Two Calgary initiatives were recognized at the July 29 council meeting after earning recognition both nationally and internationally.

Firstly Mayor Naheed Nenshi recognized the Bow to Bluff Initiative, which earned a reward for New and Emerging Planning from the Canadian Institute of Planners. Bow to Bluff is a citizen-led initiative to create great public places in the city starting with the public corridor along the Sunnyside LRT line between the Bow River and McHugh Bluff.

“The reason they won the award,” Nenshi said, “Is the Bow to Bluff pioneered an innovative model of citizen empowerment to direct public space planning and design, over 2,500 people in the community were engaged in just seven weeks, 2,000 ideas for transforming the public space were gathered and the team held storefront hours, created 25 different events and organized a variety of activities in the corridor.”

Framework for the Bow to Bluff design was put together by O2 Planning + Design. Andrew Palmiere, principal, senior urban and regional planner for the company was on hand with several others behind Bow to Bluff to accept the award from Nenshi.

“Really what Bow to Bluff showed us in particular was that planning and place making and city building are really a result of, not consultants going in and doing a project or even administration, but that composite of dedicated volunteers, an active and engaged public and all of those pieces really coming together,” he said. “I think the result really was something special and unique.”

Also recognized was Calgary’s RouteAhead initiative, which earned a regional award as a “groundbreaking strategic plan with fantastic innovations and engagement” from the International Association of Public Transport.

RouteAhead will document the strategic framework guiding public transit in the city over the next 30 years. The public was engaged through several events once the RouteAhead plan was approved by City Council on March 4.

“RouteAhead was the culmination of a year of intense work by an internal city team that was brought together and charged with the delivery of an all encompassing plan with broad citizen engagement in a very, very short timeline,” said Nenshi.