Taking a stroll through Lowertown, it's easy to spot several recent and important changes to our neighbourhood's physical layout. Parks have been revitalized, main arteries rebuilt, and several large residential structures have been built - just to name a few. But how has the group of residents who call Lowertown home changed over the years?
Turning to income, Lowertown residents earn about 50% more than before: average household income grew from $46,000 to $68,000 between 2001 and 2011. The proportion of household earning more than $100,000 grew from 9% of households in 2001, to 20% in 2011.
The population of Lowertown grew by 1,050 since 2001, reaching 12,183 residents in 2011. During this time, the number of households grew by even more (1,105), which implies that the average household size in our community has decreased: indeed, it fell from 2.0 people per household in 2001, to 1.8 in 2011. Compared to 2001, there are 865 more households of 1 person, 345 more of 2 persons, but 125 less of 3 or more persons. This suggests that there are fewer kids in Lowertown: 135 less to be exact, and they now account for 12% of Lowertown's population, compared to a city-of-Ottawa average of 23%. The growth in population has come from adults aged 20-34 years old (+575 since 2001) and those aged 55 and over (+665 since 2001).
Looking at the types of residential dwellings, there are 1300 more apartments – 80% of which have 5 of more stories – compared to 2001. Conversely, there are 190 fewer houses. This is not surprising since several new condo towers were built in this time. In 2011, roughly 80% of residents in Lowertown lived in apartment or condo buildings, compared to 30% for Ottawa.
So how do residents feel about some of these changes? Sylvie Grenier, planning committee co-chair of the Lowertown Community Association, indicates that "new development is good but it is important to provide a variety of new housing sizes and types to create a healthy neighbourhood where residents can live all of their lives."
Mathieu Fleury, councillor for Rideau-Vanier agrees, though he specifies “changing demographics has resulted in a growth of young professionals and empty nesters moving into the core to take advantage of our vibrant community. This helps support local businesses and makes the downtown a more vibrant place to live.”
What do you think about these changes taking place in our community? Write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article first appeared in February 2015 The Lowertown Echo, Vol 6, Issue 1: Feb 2015