Urban Planning 4442: Final Project, Brightwood Redevelopment Plan

Brightwood Golf and Country Club Redevelopment

Established in 1914, Brightwood Golf and Country Club is an 18 hole, par 71 golf course located in the heart of Dartmouth: bounded by Thistle Street to the East, Slayter Street to the South, Woodland Avenue to the West and Crichton Park to the North. The task with this assignment is to redevelop the entire 42 ha (103 acre) Brightwood Golf and Country Club site for residential development.

The assignment specifies nine conditions for development.
1. There must be a total of between 840 and 1050 residential units in total
2. Deeded parkland must make up more than 15% of the total area. (Ponds, wetlands, and steep areas should form part of the above open space, and should be no-disturb areas. Steep areas are defined as those with over 10% of slope cannot be developed.)
3. No more than 50%, and no less than 40% of units are to be single-family detached;
4. No more than 30%, and no less than 20% of units must be in apartment buildings of 4 stories or more.
5. Remaining housing units can be townhouses (1- or 2-storey), semis, or apartment buildings of 2 or 3 stories.
6. Single family lots should be at least 360 m2 (c. 3,900 sq. ft.), with min. 12 m (39’) frontages.
7. Include one elementary school, and a small shopping/office plaza. You may also include space for a church.
8. There must also be at least 600m of paths constructed at developer’s expense.
9. At least 3 road entrances.

Building Lots: 934 in Total – 378 single family detached, 276 units in 4 story or more apartment buildings, 280 units in apartment buildings of three stories or less. Effective density of 22.2 units per ha.

This plan meets or exceeds each of these conditions. In my plan there are 934 total Residential units in total – in keeping with the plans parameters of between 840 and 1050. 934 units gives an overall (gross density) of 22.2 units per ha within the Brightwood lands.

Deeded parkland and public open space makes up approximately 24% of the Brightwood Site under this plan, giving residents ample recreational opportunities as well as spaces to take advantage of views of Halifax and the surrounding city and harbor. This is much beyond the minimum of 15% and gives credence to the part Brightwood has played in Dartmouth’s psyche for so long as a central green space. Ponds, wetlands and steep areas with a slope of over 10% are open space with this plan, and are not slated for development.

Parkland and Open Space: 24% of the property is preserved as open space and parkland, and there are 1200m of trails.

There are 378 single-family detached lots within this plan, making up 40.5% of the available units – this falls within the conditions of development.

276 units will be located within Apartment buildings of 4 stories or more – 29.5% of the available units closely following the conditions of development (which state that no more than 30%, and no less than 20% of units to be in apartment buildings of 4 stories or more). The remaining Units in the plan are located apartment buildings of 2-3 stories, and there are 280 such units in this plan. This works out to 30% of available units.

Areas of slope: 10% slope or more shaded in yellow.

Maximizing the amount of apartment units relative to the single-family homes in this plan will help to keep affordability high, and will ensure a diverse mix of residents. There are two apartment buildings located near the pond at seven stories each, and one at 5 stories. The remaining apartment buildings are low rise 3 story apartment buildings.

The Single family detached lots in this plan are based on a footprint of 40’x100’ lots, with 40’ frontages. This exceeds the conditions of development which states a minimum 39’ frontage, and a minimum lot size of 3900 sq. ft. The 40’x100’ lots in this plan give a total area of 4000 sq. ft., and many of the lots will be slightly larger than this to make up for the available space in each block.


Within the plan there is a 15,000 sq. ft. lot for commercial activities – namely retail and office space; as well as a 10,000 sq. ft. lot for institutional space – such as a church or a school. The size of the lots should allow for sizeable developments and also allows space on both lots for parking, on site.

There is 1200m of trails to be constructed as a part of this Brightwood Redevelopment, significantly more than the plan requirement of 600m.

The largest trail connects the commercial area in the center of the Brightwood lands, and the densest apartment buildings, with the pond, parkland, and Thistle Street. Another trail leads around the pond to the northern corner of the park.

Another trail is located on the highest portion of the site that connects two streets to a look-off site. These paths serve to connect all sides of the development within itself, and to the surrounding areas.

12 Road entrances surround the development.

To connect the redeveloped Brightwood to the surrounding city, there are 12 road entrances: Four that connect to Thistle Street, four that connect to Victoria Road, and four that connect to Woodland Avenue. I did this to integrate this new neighborhood as closely as possible – and to ensure prompt emergency vehicle access, also, so as not to restrict traffic within the neighborhood.

I think this plan strikes a good balance. The land could be developed more intensely, but with parkland making up almost a quarter of the available land, much of the Brightwood lands will be preserved for future generations.

Although golfing may not be a part of the lands going forward, one hole could be saved as a community golf course. The toboggan hill of some local renown is saved under this plan, allowing legions of the city’s children to descend on the hill as they have always done. The look off point at the highest point on the Brightwood site has been preserved, offering some of the best views of the city, the old bridge, downtown Dartmouth, as well as the Halifax Harbor and approaches. From almost 90 meters in elevation (around 300 feet) this view is certainly impressive.

Any development occurring south and to the west of the look off point is low density detached residential, maximum 2-3 stories, and as such should not inhibit these views. Denser apartment buildings are located next to the park so as not to shade neighboring houses during the day.

I believe the use of smaller lots in this plan keeps affordability to a maximum – there are no ‘McMansion’ lots here, unlike Portland Estates or Manor Park, or Chrichton Park for that matter.
Lot sizes, and home sizes are much more in keeping with the surrounding neighborhood, which is predominantly middle class in nature. The significant apartment stock ensures that not just homeowners have the ability to live as a part of this new development.

Clayton concept plan.

I believe the original Clayton plan was well thought out, but was also very basic in its execution – not very fleshed out. It was also purely suburban in nature, with its large sweeping roads, lots and cul-de-sacs. Clayton’s plan was car oriented and I felt it was outdated –it looked more at home in Clayton Park than it did in the Capital region, which Brightwood is located within.

Before, and after.

The Brightwood lands have been surrounded by residential development, in some cases for more than 100 years, as such, I believe the street grid and harmonious design relationship between the Brightwood and surrounding neighborhoods is important. I have tried to utilize similarly sized blocks and lot sizes as the surrounding neighborhoods – whether Austenville, Albro Lake, or the lands surrounding Dartmouth High School and Victoria Road.

I believe this development would be a great addition to Dartmouth. It would preserve vast portions of land for parkland and open space. It would allow for a diverse mix of residents; with hundreds of single family detached homes as well as hundreds of apartment units. This plan would link several neighborhoods together that have, up until now, been separated by green space instead of connected by it.

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