ucalgarycares Sustainable Cities: Day 1
Sustainable Cities is pilot project of ucalgary Cares organized by the Centre for Community-Enaged Learning at the University of Calgary. During the fall, a group of university students were recruited to take part in this program over the course of the reading week break. Their goal is to learn about sustainability issues in the city of Calgary, and the many organizations involved with working towards making this city more livable and environmentally and socially responsible.
After several pre-service workshops, today was the initial day of the program and when we actually got to be integrated into some of the new projects developing around Calgary and how they tie in with improving the lives of all Calgarians. Our day began in the Central Public Library, where we were exposed to the issues surrounding literacy rates in Canada, and got to read to cute little daycare children. Afterwards, a Calgary Public Library representative presented an overview of the plans and design for the new Central branch of the Calgary Public Library. The design of the building was inspired by the natural phenomenona surrounding the Calgary area, such as the Chinook Arc, snowflakes, and the abundance of sunlight our city receives throughout the year. The new building is aimed to “inspire all”, and to become a community gathering place and an interesting attraction to visitors.
The second segment of the day involved a walking tour of the East Village part of Calgary’s downtown area, which was once a high risk and crime neighborhood of the city. Today, many building developments are already underway, including the National Music Centre, and the entire area is planned to be remodeled into a more inviting community. Retail areas, hotels, and restaurants are in the works of being raised up to attract more Calgarians to utilize the once bare and abandoned areas. One thing that shocked our group was the fact that the City Hall building was thought by many as a barrier between Calgary’s downtown and the East Village area, which has only contributed to the bad stigma related to East Village.
Some questions which were brought up in the wrap up discussions including issues regarding equality, accessibility, and overall efficiency of the proposed projects to develop Calgary’s downtown area.
By Maia & Anastasia