North of Union


Client: City of Saint John, New Brunswick

A proposed police headquarters and provincial courthouse offer Saint John the opportunity to approach a major public investment as a potential catalyst for the revitalization of an area in Uptown Saint John currently dominated by empty lots and surface parking. The project stalled when community members reacted strongly to a proposal they felt had been developed without adequate public consultation. Cities & Environment Unit was contracted to design and lead a public participation process that would give the community a meaningful voice in creating a vision and design guidelines for the North of Union site.

Workshop participants first developed nine Big Ideas for guiding development in the Uptown area that provides the context for the North of Union site. Participants then focused on imaging how the Big Ideas might shape future development in the area. Based on this work, Cities & Environment Unit proposed a Concept Plan, Guide to Public Improvements and Design Guidelines for Uptown Saint John. Having found some common ground through this process, community members and Common Council were able to move forward with the project.