The new reality

Calgary homebuilders adapt in the face of adversity

There’s no question that demand in the Calgary housing market eased following the collapse of oil prices in late 2014.

The impact of that global event sent shockwaves through the local economy, as thousands of people lost their jobs through two brutal years of recession in 2015 and 2016.

A slowing economy and job uncertainty always have an impact on the housing market, and the city saw a corresponding ease in home demand.

However, Calgary’s homebuilders have been resilient and creative.

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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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Diverse development

Innovative University District set to fill area housing gap

The concept of an all-in-one community where residents can live, work and play was the inspiration for Calgary’s University District, a comprehensive 200-acre community featuring a mix of residential housing, office space, retail developments, parks and green space.

Under development in northwest Calgary, University District is a community that typifies shifting attitudes about the city’s expansion, says James Robertson, president and CEO of West Campus Development Trust.

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Main-street makeover

City of Calgary Main Streets initiative aims to revitalize streetscapes and bring communities together

In late September, a throng of Bridgeland residents turned out for the first annual community-organized passeggiata, visiting cultural and business stops along the neighbourhood’s main thoroughfare, ending in celebration at the street’s General Square.

This passeggiata — a leisurely promenade or stroll in the Italian tradition — and other activities like it are exactly what the City of Calgary’s Main Streets initiative is designed to encourage across 24 different city streets.

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