Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Since the 1960’s, post industrial downtowns across North America and Europe have suffered economic and population losses. Downtown revitalization theory is now a major subject in urban geography. Although each city is unique and requires customized revitalization techniques, certain approaches have worked better than others. Hamilton, Ontario, is a city of roughly 520,000 located just outside the Greater Toronto Area. Its downtown has struggled since the 1970’s. In the last ten years, however, certain areas of downtown have shown signs of revitalization. Conversation about this change has largely focused on attracting creative industries. King Street, Hamilton’s most downtown street, has yet to experience significant improvement, but is surrounded by changing areas and expected to follow suit. This study looks at two theories of revitalization: the Creative Capital theory, and the Main Street approach. It also discusses commercial gentrification. City officials and business owners along King Street were interviewed about what they expect for King Street downtown. Business owners, this study found, are underutilized agents of revitalization in the area. They want and expect the area to improve, but have yet to make significant changes to their own establishments. More could be done to include incumbent business owners in King Street's revitalization processes in Hamilton, and to acknowledge them as agents of change within the commercial gentrification literature.
Atkin, Claire S., "Revitalizing Hamilton's Heart: Business Owners and the Prospects for King Street Downtown" (2013). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 7640.
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