Planning for the future

by Tamara on October 13, 2011

in Events, News

Students from The Transit City, Urban Studies learn about citizen engagement at Bow to Bluff

Last Tuesday, I found myself trotting around Sunnyside on a chilly evening, with a thoughtful group of students from The Transit City, Urban Studies program at the University of Calgary. Instructor Jen Malzer, also a senior planner at City Transit, took us through the Bow to Bluff corridor, down 5th Avenue by Riley Park, then through Hillhurst and back to the Ant Hill building.

Jen pointed out various transit-related features while Jessica Karpat, a senior City land use planner, talked about the impending Battistella development on the corridor, and the proposed Ramage Group condominiums abutting on Riley Park.  I spoke for a few minutes about various issues in the corridor, and about the independent, collaborative nature of the Bow to Bluff initiative.

When we trooped into Ant Hill, the students had a chance to warm up and look around at all the citizen input that now covers the walls.  (Thanks again to our loyal volunteers Eva Chu, Cheryl Clieff and Erin van Wijk for setting up and helping out!)

We're trying to engage you with everything from blog posts to neon signs to sidewalk chalk!

We broke into three topic tables: Jen headed the Transit discussion, Jessica and David White led the Development table, and Micheal Williamson and I guided the Bow to Bluff conversation.  Actually, Micheal fielded most of the questions about our engagement and design process, while I coaxed the students with the promise of cookies if they’d give us their ideas on how to improve the corridor!  Micheal, one of our key designers from O2, was enthusiastic about the first week of our citizen engagement experiment. He told the students that this engagement process has exceeded expectations, both in terms of the numbers of people coming through the door, and the quality of the ideas being generated.

We’re trying our best to engage not only large numbers of citizens, but a variety of stakeholders.  I’ll be leading two more tours in the next couple of weeks, this time for much younger students (one tour is a Grade 4-6 class, the other will be junior/senior high students). The City folks will be visiting Ant Hill, we’re organizing a bicycle event, and we hope to see more long term residents and seniors at Heritage night.  We’re even trying to engage transient travellers; yesterday my daughter Katie and I handed out nearly 50 over 100 postcards to rush-hour commuters.

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