Calgary’s East Village: A Triumph of Public Engagement

If you live in Calgary and you somehow haven’t heard about East Village—you need to check your area code.

The 49-acre village poised to revitalize the east side of  Calgary’s downtown core is like nothing any other major city in North America has been able to do.

It’s an urban developer’s dream: land, water, a central location, an island park and an entire crowd-sourced  movement bent on making this one of our country’s leading cultural destinations.

In fact, this project is so impressive we knew we had to go straight to the source to find out more about it.

So we did. 

Susan Veres is the Vice President of Marketing & Communications for the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), the master developer of East Village. And when we spoke with her, she let us know that it wasn’t simply CMLC, or its partners, who were making all of the important decisions. In fact, there are tens of thousands of people involved in everything from East Village’s RiverWalk™ to its forthcoming National Music Centre and the New Central Library (that’ll be conveniently located directly on top of a CTrain line).

How?

Simple—public engagement.

“It took patience and focus, but we found a vision for this community…and the brand that we’ve created is highly connected to arts and culture, great design and public spaces that are built for everyone to enjoy,” says Veres.

And that vision was aided all the way by CMLC’s willingness to not only listen to interested parties (aka: you, the people in Calgary who’ll actually be using East Village) but also through their open invitations (over the years) for anyone and everyone to become engaged with the community’s future plans.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, by the time East Village is ready, it’s safe to say that it will have been raised with the help of an entire city.

And we can’t wait.

 

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