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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Calgary’s housing future

Trends shaping the city’s short- and long-term development

Absent a crystal ball, the future of housing in Calgary is very much up in the air. At the same time, there are some notable trends that offer clues to what’s on the horizon for the curious, the concerned and those who just like to plan ahead.

“I think the findings from the 2016 census highlight changes in the Calgary housing market,” said Rylan Graham, a sessional instructor in the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary.

“We saw significant growth in many of the inner-city neighborhoods developed pre-World War II, and at the periphery of the city through new greenfield development. These areas are where most of the population growth occurred from 2011-2016.”

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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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SHIFT conference promises opportunity to “experience the future of Calgary”

“It is time to SHIFT or get off the pot!” That’s the call to action Pathways 2 Sustainability – Alberta’s Sustainable Communities Initiative – has issued in advance of its upcoming conference, SHIFT, which takes place June 15-17 at the St. Louis Hotel in Calgary’s East Village.

SHIFT promises attendees an opportunity to “Experience the Future of Calgary – the SHIFT to a resilient society and new economy and what it means for our city.”

“We have a changing political landscape in Alberta and Canada that’s moving to adopt climate resilience in the ways in which we build, design and manage communities and community systems, including food systems, energy systems and transportation systems,” said SHIFT co-ordinator and Pathways 2 Sustainability executive director, Lisa Fox.

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