Calgary’s downtown core is facing a number of challenges. The current economic downturn and subsequent job loss in the oil and gas sector has led to an emptying out of downtown office space. By the end of 2016, there is expected to be millions of square feet of empty office space in the downtown core. Perceived lack of employment opportunities are causing young people to look elsewhere to start their careers.  

Calgary Economic Development is asking two questions: 
1. How do we retain our city’s young and upcoming talent? 
2. How can we reimagine our downtown core and creatively repurpose vacant office buildings?
Vivacity has partnered with CED, Aspen Properties as well as a number of community stakeholders to provide students an opportunity to help answer these questions. 

How Vivacity works

24 Hour Challenge

Vivacity 24 Hour Challenge Launch Event (November 18 & 19)
Students from different disciplines and institutions come together in mixed teams to launch the challenge.  Each team will be given a specific site in the downtown core and will have 24 hours to come up with a proposal and design concept for that site.  The proposals will be judged by a panel made up of experts, community partners and stakeholders.  

During the 24 hours, students will be supported by advisors, mentors, industry leaders and a series of milestones, which will help guide them to success. Through this event, participants will have the opportunity to discover that challenges can breed opportunity, constraint enhances creativity and health collaboration fosters incredible results. 


Activation in our community

Winter Semester (January - April 2017)
Students from the 24 Hour Challenge will be registered for a 3-credit course during the winter semester that supports the teams to further develop, refine and implement their idea.  Students will be registered in directed studies in their home institution and will come together three hours weekly with the Vivacity Director, other faculty and community partners for learning, mentorship and project completion.  

Community Dialogues (January 26 & March 7, 2017)
Two community dialogues will be hosted by students to engage project and community stakeholders in key questions emerging in the project process.   

Final Showcase (April 12, 2017)
Throughout the semester, students will immerse themselves in Calgary’s downtown while attending classes in one of Aspen Properties vacant office spaces. Over the semester, students will explore, research, test, and prototype new uses for vacant office space in the city’s downtown core. The final phase of Vivacity’s Civic Innovation course will take place on April 12, 2017 when students showcase their work to the community, our partners, our funders and our stakeholders.

Get Involved

Registration for the 24 Hour Challenge is now closed. However, we are still looking for individuals that believe that our city needs the talent of our youth, that new ideas and perspectives will positively create the future, and that we can go further together. 

If this sounds like you or you would like to get involved with Vivacity through the Winter course, community dialogues or final showcase, contact us at or through the "request more information" button below.