Inward growth

City continues process of intensification, as communities adjust to higher-density living

For a long time, news stories about development in Calgary tended to paint a picture of a city growing out of control, with headlines like “Calgary battles urban sprawl” or “Calgary versus the car: the city that declared war on urban sprawl.”

Rylan Graham, an instructor in the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design, says after the Second World War, much of the population growth in cities occurred on the urban-rural fringe.

“This is the form of growth that is often connected with the term urban sprawl,” he said. “Generally, planning has come to recognize the ills of urban sprawl – that it is unsustainable socially, economically and environmentally.”

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Inner-city escapes

Parks are especially important in densely developed downtown

“Quality, not quantity” is how City of Calgary parks manager Keath Parker characterizes green spaces in Calgary’s downtown core, an area that’s not only home to tall office towers, but residential neighbourhoods as well, including the Beltline (Connaught and Victoria Park), East Village and Eau Claire.

Parker explains it wasn’t until the mid-1960s that the province’s Municipal Government Act (MGA) gave municipalities the authority to take up to 10 per cent of a development for open public space. Residential neighbourhoods developed prior to that tend not to have as much green space as those created after the MGA.

However, Calgary’s downtown is still far from a cold, concrete jungle. In fact, there are 24 parks in the downtown area covering roughly 65 hectares of open green space, according to the City.

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Community rebirth

Revitalized East Village is becoming “the place to be” in downtown Calgary

The summer sun rises eagerly in the early morning sky, casting a glittering cascade of twinkling light on the surface of the Bow River. Joggers and dog walkers scoot along the river pathway, enjoying the public art and the perfection of nature against the city’s skyline. The smell of freshly roasted coffee and savoury bready morsels wafts from the Simmon’s Building, its glass-sheathed doors flung open in anticipation of the day. Just steps away, store owners set out their wares in the newly launched pop-up retail park, as brightly coloured shipping containers frame the backdrop and the East Village hums to life.

“The East Village is all about connecting people and the new pop-up retail park – East Village Junction – is one of the major place-making initiatives happening this summer,” said Jessa Morrison, senior manager of marketing and communications for Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, the developer behind the East Village, a 49-acre revitalization project on the east side of Calgary’s downtown.

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The view from up here

With a commanding view of the city, Joshua Pinter and Michelle Maguire are enjoying the high life

Thirty-somethings Joshua Pinter and Michelle Maguire made the leap into home ownership in November of 2016.

The couple purchased a two-bedroom home on the 26th floor of the second tower at the Guardian project in Victoria Park. The recently married and energetic duo have busy careers: Joshua is a product manager for a software company and Michelle works in business development. The couple says they both have the downtown mentality so they kept their home search to a small radius around the core. They both loved the view from the Guardian with its floor-to-ceiling glazing and vistas of both the mountains and the downtown’s high rises.

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The ‘In’ crowd

Inner-city communities offering residents plenty to get excited about

From the historic streets of Inglewood to the shopping district along 17th Avenue, Calgary’s inner city represents an eclectic and ever-changing mix of stories, style and substance. After all, these are areas where 100-year-old brick buildings seamlessly interchange with high-rise construction cranes.

Yet for those who live in Calgary`s inner city, it isn’t just their surroundings and amenities that make it special. It’s the people.

“Sure we have our night markets, Christmas celebrations and kitschy shops, but what makes Ramsay and Inglewood an exceptional place to live are the people,” said local resident Natalia Jezierska.

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