Is Calgary a “Winter City”?: Residents share their thoughts

SB |

mC:t    2015.03.31    #makeCalgarytalk

The concept of winter cities encompasses the ability of countries in northern latitudes to plan their communities for all four seasons (winter, summer, autumn and fall) and not only Spring and Summer. The goal is to basically make communities in cold countries as comfortable and as livable as possible all year round by incorporating “winter city” principles in the planning of their transportation systems, buildings and recreational projects.

In this video, a number of Calgarians share their opinions on whether they think Calgary is a “winter city”. Watch and share your thoughts as well!



As a further exploration of “winter cities”, check out our “Five Things: The 2015 Winter Cities Shake-Up” article.


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Wikipedia (2014) “Winter City”

makeCalgary:talk provokes conversation among Calgarians about the design of our city. Catch up with us on Twitter (@makecalgarytalk), Instagram (makecalgarytalk), or Facebook.



  1. Sergio Veyzaga says:

    Probably Hippodamus of Miletus thought about the climate issue when he was designing Piraeus, but back to topic is a rarity that was in the early 80’s the early attempts to re-sape our Cold Urban Landscapes, probably people should realize that apart from Le Corbusier dreams of an International style , is the local environment which redefine and the process of vernacularization is complete. Regardless apart the post about the 2015 WINTER CITIES SHAKE-UP , bring the 5 statements, which apart from the 1st one related to building science and solved in Calgary the rest doesn’t really go to the conceptual roots in order to redefine our cities.
    Urban Space+Cold Climate = COLD-Scape
    Well, Kent Sate got a similar name but doesn’t have the monopoly of philosophizing about new urban scene, which in my opinion includes:

    • Urban Space
    • Urban Grid
    • House Typology

    Urban Space + Shelter = SHELTER space

    That’s probably our BIG difference in comparison with places in moderate climates, with need some shelter in the public spaces or if you are in downtown, you’ll end up sitting bored in the library. Our Urban spaces should be usable beyond our 4 months of summer.
    Maybe could pedestrianized the Ground level , it could be an alternative in order to gain public space, for example in downtown new building could left the ground floor for public space which easily could be open on the short summer and glassed closed the rest of the year, that in collaboration with the City of Calgary could create a net of long gardens or a sheltered cycling system, or in other words a Urban Path . What is more, the same concept could be applied for the commercial developments in residential areas giving to the rest of the city usable urban spaces for all the year around.
    In a perfect world , we should try to go beyond and maybe the cars should go underground in downtown and live the streets for the people, or not only a +15 maybe a +100 which could connect more DEVONIAN gardens between building for people’s use but it is still a long way.

    Urban Grid + Urban Sprawl = CAR > humans

    Probably is the triumph of corporations beyond our well-being, but the idea of reproducing the Ebenezer Howard’s ideas everywhere regardless the context has created societies in which the Car is the new king, apart from the efficient LRT, there is not much fun in waiting 30 minutes or sometimes 1 hour waiting for a bus at -30c, or neighborhoods surrounded by walls in which is almost impossible to pass walking to the next neighborhood.
    That is obviously expressed with our low-density, large green spaces and car dependency, that doesn’t mean that if we increase the density we are adapting to the cold environment that goes beyond that, probably that is the most difficult answer and I feel excited as Le Corbusier designing Chandigarh in this moment, looking for the COLD-city answer.

    House Typology = Vernacularization and adaptability

    I have to be honest, our houses and fairly well insulated, and really cozy, being foreigner and just spending 1 year in this country, I am not too familiar with a sort of Calgaryan house typology, rooted in traditions and history, the only element that I noticed, is the PORCH,which change in sized but is almost a common element in many houses, probably a large Porch in the front could be closed the long winters and create a micro-garden in the house, but I can’t see a PORCH’s culture, people don’t usually sit them on summer an talk with their neighbors who passed walking on the streets, we’re a introvert society and the Porch loose it’s sociable appeal.

    On summary, let’s still navigated for the sea of ideas which can lead us to the COLD-scape city, it has passed almost 2 millennium and we couldn’t but it doesn’t mean that is an unattainable goal.

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