There was a din…the din of a hundred people talking about how the future of our communities could look in 2065. There were ideas of walkable streets, village like communities filled with trees, flowers, children playing, merchants in the streets, public art and people living full, enriched and happy lives. Richmond Knob Hill and Killarney-Glengarry communities came together to create a future for generations to come. The Federation of Calgary Communities played a facilitating role; the University of Calgary Urban Studies students were studying about how communities can connect and create viable and successful communities; CTV came to film these dreams for the evening news and 50 residents came to share how they thought they could shape the future. (Watch the clip here.)
Children came and built, with bricks, to express their ideas about how ‘their’ world could be. We were delighted to welcome Evan Woolley, our City Councillor and Joan Crockatt, our Federal MP to participate. They had ideas on where funding might come from and encouraged us to dream big and to make Calgary the best place to live on earth.
It was magical; there were brain storms and bright ideas zinging through space. Occasionally the squeal of another idea shot through the air that would make something even better.
We used a World Cafe Style of event where people moved from group to group. We discovered that different combinations of people created more ideas - the moving around created an excitement and opportunity to get to know neighbours even better than we already knew them.
We pulled out maps and identified our favourite places and marked areas that we thought we could make better. A piece of public art here, a bench there, maybe even a new park somewhere else. We talked about how murals and bright colours could enliven spaces that we already have
We posted the ideas on stickies and then everyone had the opportunity to walk around and build on other’s ideas and it became even better, yet.
The University of Calgary Urban Studies students under the direction of Professor Geoff Ghitter will now take that information and shape it into a report that they will present to the communities in April. It will be exciting to see how they capture the ideas that floated through the air on wings.
It was a joyful day that was rounded out with a Chili Cookoff - the renowned Richmond Knob Hill Winterfest Chili Cookoff. The competition was stiff and the eating was great! We await the results with great expectations!
Finally, a huge thanks to all our local sponsors: PrintWise, Caffe Francesco's, Youth Central, University of Calgary and the Urban Studies Students, the City of Calgary and our Councillor Evan Woolley, Bricks4Kidz and the Federation of Calgary Communities we appreciate your support and couldn't do this without you!