Taras Grescoe was the latest keynote speaker in Calgary’s Soul of the City speaker series presented by Calgary Economic Development, the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre and Calgary Transit yesterday at Fort Calgary.
In Driving Change, Wheeling Possibilities; the future of getting around in Calgary, Grescoe, an authour, speaker and researcher who lived in Calgary in the ’70s spoke about his varying experiences with transportation around the world. Here’s some of what he had to say.
“What a city that’s really serious about keeping itself moving about, is the kind of transit mode that fits its urban form.”
“Transit isn’t necessarily about the shiny and the new, about light rail and subway systems, it’s about mobility. The mobility has to be matched with artistry and imagination in the city you’re bringing it to. If you’re looking for bang for your transportation buck, slapping a billion dollar rail project on a city sometimes isn’t the best way to go.”
“In North America it’s been estimated that 45 per cent of the population lives in central cities, older suburbs, small towns; areas that can be very well served by transit. However, by surface area, about 80 per cent of the continent looks more like … cul-de-sacs and loops and lollipops. Some people think this kind of sprawl can be repaired. Density can be boosted, that dead malls can be turned into multi-family dwellings and big box stores and strip malls can be repurposed.
“There is some of this going on but it’s a very slow process. This is the challenge that Calgary faces. Much of its post war growth has been in what urbanists call auto-centric sprawl, it’s a landscape that’s singularly resistant to transit.”