Middle-ring mindset

A new look at old neighbourhoods

In addition to the Twist and Woodstock, a lot of great neighbourhoods were created in the 1960s. Today, Calgary’s middle-ring suburbs – those developed between 1950 and the early 1970s – face some serious challenges, but, at the same time, some unique opportunities.

“These neighbourhoods are in a good location, fairly close to downtown, and feature large lots with single-family, detached bungalows and split levels,” said Francisco Alaniz Uribe, an assistant professor in the faculty of environmental design at the University of Calgary. Uribe co-authored a study on the city’s middle-ring communities with his colleague Beverly A. Sandalack, professor and associate dean with the faculty of environmental design.

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Connected communities

Hub living is the name of the game when it comes to new-neighbourhood design in northwest Calgary

When discussing the current trend of building Calgary residential communities around “hubs” (also known as “activity centres” or “nodes”), the phrase “back to the future” seems apt.

“It’s about concentrating uses and activities in one area … It’s how settlements and civilizations have been developing forever,” said Beverly Sandalack, associate dean and professor of landscape architecture and planning in the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design.

“It fell out of favour post-World War II with the over-reliance on the car, but, except for this 50-year aberration, main streets have always been the centre of community activity and business.”

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Breaking new ground

The fascinating history of Calgary’s first lake community

On a cold February day in 1968, a fleet of heavy equipment began stripping the prairie grass from a tract of land in southeast Calgary for a new community.

But any spectators to the activity might have been surprised when the machines started excavating deep into the ground.

It was the unlikely beginnings of Lake Bonavista, a new neighbourhood built by legendary builder and developer E.V. Keith that would become the first manmade lake community in Canada. Calgary now has almost a dozen lake communities, but back in the late 1960s it was a radical idea.

“Crazy,” is how Les Cosman recalled the reaction from most people to Keith’s plans, formed after he took an airplane flight over some early lake communities in Los Angeles.

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In search of vibrancy

Downsizing baby boomers have different needs than previous generations

What’s the difference between the baby boomer generation of empty nesters and retirees, and previous generations?

According to Calvin Buss, president of Buss Marketing and a boomer himself, today’s empty nesters, if they retire at all, want to “do things” instead of retiring “to die.”

And that new view of aging has also changed their approach to downsizing, says Buss, who has marketed and sold large condo projects in Calgary for almost three decades.

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