Map of Underutilized Space within the City of Hamilton’s Urban Boundary
This mapping project began in April 2021 as an idea to help generate discussion about the potential for the lands that are inside the City of Hamilton’s defined urban boundary. It was a grassroots project run by volunteers and developed in partnership between Downtown Sparrow and Stop Sprawl HamOnt.
The purpose of the project is to illustrate how much land might be available for gentle density and infill projects within the current urban boundary.
A mix of uses are possible given the context of the map and the planning horizon for growth that’s projected over a 30 year period (to 2051). We recognize that the City of Hamilton’s official plan and some of its current zoning would need to be altered to accommodate this vision.
This map wouldn’t have been possible without the stellar mapping, drawing, and research skills of volunteers Charles Ballarano, Zoe Green, Laura Katz, Cameron Kroetsch, Kathleen Livingstone, Frances Murray, Chris Ritsma, Esme Tondreau, and Jill Tonini, the guidance of Dr. Lynda Lukasik, and the support of Dr. Suzanne Mills.
Summary of the data collected
Volunteers found that there were 3,328 acres of underutilized space, slightly more than the number of acres (approximately 3,300) that were proposed as part of the recent recommendation by City of Hamilton staff to expand the City’s urban boundary.
Three types of areas (polygons) have been captured in the mapping – Attached Parking Lots (APLs), Detached Parking Lots (DPLs), and Vacant Lands (VLs). The orange polygons represent lands and lots that are categorized as employment lands by the City and the yellow polygons represent land that is not zoned as employment lands (e.g. mixed use, residential, commercial, vacant, open space).
We recognize that much of this land is owned privately and that both incentives and disincentives would need to be proposed by the City over the next 30 years in order for these lands to be put to their highest and best use.
The resulting maps are intended to supplement information and data available from different sources so that informed and community-oriented decisions can be made about opportunities in existing neighbourhoods (e.g. new development, rezoning, depaving).
The number of volunteers working on the mapping was kept small to help ensure consistency. Under the guidance of a project manager (Cameron Kroetsch) and technical lead (Zoe Green), volunteers received training before the mapping commenced, with regular check-ins along the way to ensure as much accuracy as possible.
Limitations of the map
The volunteers who did the majority of the mapping for this grassroots project were neither planning professionals nor GIS experts. This map is meant to represent the best efforts of those volunteers. There may be some variability in both interpretation and execution.
For this project we used Google My Maps (through Google Drive). Best available satellite imagery was used as the reference base, supplemented with site specific knowledge to ensure the most up to date mapping possible.
We have identified City-owned properties where possible. This information is available when you click on a specific polygon on the map. For a complete list of City-owned properties visit the City-owned properties map that’s maintained by the City of Hamilton.
For a tabular summary of the mapping data please look at the Summary tab in the Google Sheet.
If you have any comments, please reach out to us directly. We’re open to feedback and looking to improve and add to the map over time. We recognize that there my be inconsistencies and would appreciate a heads up if you find any.
City of Hamilton’s Open Data site
KMZ source files
Excel files and Google Sheet of land areas and tabulations
Last updated – December 2, 2021