Jun 16, 2014

Growing smart isn't an overnight change

Posted by Michele Broadhurst

Last week City staff presented City Councillors with the first of many reports on our progress towards the goals in the Municipal Development Plan and Calgary Transportation Plan. Council has asked us to produce these reports every four years so that they can use the information to set priorities for each four-year budget cycle.

As someone who had the opportunity to work on this report, I am happy to see that many of the things we are doing as a city are helping to manage our growth better.

Over the last six years, we have managed to reverse the trend of people leaving our older neighbourhoods to move to new communities on the outskirts. We have also seen a 10 per cent increase in the density of people living here, which makes it more viable for us to offer the services that Calgarians want and need for a cost we can afford. The new communities we are building are also more complete, providing residents with a mix of housing options, the opportunity to work in their neighbourhood and the ability to meet their daily needs closer to home.

But there is still a long way to go. We need to spread the jobs in our city out more so that people do not have to drive a long way to get to where they work. We also need to create an even greater mix of land uses so that commercial and residential properties are close to each other and each community – regardless of when it was built – has a variety of housing and work options.

Fortunately, building a city is more of a marathon than a sprint so we have time to keep improving. The new Municipal Development Plan and Calgary Transportation Plan are only four years old, and it takes many years for changes to how we plan our city to become the physical reality. In fact, many of the things we measured in this report are actually the result of development decisions made before the new Municipal Development Plan and Calgary Transportation Plan were approved. But it still shows that we are largely on the right track and, if we continue on this path, the 60-year vision that Calgarians helped us create is within our reach.

And that is something that makes me look forward to work every day!

Michele Broadhurst is the Manager of City Wide Strategy with The City of Calgary’s Planning, Development & Assessment department. She has worked for The City for 18 years and is passionate about the importance data like the 2013 Monitor Report plays in helping us make better decisions as a City.

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