Jan 9, 2014

And we're off! : Baconfest Night 1

There was a terrific turnout for the first night of Baconfest. Around 275 attendees were treated to some classic movie making reflecting the 1960’s and early 80’s thinking about cities and how they evolve. The period scenes and thoughts generated lots of interesting questions and comments at the end of both films. For me it is always amazing to watch how the staff of the Philly Planning Commission choreographs the drawing of the future of the city.

Scenes from the distressed portions of some American cities are always surprising to many, but are the reality of a planner’s life in many of these cities.  They offer different challenges, yet offer tools that could be implemented here to meet our infrastructure challenges.

The attendees reflected all professions, ages and interests. I met many folks from the general public. And Luke, who I think was a grade 6 student, showed some very interesting perceptions about open space, telling me that he thought many of the scenes showed spaces that were far too big with nobody using them. He wondered how cities could afford to maintain such large open spaces and could they rethink the need, size and how the space would be used. And we talked about how his next presentation in his science class could be pretty cool if he used some of Bacon’s style.

Next week we build on the concepts and discussion Bacon presented this week, to show his films on the evolution of London, Rome and Paris. The contrast and similarities to those we saw in Philadelphia this evening, are striking.  Bacon was very much a student of Form & Function. We saw that in the teaser he gave on Rome this evening.  Yet it is the very perspective of the urban space, the features that delineate the focal points of our built landscape that make up the cities we know can and should be applied to Calgary.
As you watch the films next week, listen to how he talks about the importance of the focal points, connecting the “dots” of activity and history. Then think about Calgary.  What do we have in the modern urban landscape? Does it make a difference? Can it make a difference? What ideas do you have to make a difference?

And to get things going, I offer this perspective. What about the Peace Bridge?  What about the Lions, the Calgary Tower, Nose Hill Park and both rivers? And as we create new communities, how can we create the focal points that not only serve the local community, but tie back into the city as a whole. For it is very important to ensure that every community, every neighborhood in the City, is part of the City. That the folks who live in all neighborhoods believe and feel they too are an important part of the larger YYC community and are vested in the decisions that shape our landscape.  That your connection to YYC is equal whether you work downtown and live in the burbs, live downtown and work in the burbs, or live and work in the same community.

See you next week.

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