Oct 22, 2015

PlaceMakers - November 19

On November 19, PlaceMakers will be here to discuss topics unique to Calgary. They will work with conference participants (including community associations, builders and planning staff), to investigate the relationship between our main streets and the neighbourhoods around them using local examples.  

The renewed interest in inner city living has gone a long way to helping us move in the right direction for achieving our goals in the Municipal Development Plan of a better balance of new housing unit construction between the edges of the City and the established neighbourhoods. As this interest grows, so too will the interest level of existing residents in how their community will evolve.

PlaceMakers will help participants understand the relationship between main streets and the adjacent communities as well as flesh out how change along the main streets can benefit those communities. We have seen examples already in Calgary where new construction has brought more retail diversity to local residents, providing greater housing options for new residents or those looking to downsize and stay in the community. One of the best examples is along 1st SE in Bridgeland offering very popular commercial activity mixed in with other uses. The development has also acted as a catalyst for new condo development that has greatly increased the number of residents in the area leading to more new retail offerings for the existing residents…


Many of us are patrons of the great retail offerings in this development in Bridgeland. The development has acted as a positive catalyst for change in the community
Understanding how the corridors can evolve and how the relationship with the surrounding neighbourhood will be critical to our work on main streets over the next year. It is important to identify that change happens “across the street”.  We can see how this has happened over the past 40+ years in many neighbourhoods like Mission.

Take for example the block bounded by 4th and 2nd Streets SW and 20 & 21 Avenues SW. I happen to live on that block in the heart of Mission. Looking at the vintage of some of the infill condo and apartment buildings clearly shows how change back from the main street has been occurring over time.  In fact some are already going over facelifts. My building is almost two years old now and the view from my patio is of an older condo and the brand new (one year) office | retail building fronting on 4th street.


This is the almost two year, old condo where I live in Mission. It replaced some houses that remained after a small condo building was built next to this site as well as the several apartments on the north side of the street, some dating back to the 1970’s. A good example of how neighbourhoods next to retail corridors evolve.

The blocks between 4th and 2nd streets and between 17th and 25th avenues, is a real laboratory for how change has occurred and is still occurring, as the city adapts to the rapid growth we are experiencing. This is the type of relationship I have asked Placemakers to dive into with charette participants.

This is the view from patio, at grade and at the rear facing the lane. The new office building facing 4th St. with the older six storey condo right behind. A terrific example of working medium density and mixed uses into the fabric of the neighbourhood.

As you look down the lane away heading east from 4th St., we can see how my lane has evolved with several 1960 or 70’s small apartment buildings, one just completely gutted and redone. Houses were replaced. These front on 21st. Ave. And across the street on the south side, the houses remain. Exactly the tough subject we want to tackle through our Main Streets work and the Placemakers charette.

Look for the notice heading out soon about the Placemakers event. Get in touch with your Community Association representatives.  Space is limited however early notification about attendance can help us work the numbers into the event.

For more information or to register for the PlaceMakers event please visit the nextCITY Urban Design Speaker Series page.

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