Cities Never Sleep
To be a city is to be constantly designed – and redesigned.
When we talk about redevelopment, the question usually comes up: “Why are we redeveloping? Can’t we leave our neighbourhood alone?” In fact, half of Calgarians in a recent survey by Think HQ Public Relations expressed they like their neighbourhoods to “stay the same.”
The short answer is no, we can’t leave a neighbourhood alone. We redevelop for several reasons – economic, sustainability, revitalization – and all of these are related to the natural life cycle of a community.
It’s hard to imagine that, while our city has been growing at an unprecedented rate of late, many neighbourhoods have fewer people in them now than they did back when they were built, leaving them vulnerable to decline. Let’s look at the evolution of a community, and how redevelopment becomes essential with time.
Brentwood is a great example of a typical community’s life cycle. When it was completed in 1969, the population peaked at 9,000, and then dropped to 6,000 by 2012. With redevelopment, there now are 790 MORE homes than there were in 1969 (providing more property tax) and yet there’s a total of only 7,000 residents – still far below its original population.
Redevelopment is all part of coming of age for a city as young as ours, and part of the constant evolution for every older city. Cities are in a state of perpetual planning, adapting to growing populations, and it’s our turn. Based on current population projections, we’re about to witness a burst of redevelopment in Calgary.
As we surge forward, it’s important to understand how and why political leaders and market forces are driving redevelopment. To learn more, view our publication, “Raising a Smart City.”