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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Living architecture

Green roofs add a touch of nature to the concrete jungle

Great thinkers have always known that nature is essential to the human spirit. Perhaps that is why more and more architects, designers and builders are choosing to create green retreats in their designs, including rooftops that allow the eye to drink in nature’s beauty.

“There are just so many benefits to green roofs,” said Kerry Ross, one of Canada’s leading green roof experts and the first accredited green roof professional in the country. She spearheaded a number of “living architecture” projects, including the eco-roof at the University of Calgary Research Park and the green roof initiative at Calgary City Hall.

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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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