Ottawa and Regional Economic Development in Eastern Ontario – A Missing Piece in Today’s Strategic Thinking?

Many decades ago when I was a grad student at McMaster University, my research was focused on regional development and growth poles.  Growth pole theory was a very popular topic in those days in both the academic world as well as in public sector regional development policy. The thinking behind growth pole strategies was, very simply, to deliberately channel growth and investment in a few selected centres, which would then have a positive economic impact on the surrounding lagging regions or hinterland through various “spread” or “spillover” or “trickle down” effects.  Growth pole theory was fundamental to the approach undertaken by, for example, the federal government Department of Regional Economic Expansion (DREE) created by the Trudeau government in 1969. Growth pole initiatives however, were abandoned in the 1970’s and deemed as failures in most countries, largely because they failed to generate the spillover effects predicted by the theory. DREE was disbanded in 1982. Continue reading

Ottawa and Economic Diversification: Why Do Community Leaders Continue To Deny That We Are The Nation’s Capital?

Ever since the Queen Victoria’s selection of Ottawa as the Capital of the United Province of Canada, economic diversification has appeared as a rallying cry on the part of local public and business representatives. In 1906, Mayor Ellis laid out the challenge that “the time has come when Ottawa must decide whether it is for all time to be simply the seat of Government and a Departmental City, or whether it not become also an industrial centre” with its excellent “rail facilities and unrivalled water power” (City of Ottawa Council Minutes 1906). Continue reading

Living Together: Do Social Housing Projects Affect The Condominium Real Estate Market In Ottawa’s Downtown Neighbourhoods?

The general aim of this posting is to examine if proximity to social housing projects located in the inner city neighbourhoods of Ottawa comprised of Centretown, Sandy Hill and Lowertown has a potential negative market impact on downtown condominium projects. My analysis here is similar to the objective of my previous blog on Thorncliffe Village where I examined whether or not the close proximity of ownership townhomes to social housing had a negative impact on their resale market performance.

The housing market in Ottawa’s inner city neighbourhoods, as in other large Canadian cities, has experienced quite dramatic changes in terms of its demographics and real estate development trends in recent years. Continue reading

Return to Thorncliffe Village: Market Performance of Ownership Townhomes in a Mixed Affordable Residential Community

Back in the 1990s, when I was the Director of Housing with the City of Ottawa, I was involved in an innovative, affordable residential development named Thorncliffe Village. The project was an exciting, public-private partnership long before P3s became in vogue in the government lexicon.

Thorncliffe Village was a joint, residential development project started in 1990 between Domicile Developments Inc., a respected Ottawa homebuilder specializing in high quality, infill, residential developments and the City of Ottawa Non-Profit Housing Corporation, which went by the marketing name of City Living and is known today as Ottawa Community Housing. The project was built on 6 hectares (15 acres) at the intersection of Montreal Road and Burma Road in the City’s east end near the National Research Council and the then CFB Rockcliffe. The site also included an abandoned quarry pit. Continue reading

How Global Is Ottawa?

Globalization and its concomitant concepts of global cities, control-and-command centres, and city mega-regions are much in vogue these days. Globalization has been identified as being the cause (blame?) for many of the challenges faced by larger Canadian cities ranging from governance (e.g. amalgamation) to economic competitiveness to investment in municipal infrastructure. The rationale commonly presented by municipal representatives is that, in the face of powerful social, political and economic globalization forces, metropolitan cities throughout Canada must strengthen their competitiveness in the world economy in order to maintain and sustain local prosperity and high quality of life. Continue reading

The Federal Government and Ottawa’s Economy: The Sky is not Falling

At the February 2012 official opening of Invest Ottawa (the City’s economic development / investment attraction agency),  Mayor Jim Watson stated,

“One of my priorities . . . was to establish Invest Ottawa to help attract more investment and foster greater economic growth in our nation’s capital. . . Recent headlines surrounding public service job losses underscore the need to diversify our local economy, and Invest Ottawa is going to help us do just that. Invest Ottawa is a clear commitment to inspire more entrepreneurs to build our prosperity to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.”  (Invest Ottawa opening Mayor Watson))

Later in the year, the Mayor further elaborated in his 2012 State of the Economy address on the challenges facing the City resulting from the federal government’s austerity measures. He stated that “in this new federal government dynamic, we have the most to lose but we also have the most to gain”. To prevent Ottawa from becoming “a shadow of its former self”, the Mayor added that “we can no longer depend on the federal government to shelter us from [economic] storms or drive our economy … instead, we will construct a new economic engine … an engine that is more diverse – that runs on more than just one industry” (2012 State of the Economy link). This doom and gloom shows up even the City’s Economic Development Strategy stating that the local economy is in peril as a result to the federal government’s budget cutbacks.  Continue reading

Pulse Check on Ottawa’s High Tech: Part 5 – Conclusions and Random Observations

 

The following post lists my concluding observations on the previous blogs looking at different economic indicators and trends related to Ottawa’s high-tech sector and how the sector has performed relative to other key Canadian technology cluster centres. I also list some random impressions which are not directly the result of the analysis of performance indicators but are still reflective of my general impressions from reading the media articles and other literature.

Continue reading