What They’re Saying

A smattering of Calgarians give their thoughts on the city’s new live, work and play developments

Almost 20 years ago with the advent of Seaside, a live, work and play development with a village-type feel on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico in northwest Florida, the philosophy of new urbanism took root.

Based on concepts espoused by renowned urban planner, Jane Jacobs – who designed Greenwich Village in New York City – new urbanism takes the inner-city vibe and brings it to the suburbs. The concept is rooted in historical village-style planning structure, with a central amenity pool in the village centre and high-density housing peppered throughout. It’s a design that draws people out of their homes, and walkability is a central feature. This provides a downtown feel and downtown-style amenities, and the concept is catching on big time in Calgary.

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Middle-ring mindset

A new look at old neighbourhoods

In addition to the Twist and Woodstock, a lot of great neighbourhoods were created in the 1960s. Today, Calgary’s middle-ring suburbs – those developed between 1950 and the early 1970s – face some serious challenges, but, at the same time, some unique opportunities.

“These neighbourhoods are in a good location, fairly close to downtown, and feature large lots with single-family, detached bungalows and split levels,” said Francisco Alaniz Uribe, an assistant professor in the faculty of environmental design at the University of Calgary. Uribe co-authored a study on the city’s middle-ring communities with his colleague Beverly A. Sandalack, professor and associate dean with the faculty of environmental design.

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Aging gracefully

Leaders in middle-ring suburbs grapple with current challenges, while looking to the future

Calgary is a city that is continuing to grow and expand, with new suburbs and surrounding areas showing marked growth this year, yielding new infrastructure and amenities for residents. However, while Calgary’s newer communities expand, older communities are experiencing unique challenges.

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The forgotten option

Middle-ring neighbourhoods offer perfect balance of suburban charm and inner-city convenience

Between the inner city and the burgeoning suburbs lie Calgary’s so-called “middle-ring neighbourhoods,” a concept explored in a 2010 study by the University of Calgary’s faculty of environmental design.

As the study describes, Calgary’s 80 middle-ring neighbourhoods – which include communities like Acadia, Glamorgan and Huntington Hills – are those developed between the 1950s and 1970s and “poised to undergo redevelopment.”

Canyon Meadows, established in 1963, is one such community. When Gurmit Bhachu, the current president of the Canyon Meadows Community Association, moved to Calgary in 2004, he and his wife looked for a home.

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