NW Week

Unique urban zoning is required to provide a distinct urban feeling of place

Unique urban zoning is required to provide

Key Takeaways:

  • According to opinion writer Richard White, city planners are clinging to an outmoded European model for city building.
  • I’ve long believed that developers and city planners underappreciate the potential for urban redevelopment in Calgary’s northeast quadrant.

The emphasis is almost always on improving the downtown and inner-city through mega-revitalization projects such as Currie, the East Village, Stampede Park, The Bridges, and the University District, or suburban projects such as SETON, Quarry Park, and the West District.

How much effort has the city put into encouraging transit-oriented development near the northeast LRT stations instead of the Sunnyside, Bridgeland, or Stampede stations?

Are city planners clinging to what may be an old-fashioned European main-street model for city development? Does the northeast’s ethnic diversity necessitate a distinct set of planning policies and urban design principles?

Northeast Calgary; Image from av-sexygirl.com

The first stop was on 36th Street S.E., at Marlborough Mall, the marquee mall in its quadrant when it was built in the 1970s and later became an LRT destination, similar to Chinook Centre in the southwest after it was built in the 1960s. However, unlike Chinook Centre, Marlborough Mall has not changed much in the last 50 years.

The next stop was just north of there and across the street at the flagship T&T Supermarket in Pacific Place, with its live fish market a clear reminder that I wasn’t in my own northwest neighborhood’s grocery store.

We need a different model to convert the northeast’s significant roads into main European streets based on current urban planning dogma. We must embrace non-residential blocks, with their distinct mix of stores, boutiques, grocers, breweries, and colleges, and allow them to evolve into mixed-use nodes by integrating residential development.

Let us transform the northeast into a one-of-a-kind collection of twenty-first-century bazaar villages mixed-use urban nodes.

Source: CBC News

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