The City of Calgary and University of Calgary are launching the 9 Block program which addresses vibrancy and safety issues in the nine blocks surrounding Calgary’s city hall.
The partnership, named Urban Alliance, will use University of Calgary School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape (SAPL) students and researchers to focus on making the nine-block area more welcoming through new design, planning and programming strategies.
“The area around City Hall is the heart of Downtown Calgary – it’s where government, education, and the arts come together,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “I’m thrilled that through this partnership with the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, we’ll have the opportunity to test inexpensive and innovative ideas aimed at improving the safety and vibrancy in this neighbourhood,” Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi said.
A group of SAPL students will be hired over the summer to design and implement a small tactical urbanism project in the area to test out potential improvement strategies, a City of Calgary release stated.
“We located our City Building Design Lab in the heart of our downtown to take on initiatives like the 9 Block program,” SAPL dean John Brown said.
“Our mission is to bring together our students and researchers with municipal policy makers and the public to explore new directions in city-building. Our students are very excited to take on this opportunity to develop and implement thoughtful, innovative solutions in the neighbourhood they interact with every day as students,” he added.
The City of Calgary will also start projects focused on improved wayfinding, programming and community partnerships in the area, the release stated.
The 9 Block program will also align developments with the city’s mental health and addictions strategy.
“It’s going to take all of us to build and reshape this area, and downtown as a whole, and it’s important we all take a shared position in stewarding the 9 Block area into the future,” City of Calgary downtown strategy lead Thom Mahler said.
“This program is a major piece of the our Downtown Strategy and The City’s continued commitment to support the recovery and diversification of Calgary’s economy and building a foundation for a great future for this important downtown area,” Mahler added.
More information about the program is available at Calgary.ca/9block.