Sustainable Cities – Day 2 Blog
By Caitlin & Camilo
We met Shea from Bike Calgary at City Hall, with an exciting project, although very confusing at first. After some clarification, we set off in groups of 2-3 and headed into the downtown streets of our great city to gather data about bike parking. Each group was given a quadrant of about 10 blocks, where we had to record how many bike racks were situated per block, and if these racks had any bikes parked in them. The purpose of the project was to provide accurate data to Bike Calgary, so they can provide an informed study to the municipality to promote city biking. The results of the activity were diverse, with some groups seeing many bike racks, and some not seeing many or any at all. However, the number of actual bikes parked in these racks seemed small for all groups. After an hour and a half of this project, we reunited at City Hall and had a conversation about the prospects of biking in Calgary, and discussed some limitations such as the lack of population density, lack of transit-bike partnership, and unpredictability of the weather.
In the afternoon, we went to the AESO (Alberta Electric System Operator) offices, and learned about the wholesale distribution and regulation of electricity in Alberta. There were a number of individuals from the institution presenting on the important factors of AESO, which focused on the conceptual base of electricity, the economic characteristics, the planning procedure, the renewable options, and the storage approaches. We learned that most electricity in the province comes from carbon or fossil resources, which suggests that this type of electricity generation would need to change for a development of a more sustainable electricity industry. One of the most important themes on the presentation were the future prospects, where the province would move away from ‘dirty’ electricity generation, and would also concentrate in efficiency and effectiveness of this generation, as well as of its transportation and consumption. Our hosts emphasized that it is our duty as citizens to regulate and ensure our societal systems, including our electricity that encapsulates all of our activities, and to pursue the cleanest, most responsible for of progress.