The Downtown Built Heritage Inventory (DBHI) is a pilot project that proposes a new, Hamilton-specific methodology to understand, characterize, and map Hamilton’s downtown heritage resources.
Inspired by emerging international best practices in heritage planning, this methodology aligns with the Ontario Heritage Act and Planning Act, but also utilizes other strategies for evaluating historic resources, such as the “historic context statement.”
Whereas typical heritage designation policies focus on individual buildings’ design and historical significance, this approach looks also at the relationships between individual properties and their broader urban contexts.
For example, some heritage resources have value for their status as landmarks, others for the way they uphold neighbourhood character, for the cultural activities they support, for the local narratives they embody, or for the meaning they hold for local residents.
As a pilot study, the Downtown Built Heritage Inventory assessed approximately 800 resources in Hamilton’s downtown neighbourhoods. City Council has adopted the recommendations of the study, and will be exploring their application on a citywide basis.