Concepts were presented to the public for input in May 2005 and evaluated using a Triple Bottom Line (TBL) framework. No Expansion, Distributed Development, and a combination of Downtown Focus and Nodes/corridors were carried forward for further analysis. Hamilton City Council adopted these recommendations in August, 2005.
(2) Development and evaluation of growth options - The three growth concepts were translated into five different mapped growth options:
- Option 1: No Expansion - Maintains existing urban boundary, with aggressive new policy for residential intensification (62,000 units)
- Option 2-4: Appropriately Distributed Development - Growth is distributed in three different ways along the existing urban area boundary to make efficient use of existing infrastructure including transit and social services
- Option 5: Nodes and Corridors - Growth is directed to a series of growth nodes and connecting corridors throughout the City of Hamilton based on where people live, work and play.
Options were presented to the public for input in November/December 2005 and evaluated using a TBL framework. Option 5 – Nodes and Corridors was identified as preferred.
(3) Refinement of the preferred growth option – The Nodes and Corridor option was refined to confirm the level of intensification, determine an appropriate node and corridor structure, and discuss phasing and staging of implementation.
Triple Bottom Line (TBL)
The growth concepts and options were evaluated using a Triple Bottom Line (TBL) evaluation technique. TBL is a strategic planning tool that links current decisions to long term desired results, legislative requirements, and detailed strategic goals. It is a structured methodology for evaluating how each growth concept will lead toward or away from the desired social, economic and environmental results identified in Vision 2020 and the Nine Directions.
City staff from a number of departments and those involved in the three comprehensive infrastructure Master Plans (transportation, water/wastewater and stormwater) participated in the TBL evaluation of alternatives. The TBL evaluators used a web-based tool to rank the options against the desired results. Their input was collated and a workshop was conducted to express the collective opinions of the evaluators on the ability of each option to best meet the desired results for each of the Triple Bottom Lines.
Population, household and employment forecasts represent the cornerstones for the GRIDS planning process.
The City of Hamilton must also plan for the full range of employment growth for the next 25 years in developing a growth strategy. Employment landuse is comprised of 3 parts: office employment, population-related employment and employment-land employment. A breakdown of employment, by type, is presented below for each scenario:
The Provincial Places to Grow Plan growth forecasts are the starting point for GRIDS projections. The original growth options targeted the City of Hamilton with new 100,000 residential units by 2031. This was later updated to reflect the final Places to Grow Plan which targets the City of Hamilton with 80,000 new units by 2031. Growth plans must not only be considered in terms of the total amount of growth, but also its components. For example, household growth is comprised of new single detached dwellings, semi-detached dwellings, row house dwellings (townhouses) and apartment dwellings. This means that the GRIDS growth options must provide for the full range of housing demand for singles, semis, rows and apartments as supported by the Provincial growth forecast discussed above. The growth forecasts for Hamilton, as supported by the Places to Grow Plan, are shown in the tables:
The next steps in the GRIDS process:
- Final refinement of the preferred option with respect to location/character of nodes and corridors, land supply values and environmental constraints;
- Refinement of commercial area locations, character and employment numbers;
- Testing of targets for intensification and mix of people/jobs through detailed plans for identified nodes and corridors;
- Completion of Infrastructure Master Plans that support the preferred growth option;
- Completion of social services and environment plans, as appropriate;
- New development charges by-law;
- Completion of OP and policy implementation strategy;
- Completion of secondary plans and design guidelines.