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How Urbanism will Change the face of Calgary


Mixed use neighborhoods were once the norm in most North American cities. Homes and shops were side by side, and people walked to the store, parks, churches, schools, and the hockey rink. Then the Second World War came along and changed the face of North American cities forever – or at least for a while.


The war helped to create an industrial economy and a level of prosperity that was hitherto unheard of. The automobile was a big symbol of that prosperity. Everyone had one and urban design became inextricably tied to the car. Mixed use neighborhoods gave way to segregated commercial, industrial, and residential areas that were connected by networks of roads. Rather than walking to the market, people drove there. People moved out to the suburbs and the result was urban sprawl and the gradual decay of the city centers.


The trend towards new urbanism (as opposed to the urbanism that existed before the war) emerged in the US during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. After 60 years, there’s a move back to the diverse, vibrant, livable, environmentally friendly urban environments that used to be the norm. Vancouver was first in Canada, then Toronto, and Calgary will likely be the next major city to make new urbanism a priority.


Calgary’s Municipal Development Plan (MDP) stipulates that for the next 60 years, one half of Calgary’s development must take place within the city’s 2005 footprint. That means higher density housing and intensification of land use. More developments will combine residential and commercial space. Calgary’s outward grow will slow down, and existing urban areas will be redesigned to make better use of space and house more people.


Communities like Airdrie, Cochrane, and Chestermere are booming and their populations are growing faster than Calgary’s. Development in those places isn’t controlled by the MDP and they will likely continue to grow at a blistering pace in years to come.


The urban landscape in Canada is changing for the better, but it will mean changes to how people live in cities like Calgary.


If you have questions about Calgary’s real estate market or would like buy or sell a home, contact Patrick Murray Luxury Homes today.

By Patrick Murray