Students lead study into Sudbury neighbourhood facelift: Architecture students gathering information on century-old Sudbury borough for future improvements.

Author:McKinley, Karen

Improvements to the Flour Mill neighbourhood in Sudbury are coming up, and a team of architecture students are taking the lead in what will be in store for the historic area.

Third-year students from McEwen School of Architecture, along with residents, city government representatives and business owners, gathered at the corner of Laforest and Kathleen streets on Sept. 14 to launch the revitalization project of Laforest.

"The goal is to bring the street back to its former historic glory, bring back the quality of life and address social and infrastructure issues we have in the urban core," said Sudbury Coun. Jocelyne Landry-Altmann.

The revitalization, she said, will be seen through the eyes of the students as they meet with residents and current and potential business owners to get a better idea of the historical importance of the area and the designs that make the street unique.

The city is giving this project to architecture students primarily for costs. In turn, it provides students with much-needed practical experience.

They will also study the history, which Landry-Altmann said goes back more than 100 years. Some of the homes were built as early as 1914. It was a working-class neighbourhood.

Ted Wilson, professor of sustainable design and third-year coordinator, lives in the area, which gives him an intimate view of the street's needs. He said the third year of the degree program focuses on working with examples of Northern communities, broken down into neighbourhoods.

He explained the exercise is to look at the neighbourhood and examine aspects of it, focusing first on this street.

Students will look at it from three perspectives: the street proper and where the traffic is, the pedestrian portion, and the elevations and facades of the buildings. Students will document the current appearance and condition and look for ways to make the street more desirable.

Along with studying improvements, students and the city are looking into elements that make the neighbourhood unique and how to preserve those. Wilson said due to its history, it has a look and culture of an old French community.

That information will inform policies and plans, including incentives for residents to make home improvements.

Melissa Riou, Greater Sudbury senior planner, said the city has a town and community improvement plan that includes the Flour Mill area. That includes tax increment equivalent grants, building permit and planning application rebates, feasibility...

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