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The planned industrial district: its significance for urban development in Canada Kennedy, William Jean Vianney

Abstract

The most undesirable side-effect of the Industrial Revolution was the blighting of the surrounding residential environment by smoke and effluvia from the factories. This has resulted firstly, in an attempt by public authorities to curb the excesses of industry and to make it more compatible with the residential environment; and, secondly, in a movement of the factory workers away from their place of work into areas reserved exclusively for residential development. Today, due to technological advances, industrial nuisances have been virtually eliminated and atmospheric pollution is caused mainly by the exhaust fumes from the automobiles of commuting motorists. In this paradoxical situation interest has increased, for a number of reasons, in bringing the home and work-place closer together. Industry would like to locate closer to its markets and to its labor pool. The worker would like a shorter journey to work, provided the amenity of his home is not affected. The suburban municipality, burdened by the costs of residential development would like to attract industry to strengthen its tax base. The planned industrial district appears to be the most promising tool to accomplish all these aims. A planned industrial district is essentially an industrial site which is subdivided and developed according to a comprehensive plan for the use of a community of industries, with streets, railway spurs, and utilities either readily available or installed before the sites are sold or leased to prospective occupants. Usually the district is under one management and the type of tenant admissible is restricted by covenant. Planned industrial districts in Britain and North America date from the end of the 19th century. In Britain planned industrial districts have been used by the State to control the location of industry in order to develop the depressed areas. 5ince World War II they have been used to accommodate industry in the New Towns. In America the majority developed since World War II and are frequently sponsored by railroads or other private developers. Transportation and markets are key factors in their location. The concept has undergone some refinement, resulting in the amenity-oriented industrial park, which has been used in some urban redevelopment schemes. In Canada the process of industrialization has been slow, especially in the area of secondary manufacturing. Though it has power to influence and encourage industrial development at the local level, the Federal government has as yet developed no coherent industrial policies. Some thought has been given to the danger of Canadian industry being dominated by U. S. investment and control but no solution appears evident. Branch plants of U. S. firms are an important element in Canadian secondary manufacturing industry. In the absence of Federal or Provincial guidance the burden of directing (or attracting) industry falls on the local authority. To this end it has used zoning, tax incentives, industrial development commissions and, increasingly, planned industrial districts, which have been developed in some of the more progressive communities. Industry is attracted to these districts by their excellent transportation facilities, installed utilities, in fact by the whole "package deal" which allows it to go into almost immediate production. The planned industrial district serves the community because it concentrates a desirable type of industry in a desirable location, minimizes traffic interference, promotes the economical use of services and utilities, eliminates the worst industrial nuisances, enhances the visual appearance of the community, provides better working conditions and strengthens the tax base. All this it will do provided it is properly planned. The conclusion is that Canadian municipalities should promote the use of planned industrial districts to achieve efficient community development.

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