Rossdale from river #B692F9Many other cities have reaped the social and economic benefits of giving their historical industrial buildings new life. Here are just a few examples of successful repurposing:

  • Granville Island in Vancouver transformed abandoned factories into a pedestrian-friendly arts, market, commercial, and residential neighborhood.
  • Medicine Hat turned its historic clayworks district (an area encompassing seven acres of buildings) into a museum and pottery studios, plus special events space and a weekly country market.
  • Toronto turned the Distillery District into a vibrant pedestrian village with cafes, performance venues, shops and residential space. It also turned the Don Valley Brick Works into a cultural centre and natural area, plus empty warehouses and former streetcar-repair facilities into galleries, shops and theatres.
  • San Francisco reincarnated its 660-foot ferry terminal as the Ferry Building Marketplace, housing fine-food shops and a weekly farmer’s market. This building is one of the city’s most popular landmarks today.
  • Portland, Oregon’s McMenamin’s group has revitalized multiple large historic buildings, creating distilleries, theatres, restaurants and concert venues.
  • London, England, turned its own power plant into the Tate Modern, the most visited art museum in the world.

As New York City urban planner Roberta Brandes Gratz says in her book The Living City, “Historic preservation is…one of the most vital and successful tools of economic rebirth.”

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