Transforming Downtown St. Catharines into a Creative Cluster
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The City of St. Catharines, located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, is Niagara Region's only major urban node. Like many small/medium-sized cities in Canada and abroad, the city experienced a rapid decline of large-scale manufacturing in the 1990s. In a renewed attempt to recover from this economic depression, and spurred by Provincial policy, the City implemented the Downtown Creative Cluster Master Plan (DCCMP) in 2008. In this thesis I conduct a discourse analysis of the DCCMP. My analysis indicates that DCCMP is shaped by neoliberal economic development paradigms. As such it is designed to restructure the downtown into a creative cluster by attracting developers/investors and appealing to the interests, tastes, and desires of middle-class consumers and creatives. I illustrate that this competitive city approach to urban planning has a questionable track record, and has been shown to result in retail and residential gentrification and displacement.