Mapping a Brighter Future for London's Old East Village

Nonprofit Uses ESRI Technology to Create a Community-Based Economic Development Plan
LONDON, ON – September 19, 2011 – With nearly three decades of helping Canadian communities become prosperous, ESRI Canada today announced that the Old East Village Business Improvement Area (BIA) is leveraging ESRI's geographic information system (GIS) technology to help revitalize the local economy. 

Up until the 1960s, Old East Village was an economically thriving area with numerous oil refineries, manufacturing and railroad companies.  Changes to the Canadian economic infrastructure and suburban growth during the following decades resulted in the rapid deterioration of buildings as well as a decline in social infrastructure.  To revive the area's commercial and residential districts, local businesses, property owners, arts and social service groups represented on the Old East Village BIA Board initiated action that led to the creation of a revitalization plan for the area.  Part of this initiative is to create a local economic development plan.

“There's a large amount of information that we need to collect to develop this plan, and we needed a solution that could help us efficiently manage the information and make sense of it,” said Sarah Merritt, manager, Old East Village BIA.  “GIS allows us to take a scientific, rather than an intuitive, approach to planning.  It's now easier for us to track change in the area and identify appropriate sites for specific kinds of development.  Maps are also a great way to present information as we engage the community in the creation of locally-owned solutions that will move our community forward.” 

“The best plans are not done in isolation, and maps enable citizens to work together to solve their community's problems,” said Alex Miller, president, ESRI Canada.  “Using GIS increases the Old East Village BIA's capacity for collecting and sharing a significant amount of data with their stakeholders.  This will help them create an economic development plan that's truly community based, realistic and workable.  We're proud to enable their success in facilitating renewed vigour in east London.”

The nonprofit organization will use ESRI technology to improve the level of services it provides to the community, focusing on developing the Old East Village as a premier art, cultural and artisan food district in London.  The BIA will compile, map and analyze numerous data it collects including locations of investment and development, detailed building information, demographics, land use and locations specifically used for arts, culture and food activities, as well as public regional data.  Previously, this information was collected but not effectively intersected for analysis.  With ESRI's GIS technology, they can now combine various information to discover trends and develop an evidence-based plan.

During October and November 2011, the Old East Village BIA will host two community planning events to gather initial input for the economic development plan and update a local arts inventory.  It is anticipated that the draft plan will be available for community input in May 2012.

For more information on ESRI Canada's GIS solutions, visit


About ESRI Canada
Founded in 1984, ESRI Canada provides enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solutions that empower businesses, governments and educational institutions to make timely, informed and mission-critical decisions by leveraging the power of geography.  The company distributes the world's leading GIS software from ESRI, Telvent, Cityworks and other technology partners.  Headquartered in Toronto, the company serves over 10,000 customers from 16 regional offices across Canada and has been named as one of the top 250 Canadian IT companies and top 25 IT professional services providers in Canada by the Branham Group.  Information about ESRI Canada can be found at

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