Jane Jacobs in Cowtown

Calgary's new Mayor Naheed Nenshi seems intent on shaking things up, and the Globe and Mail this weekend has a snapshot on some of the green shifts that he is pushing in the city formerly known as Cowtown.  Walkability, denisty, transit oriented development are all on his agenda.  But in Canada's most sprawling large city he's got a bit challenge ahead.  The Globe does a great job of catching the conflict interests that will influence the city's direction, as well as Nenshi's drive to really make Clagary into a thriving city.

From the article:

Mr. Nenshi wants to charge developers higher fees for building on the city's edges, arguing that the city effectively subsidizes suburban development by charging too little to supply infrastructure and services.
None of this will be easy. Developers, a powerful force in Calgary and big contributors to local political campaigns, say they are already paying plenty in taxes and fees.

Michael Flynn, executive director of the Urban Development Institute, an industry lobby, says it would be "social engineering" to try to change the housing choices of Calgarians. Like it or not, "Calgary is very much an auto-oriented city. People like to go skiing in the mountains on the weekends."

"The mayor has a very significant challenge in front of him," says Doug Cassidy, an executive with Canada Lands, which developed Garrison Woods. "The majority of development here has been based on the suburban sprawl model. Turning that around will not be an overnight order."

Another snippet on the competing priorities Nenshi has to juggle can be found here.


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