When we think Calgary, we think: opportunity, growth, and undeniable diversity. Not only do we think of it as being our home, but we think of it as a place that represents opportunity. Calgary is known for its ability to provide citizens with the confidence to reach new heights, giving us unique experiences and helping us fulfill the potential we never knew we had. With the current economic downturn, it is clear that Calgary lacks its usual lively and upbeat personality. Buildings are continuously emptying out as companies layoff employee after employee. By the end of 2016, it is predicted that millions of square feet in offices will be underutilized and left desolate within the downtown core. As a result, other cities are starting to look more appealing to the youth of our city as they search for other opportunities in their careers. We want to change that.
Through unique partnerships with Calgary Economic Development (CED), Aspen Properties, and our awesome funders and sponsors, we have decided that we can and will rejuvenate and revitalize Calgary’s spaces. By recruiting undergraduate students and creating teams from six post-secondary institutions in Calgary, we stepped up and pushed ourselves to take on the #24hourchallenge on November 18 and 19 of this year.
This year’s challenge gave students twenty-four hours to brainstorm ideas in order to help make empty spaces in Calgary’s downtown core more lively, efficient and sustainable. Aspen Properties has generously donated 50,000 sq ft. of space in the Pan Canadian building (also known as EnCana Place) on 9th Avenue for students to make their ideas and designs for Calgary come to life.
During the upcoming Winter semester (2017), many of these students will be registered in a 3 credit course to help further pursue their ideas and thoughts and learn what it takes to put them into activation.
So even after our explanation, you may be wondering, why are we doing this? Why does this matter? Because downtown Calgary is important. It doesn’t just represent our past but it also represents the opportunities for our youth of today and tomorrow. Today’s youth have the power to revitalize our city and make it better and the city needs young people to use their voices because they deserve to be heard. And even better, their voices are put into action! We want to give all people an opportunity to contribute to their vision and dreams for Calgary so that we can all collaborate, innovate, and co-create together. So the next time you think of Calgary, we want you to be imaginative, creative and provocative. And who knows? You may just come up with a few ideas on how to make our city even more vibrant, livable and sustainable than it already is.
Written by Kelci Hilferty, Design4Change