An economic workout

The ActiveCITY Coalition seeks to get Calgary — and Calgarians — moving.

The medical benefits of physical activity are well established. They include lower blood pressure, slimmer waistlines and better sleep. But can activity benefit cities as well?

The answer, according to the ActiveCITY Collective, is a resounding yes. The group came together late last year in the wake of the No vote in the Calgary Olympic plebiscite. The rejection of an Olympic bid got organizers wondering if there was still an appetite in the city for transformative projects.

The coalition includes representatives from organized sports and recreation, but it goes further. The active economy includes tourism businesses, apparel makers, infrastructure designers and other sectors.

Organizers put the value of the active economy globally at $3 trillion. Grouping these sectors creates a little clout. In Calgary, that could mean anything from advocating for cycle tracks to swimming pools to the long-delayed fieldhouse.

As Live Wire reported, the active economy has parallels to the creative economy. It’s an attempt to create a critical mass around a sector of the economy. It’s an acknowledgement that there is strength in numbers. 

ActiveCITY’s first report explores the potential of the active economy for Calgary. The authors map out the sector and explain its contributions to community well-being. To get into the spirit of the movement, you should read it on the treadmill at the gym. 

The ActiveCity Summit followed in September. It featured speakers and panels and served as both a kickoff and a chance to plan next steps. It fed into the larger mission of creating a movement around the active economy.

At its heart, ActiveCity is an attempt to bring groups together to influence policy and get people moving. If it pulls that off, the coalition might be a movement that sparks urban growth even as it encourages citizens to slim down.

January 3rd, 2020

The active economy flexes its muscles