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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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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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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Kensington connection

Thriving community of Sunnyside is beloved by residents and developers alike

A community with an undeniable entrepreneurial and artistic character, Sunnyside is a place where anything can happen, and often does. Together with its western neighbour, Hillhurst, it makes up the funky, inner-city village known as Kensington, with its inspired restaurants and popular watering holes.

Events like the annual summer-time favourite Harry Potter Festival frequently transform the streets. During the Harry Potter Festival, muggles and wizards alike can try on a wand for size or flip through a “Marauder’s Map” at Flourish & Blotts (the one-day only rebrand of Pages Bookstore), have tea leaves read, or scoot across town by departing from platform nine and three-quarters at the Sunnyside CTrain station.

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