What is Reurbanization?

More people are choosing to live, work and invest in built-up areas like downtowns. Buildings are being reused as condos and empty properties and parking lots are being turned into new buildings with shops and restaurants. This is reurbanization.

The majority of reurbanization is happening in the downtowns of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo and within ION rapid transit station areas.

What are the benefits of reurbanization?

Reurbanization helps to:

  • Reuse buildings and use building supplies more efficiently
  • Provide people with more choices about the type of home they live in, including houses, townhouses, apartments and condos
  • Create more active, successful and interesting downtowns
  • Make better use of roads, schools and pipes, so we can be more efficient with supplying things like transit, education and water
  • Protect farms, forests and wetlands by using less land
  • Support the clean up of older industrial properties

What does reurbanization look like?

Reurbanization comes in many shapes and sizes. A Symphony of Design is a great video highlighting some of the region's finest examples of urban design. Check out the photo gallery below for recent examples of reurbanization in Waterloo Region.


Rapid Transit is already playing a major role in reurbanization in Waterloo Region. Below is a map developed in 2014 of some new and recent development along the ION rapid transit route. Click on the image to see a larger version. (This is a large file. We appreciate your patience as it loads.)




What is the Region of Waterloo doing about reurbanization?

The Region's Community Building Strategy sets out the best places for even more reurbanization like downtowns, ION rapid transit station areas and many of GRT's iXpress routes (reurbanization corridors). It also suggests areas that could use special attention and could benefit from things like public art, more trees and new trails.

As we grow, it is important that we protect our heritage buildings and encourage people to invest in older buildings to give them new life.

For a list of some important programs and incentives that encourage reurbanization, please see the Region's Big Shift Toolbox.