Snapshot: 2015 Urban Design Invitational, Bridgeland-Riverside ed.

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Active Neighbourhoods (ANC) has been engaging Bridgeland-Riverside since July 2014 to find out the good, the bad and the “meh” of its public spaces, engaging over 600 residents and business owners and 22 organizations.

Wednesday’s 2015 Urban Design Invitational, Bridgeland-Riverside edition, was the professional design workshop phase of the project. Using data and community feedback gathered by ANC, local designers and community members spent the day developing a series of design concepts, and discussed feasibility. Designers with ANC are now working to package these concepts, which will go back to Bridgeland residents at the Farmers’ Market in August 2015.  Residents will be asked to prioritize, provide feedback, and select at least one design project to move forward with.

Many thanks to those who donated their time and expertise to the 2015 Urban Design Invitational!  Bridgeland is fortunate and unique in its wealth of local design expertise, and is blessed with dedicated and passionate community members.

Thanks also to the Bridgeland Market, Black Pig Bistro and Cannibale for delicious food, hospitality, and insight on the neighbourhood, and to the 22 NHTV (Breda) students from Holland, who delivered an extra burst of energy and innovative design ideas – and seemed unphased by the threat of rain, wind, tornados and golf-ball sized hail.  Thank you Black Pig Bistro for saving them from the descending apocalypse.

Stay tuned for more on Active Neighbourhoods in Bridgeland-Riverside, and have a lovely weekend!

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Calgary’s Public Art Walking Tour

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By Sydney Honsberger-Grant
Photos By Grace Honsberger-Grant

Art: that elective you bemoaned in junior high, or the theme of all too many boring museums. It can sometimes be difficult to recognize the arts amidst pretentious critics and excessive air conditioning, but there is no denying that art can have a profound and positive value in society. Calgary’s Public Art Policy acknowledges this power, noting that art engages citizens with their urban environment by attracting creative folk and encouraging reflection. To put it plainly, overall enjoyment of our city relies heavily on the artwork within.

It is uplifting to know, then, that Calgary hosts an abundance of street art that challenge any preconceived ideas of art appreciation. You’ll find a wide range of sizes and styles painted on Calgary’s walls, and every piece embodies a refreshing sense of playfulness – a reminder that art can enliven communities without being confined to a museum. Enjoying street art is as simple as taking a post-work stroll or making a few stops on your bike ride home, and goes hand-in-hand with beautiful summer weather.

This short walk or bike from downtown highlights some of Calgary’s most notable pieces, including works from artists Earthfolk and Jarett Sitter. The route takes you through several interesting parts of town before ending in Kensington, where you can play your own version of art critic on the banks of the Bow.

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Keep an eye out for street art in other areas, too. Calgary is alive with alleyway artwork and overpass opuses, and it’s fun to spot street art in different neighborhoods. All it takes is a little creativity, proper footwear, and some free time, and you’ll forget you ever felt reluctant about art at all.


1425673_10153480407835145_136773090_nSydney is a recent graduate from the University of British Columbia, where she studied chemistry, math, and Earth sciences. She is now pursuing a career in the environmental field with hopes to return to the west coast. She fills her free time with coffee, novels, and watercolours.

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Review of Calgary’s New Cycle Tracks

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By Kate Beck

Calgary’s new cycle tracks through the downtown core have been a major topic of discussion this summer. There have been many positive reviews, some mixed reviews, and some negative reviews, so I decided to go check the new cycle tracks out for myself.

Like we’ve done in the past with some of our projects, I used Jan Gehl’s place observation method, which basically means spending a few hours observing the cycle tracks, taking notes, snapping photographs and having conversations with people. Here are my observations and thoughts.

Date: July 2, 2015
Time: 3:00-5:00 pm
Locations: 8th Avenue and 4th St SW, 8th Avenue and 5th St SW

A Conversation I Had

A photographer was taking photos of people on the same street corner I was doing my observations. He asked what I was doing, I asked what he was doing, and we started up a conversation about people, sidewalks and bike lanes, that sort of thing. A few interesting things came up in our conversation;

1) I asked the photographer what he thought of the new bike lanes, and he pointed to the wheel chair he was sitting in and explained how cracked and bumpy the sidewalks downtown are. He told me that it was pretty difficult to be a pedestrian in a wheelchair downtown. He seemed somewhat frustrated that the people on bicycles could now safely and rapidly get through the downtown core, while he was stuck with his wheels on the cracked sidewalks.

2) He asked me if I thought the cycle tracks were built for white middle class men to bike to and from work. I paused and thought about it for a while, because the comment made some sense. The cycle tracks don’t connect to Calgary’s industrial areas, they don’t pass by any schools, they pass by a few grocery stores. They really only seem to connect the business area in the downtown core with the existing river pathways.

I decided to count the number of men, women and children using the cycle tracks to see if the photographer’s comment was valid. Here’s what I found

Who is using the cycle tracks?
8th Ave and 5th St SW 4:30-5:00 pm

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So the majority of people biking on the cycle tracks seem to be men, however compared to the data collected by the City of Calgary in 2013, which states that 79% of people biking in the city were male, we seem to be seeing more women, youth and families using the cycle tracks even though the tracks are mainly connecting the business core. That’s pretty cool!

Why the diversity?

According to this research, young men are more likely to take risks, while women and people over the age of 65 are much more risk averse. Separated cycle tracks are safer, they reduce the risk of injury by 90% according to this study. More importantly, however, separated cycle tracks make women, elderly people and children feel safer, which means these groups are more likely to use them.

Here are my observations and photos of the array of people using Calgary’s downtown cycle tracks

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My Observations

On the cycle tracks

  • 1 couple on a tandem bike, the woman on the back of the bike had a broken arm
  • 1 man biking with a trailer full of bags of cans and bottles
  • 1 person in a handicap bike
  • 3 people biking with cowboy hats
  • 3 people skateboarding in the cycle tracks
  • 2 kids under the age of 10 biking

On the sidewalks and crosswalks

  • 4 people in wheel chairs
  • 7 people with strollers
  • 1 photographer
  • 6 people dressed up as Vikings
  • 3 people sitting on benches
  • 2 travellers trying to find a bus stop


People Breaking Rules

I’ve heard a lot of people say that even with the cycle tracks, cyclists are still riding on the roads and sidewalks, they’re still not stopping at 4 way intersections and they’re still not signalling when turning. I decided to record the number of cyclists “breaking the rules” at the intersections I was at, however, I soon realized that cyclists were not the only people on the roads and sidewalks “breaking the rules”.

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People Breaking Rules

  • 5 cyclists riding on the sidewalks
  • 1 pedestrian standing in the cycle track taking a photo (slowing bike traffic)
  • 2 people walking in the cycle tracks
  • 1 cyclist in the wrong bike lane
  • 1 pedestrian walking on through car traffic
  • 1 cyclist did an illegal turn to get on to the bike path
  • 1 car making an illegal right turn, nearly hitting 3 cyclists in the intersection who had the right of way

In all, I think it’s important to remember that the cycle tracks are new, Calgary has never really had anything like this before. It may take some time for cyclists, drivers and pedestrians to get used to the cycle tracks. When biking, walking or driving, I think it’s really important to remember this and allow for all of the road’s users to make a few mistakes without dangerous consequences.

Are They Worth It?

Firstly I should say that personally, I am a huge supporter of Calgary’s newest cycling additions.  I think they are really beneficial for the downtown community and so important in directing how are city grows.

However, when looking at these observations, conversations and some numbers, are the cycle tracks worth it? In terms of official counts, which state that cycling has increased by 44% compared to 2014 and currently 5000-8000 people use the cycle tracks per week (remember; this is potentially 44% fewer people driving and 5000-8000 fewer people a week driving downtown), I would say the cycle tracks are really doing their job!

Based on my observations and conversations I’ve had with people over the last month, I’m a little more critical of the new cycle tracks. Firstly, I think the photographer I was talking with may have a point, the cycle tracks may be more useful for those who work downtown, however a wider array of people seem to be biking downtown than before the cycle tracks were installed, which is really great! It’s also important to note that people go downtown for other reasons than just work. People go to shop, to the many restaurants, and for entertainment as well, so we can’t discount the importance of the cycle tracks for these uses. Secondly, I think the cycle tracks will take a while to get used to, and it’s important that people biking, driving and walking pay a little more attention to the roads than they did before. Thirdly, I think the photographer I was talking to was right about his other point, in the excitement cycling has generated in our city over the past year, we can’t forget about safety and wellbeing of our pedestrians.


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Official Counts – Comparing Last year to this year on the Peace Bridge
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Got some feedback? Talk to the city directly by calling 3-1-1


Garrard, J., G. Rose, and S. Lo. “Promoting Transportation Cycling For Women: The Role Of Bicycle Infrastructure.” Preventive Medicine (2008): 55-59.

Halek, Martin, and Joseph G. Eisenhauer. “Demography of Risk Aversion.” The Journal of Risk and Insurance (2001)

Teschke, Kay, M. Anne Harris, Conor C. O. Reynolds, Meghan Winters, Shelina Babul, Mary Chipman, Michael D. Cusimano, Jeff R. Brubacher, Garth Hunte, Steven M. Friedman, Melody Monro, Hui Shen, Lee Vernich, and Peter A. Cripton. “Route Infrastructure and the Risk of Injuries to Bicyclists: A Case-Crossover Study.” American Journal of Public Health (2012): 2336-343.

Cycle Count information

7th Ave SW

Peace Bridge

Stephen Ave


Me ANCKate Beck is an aspiring urban planner who’s passionate about streets, social justice, bicycles and rock climbing. She has recently finished a degree in geography at University of British Columbia in Vancouver and will be studying transportation planning at UC Berkeley beginning in September 2015.


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Bridgeland – What is the Community Saying?

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“Bridgeland has more diversity, we fit in here as a family.”

For the last year, Active Neighbourhoods has been working with residents, business owners and the community association in Bridgeland to engage citizens in the planning and development occurring in the neighbourhood and improve the community’s access to active transportation options.

We have collected a number of photos and quotes from community members about what they thing the Bridgeland community needs more of.

Memorial Drive and Edmonton Trail

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“There should be a pedestrian and bike bridge across Memorial.”

“We need to add bike lanes, wider sidewalk, reduce [car] lanes in this intersection.”

“Bud’s Building [on Edmonton Trail near Memorial Drive] is covered in lots of graffiti, and feels dangerous. It’s actually a heritage building, could this be a reason to clean the building up?”

“All the cross walks between Memorial and the bottom of the hill on 4th Street NE feel dangerous because they are difficult to access for pedestrians and pedestrians are often not visible to cars”

The Bridgeland-Downtown Connection

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“Right now, the only pleasant way to walk or bike downtown [from Bridgeland] is to cross at the LRT station. The other bridges [4th Ave and 5th Ave] have too much traffic and feel pretty unsafe.”

“There should be a pedestrian and bike bridge across Memorial.”

“Its difficult and unattractive to access the river and the downtown core from Memorial”

“In 5 years, with the completion of East Village, I hope the East Village residents will feel engaged by Bridgeland, especially in the early days when there won’t be many businesses in East Village. If those residents don’t have a way to easily, quickly and safely walk to Bridgeland, then that is something that we will have to figure out, and that will increase walk-by traffic for our local businesses.”

1st Avenue North East

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“The pizza bar [916 1st Ave] is great, but do people know it’s there?”

“Luke’s Drug Mart does a great job with lighting and snow removal.  It contributes to safety and accessibility.”

“Blue Star has done a great job of bringing people and vibrancy to their block.”

“Because Starbucks is open late, walking [by the General Plaza on 1st Ave and 9th Street] feels safer.”

“1st Ave is quite wide near Langevin Elementary school, which often makes drivers feel like they can go faster. Narrowing the road will slow down traffic.”

“There are some long stretches without benches on 1st Ave, we need more benches for seniors to stop along the way.”

“As a business owner and resident, I’d like to see more outdoor patios. They put more life on the street. In general, we need more life on the street, whether that’s trees or plants or people. It’s the quickest and easiest way to have a big impact. Create outdoor spaces where people are going to go.”

“I want more roundabouts, in the neighbourhoods in general.  In Australia there are lots of roundabouts with gardens, where people sit and watch over the street.  [With roundabouts there is] less stopping and starting, and fewer emissions associated with this kind of intersection.”

“Cars on 1st Ave often don’t stop for pedestrians.”

“[As a business owner, it’s frustrating because] businesses aren’t allowed to put out signs.   We need permits, and even then, the locations we can put our signs are limited.  The businesses [on 1st Ave] need more visibility, but we also want to make sure it’s sensible signage, in terms of aesthetics”

“The parking lot across from the school on 1st Ave creates a long stretch of empty, dark space after 6:00pm. During the day the areas seems friendly, but at night it’s totally empty!”

9th Street North East and the LRT Station

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“The crosswalk to the C-Train station is so close to the turn-off from Memorial Drive, cars are moving really quickly.”

“On 9th Ave there isn’t anywhere else to go besides the train station. It’s sort of a dead zone.”

“The LRT Station feels unsafe, it would be great to create the station as an entrance to the Bridgeland community, to make it a destination with cafes or restaurants.”

“It would be great to make 9th Street more happening, it would be great to have more shops on the street?”

“We need better lighting and more people at C-train stop.  Seniors won’t take the LRT late at night.”

Bridgeland Community Centre and Community Park

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“It would be great to have more benches in the community centre area.”

“There is no ramp to the community centre, which makes it difficult to access for people in wheelchairs or with walkers or strollers”

“I wouldn’t walk through park by the community association at night, there are too many dips and bushes.”

“I love the Farmers’ Market, it has changed my lifestyle.  Many other seniors do too.”

“It would be great to have a shuttle bus from Bridgeland’s seniors’ homes that go to the Farmers’ Market every week.”

Tom Campbell Hill Park

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“On a nice day, you can find 100 people and their dogs, including dog-walking companies”

“Tom Campbell Park is a natural nesting area, we shouldn’t allow large off-leash areas except very limited fenced areas.  Natural nesting first!”

“Leave Tom Campbell Hill alone and natural.”

“Protect our limited green space!”

Pathways in Bridgeland

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“We need links/bridges to connect and expand pathways on the escarpment to Crescent Heights and Sunnyside.”

“The pathways along the Bow River, north of the Zoo need to respect ground nesters’ habitat!”

“No one is on the Bow River pathways at night. We need more restaurants and bars. People will attract people.”

South Bridgeland

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“Some of the intersections in this area feel unsafe, specifically 8th Street and 9th Ave SE intersection”

“Next to the Children’s Cottage and the tennis courts, it’s confusing as to where to walk. There are no lines painted, there’s a curb cut here and there, but the pedestrian path is not clearly marked.  It might be a good place for a shared space or change in texture?”

The Neighbourhood – Services, Amenities and Programming

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“We need annual events at St Patrick’s island.””Bridgeland definitely needs a skating rink.”

“The old General Hospital is a big part of our history.”

“There’s a natural amphitheatre by the Bridgeland Community Centre, it would be great to make this area into a better music venue.”

“Luke’s Drug Mart has done a fabulous job lighting up their storefront, and providing activities for different groups of people.”

 “The hubs of activity are not dispersed through the community enough. When new places go in, we need to think about dispersal.”

“We should be preserving our history better. The Bridgeland Bungalow, the Cecil Hotel, Langevin School, the firehall and the Lutheran Church are all important.”

Getting Around Bridgeland

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“There is good access to city transit with the Bus #9 and the c-train.”“Let’s leverage what already exists, like the wide sidewalks in the neighbourhood.  There’s great pedestrian potential in Bridgeland.”

“There’s really good access to the bikelanes from Bridgeland.”

“In the winter, there’s often snow in the way of the curbs, it’s especially difficult to cross if you have mobility issues, like with a walker or scooter. Why can’t this be shovelled or cleared?”

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By Leanne Junnila | 4.15.2015

What makes a good neighbourhood? It seems we aren’t sure anymore. Much of the time that we could be spending enjoying leisure time is instead spent behind the wheel of a vehicle or in front of the television. We are forced to commute by vehicle to work and when we arrive home at the end of the day, our streets lack interesting features and amenities, so we gravitate toward staying home. Watching television is more destructive to social ties than employment-related time or money pressures[1]. The television has become the family’s primary connection with the outside world, and because it competes for leisure time, it is now the single biggest predictor of civic disengagement, across countries and races[2]. Second to the television is commuting by car[3].

Besides housing, neighbourhoods are essentially made up of ‘necessary’ and ‘optional’ activities[4]. Necessary activities could be going to the bank or the grocery store, and optional activities could be walking in a park, sitting at a café with friends, or watching an outdoor theatre performance. The best neighbourhoods have more optional activities, in other words people choose to spend time in public spaces in their neighbourhoods rather than leaving their homes only out of necessity. It creates an upward spiral in which the more optional activities people participate in, the more the quality of the neighbourhood improves, which creates even more optional activity, and so forth. The East Village in Calgary is a good example of this type of upward spiral. Better yet, this upward spiral is healthy for us; humans subconsciously gravitate toward other humans, and benefit from their proximity. When given the choice between a lively street or a quiet one, most people will choose the lively street because there are more people to be around[5]. People walking on the street don’t stop to look at shops that lack a human element, for example banks, but they often stop to look at children’s toys, photos, and items related to other people. In public areas, people mostly gravitate to areas where other people are participating in activities or where there are a number of shops with human related “artifacts [6]. City residents are happier when they feel connected to the people and places around them[7].

This feeling of connectedness to a social network is called ‘social capital’[8]. For example, in 2014 Avenue Magazine respondents rated the best neighbourhoods in Calgary to live and they were all selected based on the optional activities they offered (not how many banks and grocery stores they have): Arbour Lake for those looking for lake style amenities and walking paths, Hillhurst/Sunnyside for access to the pathway system and boutique shops, and Southwood for its shopping access and annual ‘Rhubarb Festival’, just to name a few.

Antonio Gomez-Palacio, a Principal at Dialog Design, found that a car-oriented neighbourhood has a 50% obesity rate and a pedestrian-oriented neighbourhood, a 10% obesity rate, give or take [9]. He says that pedestrians are an ‘indicator species’, meaning that in an urban “ecosystem” (a neighbourhood can be seen as a mini eco-system), more pedestrians equal a healthier ecosystem, and fewer pedestrians indicates a problem with that ecosystem. If developers design for people, the people will come (and so will the economic benefits). Calgarians need to demand a variety of amenities so that developers respond to the market. Start thinking about the types of amenities that might be lacking in your neighbourhood. Think big, Calgary. Let’s make this an even better city to live.

IMG_2262Leanne is currently completing a masters degree at the University of Calgary, Faculty of Environmental Design, on the public realm and how people interact in cities.






[1] Putnam, Robert (2000). “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community”. Simon and Schuster, NY.

[2] Putnam, Robert (2000). “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community”. Simon and Schuster, NY.

[3] Putnam, Robert (2000). “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community”. Simon and Schuster, NY.

[4] Gehl, Jan (2006). “Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space”. Island Press.

[5] Gehl, Jan (2006). “Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space”. Island Press

[6] Gehl, Jan (2006). “Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space”. Island Press

[7][7] Leyden, Kevin, (2011). “Understanding the Pursuit of Happiness in Ten Major Cities”. Urban Affairs Review. 47-6, 861-888.

[8] Grillo, Michae,l (2010). “Residential Satisfaction and Civic Engagement: Understanding the Causes of Community Participation”. Social Indicators Research. 97-3, 451-456.

[9] Gomez-Palacio (2013).

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Playable Cities: Where to Play in Calgary


Photo Source:

Photo Source:

Cities around the world are beginning to realize that playgrounds may not be enough to keep residents and visitors engaged and enjoying public life. We are beginning to see musical swings at bus stops in Montreal, an interactive play museum in St. Louis, and slip and slides down city streets in a number of cities around the world, but what does Calgary have to offer?


The Chinook Arc at Barb Scott Park

The massive Chinook Arc art installation in Calgary’s Beltline lights up during the evening and changes colour in response to people moving around and touching the structure.

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Wreck City

Wreck City was a community-based art project that redesigned a whole block of houses and garages that were scheduled for demolition into temporary art and performance spaces.


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Demo Tape

Demo Tape is a new project curated by the Wreck City Artist Collective and will align with the Sled Island Music Festival on June 19-28, 2015. The art installation will be held in the Penguin Car Wash in Ramsay neighbourhood.


Calgary Slip and Slide

Slide the City will be hosting a slip and slide down Calgary’s streets on August 1st, 2015.


Lawn Chair Theatre

The City of Calgary hosts live entertainment in different community parks every Thursday evening in July and August. All you have to do is bring a lawn chair, some snacks to share, and be ready to either laugh, dance or cry with your neighbours. Check out show locations for this summer here.


Photo Source:

Park(ing) Day in Calgary

Each year Open Streets celebrates international Park(ing) Day by paying for a parking stall downtown and turning it into a mini park for the day. Park(ing) Day is the third Friday of September each year.


Kate2-150x150Kate Beck is an aspiring urban planner who’s passionate about streets, social justice, bicycles and rock climbing. She has recently finished a degree in geography at University of British Columbia in Vancouver and will be studying transportation planning at UC Berkeley beginning in September 2015.

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Five Fast Facts – Playable Cities


playable city

1. Playable Cities Rethink the Purpose of Our Cities

Playable Cities is an idea that puts people and play at the heart of the design of the future city and encourages residents and visitors to rethink services, places and stories in our cities. Playable Cities breaks away from the idea that cities must focus only on the movement of people and products, and aims to build cities that allow residents and visitors to spend time, enjoy themselves and connect with one another.


2. Playgrounds Aren’t Enough, Playable Cities Integrates Play into All Parts of Our City

In recent years, we have turned to computer and tv screens for entertainment and our cities’ playgrounds are getting used less frequently. The report “Using Behavioural Economics to create Playable Cities” suggests that instead of setting aside places for play we should integrate play into our streets, sides walks and communities. For example, these musical swings at bus stops allow people to play on their daily commute.


3. Playable Cities Empower Citizens to Create Happier, More Connected Urban Communities

Usman Haque, an urban designer who specializes in designing interactive environments, builds public installations that allow people to collaborate with neighbours and take collective ownership of their environments.  For example, his installation in Bradford’s City Park allows people to choreograph fountains and lights through movement.


4. Playable Cities Intimately Connect Strangers

Most public spaces are designed to facilitate interaction, whether it be intersections that allow drivers to take turns, or park benches that allow strangers to sit beside one another. However playable cities are designed to facilitate very intimate forms of social interaction by getting strangers to play with one another. For example the City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri, initiates play between museum visitors by designing tunnel hallways, slideabe staircases and interactive exhibits that visitors cannot fully experience unless they do so with one another.

C8RX6T Before I die I want interactive public art project

5. Playable Cities are a Movement Away from Technology-Focused Cities

Smart cities, cities that use technology to improve performance and wellbeing and reduce costs and the use of resources  by engaging with citizens, have been criticised for cutting off those who cannot or choose not to manage cities using technology. Playable cities aim to create simple opportunities for all citizens to playfully participate in our public spaces, such as this Before I Die Wall that invited people to write or draw in chalk on a public blackboard.


More on Playable Cities


Kate2-150x150Kate Beck is an aspiring urban planner who’s passionate about streets, social justice, bicycles and rock climbing. She has recently finished a degree in geography at University of British Columbia in Vancouver and will be studying transportation planning at UC Berkeley beginning in September 2015.

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Part 3 of 3: What can Calgary learn from Edmonton’s WinterCity Strategy?


Photo Credit: Edmonton Journal

Calgarians don’t like to admit that Edmonton has us beat in some respects, but in terms of designing a city strategy that aims to create a vibrant, well-functioning winter city, we think Calgary could take a few pointers from our rival to the North.

Edmonton’s WinterCity Strategy

The City of Edmonton’s WinterCity Strategy explores the potential that winter can offer the city’s residents, businesses, industry and visitors in terms of creating a more inviting, vibrant and prosperous city during the winter. From street hockey tournaments and signature winter drinks to building public gathering places designed to capture sunlight and block the wind, the City of Edmonton aims to create a more vibrant and authentically Edmonton winter city by focusing on 10 goals that call for social, cultural and economic change.

Check out 25 Reasons to Love Edmonton's Winters

Check out 25 Reasons to Love Edmonton’s Winters

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Check out Edmonton's Freezeway Proposal

Check out Edmonton’s Freezeway Proposal

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photo credit:

IllumiNITE Edmonton Sculpture Competition photo credit:

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Check out Edmonton's Ski to the LRT Plan

Check out Edmonton’s Ski to the LRT Plan


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Check out Edmonton’s WinterCity Implementation Plan here or follow WinterCity Edmonton on twitter here

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4 Great Reasons to Invest in Cities’ Natural Environments

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1. Investing in Surrounding Wetlands can save Cities Billions of Dollars in Water Purification
The City of New York invested $1.5 billion over 10 years into protecting their water sources, which meant they were able to avoid building a water treatment plant that would have cost the city $8-$10 billion.

2. Investing in Rivers and Coastal Wetlands Reduces Cities’ Storm Protection Costs
The City of Calgary is investing in protecting and restoring the city’s river ecosystems through it’s Riparian Strategy because they have found that protecting these areas helps to protect the city from floods and erosion, and improves water quality.

Studies have also found that coastal wetlands can reduce the severity of impacts from hurricanes in the United States, providing storm protection services with an estimated value of US$23.2 billion per year.

3. Integrating The Natural Environment into Hospitals Reduces Healthcare Costs
A study published in Science by Richard S. Ulrich in 1984 found that patients recovering from surgery in rooms with windows facing a natural setting had shorter hospital stays and took less pain medicine than patients whose windows faced a brick wall.

4. Investing in Outdoor Trail Systems Supports Local Economies
The City of Toronto’s Natural Environment Trail Strategy found that well-maintained recreational trail systems encourage spending by trail users at surrounding local businesses.

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Calgary’s Wild Berry Patches

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Photo Credit: Cabin Organic

One of our favourite parts about Calgary summers are the Saskatoon berries and wild raspberries, and we aren’t just talking about the famous Saskatoon berry pie from Pearson Berry Farms sold at Calgary’s Farmer’s Market. Active Neighbourhood’s Roxanne LeBlanc has shared a number of her secret wild berry patches around our city. Do you have some wild berry patch locations you would like to add to the map? Email us at or leave a comment below.

Please be well informed about which plants are edible and which are not when picking wild berries. Check out this website to read up on edible berries in Alberta!

Saskatoon Berries
Saskatoon berries grow along riverbanks of the Bow and Elbow, as well as on hillsides.  They begin to ripen in mid to late June, depending on the location and can be found right through until early to mid August.  Bushes located further south will ripen soonest.

Watch for Saskatoon bushes along the bikepath above Beaverdam flats, the river pathway through Inglewood and Stanley Park. There are even a couple of bushes right next to the Trans Canada Trail pavilion at Eau Claire.

Chokecherry bushes can be found in even more locations than Saskatoons and ripen a bit later in the year.

Raspberry bushes, although not as common, are out there for the picking as well.


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 1. Paskapoo Slopes
Paskapoo slopes is home to an array of berries, the most prevalent being Saskatoon berries, chokecherries and gooseberries.

2. Edworthy Park
Edworthy Park has an abundance of Saskatoon berries along the banks of the Bow River.

3. Stanley Park
Stanley Park’s river pathway has many Saskatoon berries.

 4. Inglewood Riverside
There are a number of Saskatoon berries along the Inglewood River Pathway.

5.  Beaverdam Flats
The Beaverdam Flats bike paths have a number of Saskatoon berry bushes.


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