At the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape we have a long tradition of working with our community. We believe that it is important to be an active member of our community and step out of our campus to join the work of different actors in the difficult task of city-building. At the same time the signature pedagogy of our School is experiential learning. In the Master of Planning we know that our students will gain great knowledge and develop valuable skills by engaging directly and as realistically as possible with the current challenges of our profession. This studio is the perfect platform to fulfill these two goals of experiential learning and community engagement.
The public engagement approach to our projects is a unique engagement process. We include different methods and make sure to use meaningful participatory tools where all community members can contribute and their voice can be heard.
It is a different engagement process from what the City or developers can offer. It often includes a broader discussion of issues with an overall goal of a complete neighbourhood. It has the benefit of not being project-based but a holistic view of the neighbourhood with a degree of flexibility in its scope.
By being conducted by the University of Calgary group, an honest broker and unbiased agent, it can empower the community to lead its own planning process.
What's Left Behind
The result of all this work has some tangible products as well as some valuable intangible results.
The work of the students is documented and recorded in a set of final products that include the richness of the process as well as the final findings and recommendations. It includes documentation of the community’s history from its very beginnings and how its past influenced its current form; and a thorough site analysis of its physical form as well as its sociodemographic profile.
This process serves as education and training not only for our students, but also for Community Association volunteers, members at large, business owners and neighbours. It empowers and builds confidence for Community Associations to interact with developers and municipal agencies. It builds a better understanding between neighbours and creates new channels for communication between actors with different points of view. It helps to envision positive change and imagine a future within an evolving environment.
Examples of previous projects can be found on our Projects page.