Concept Art by Robert D. Brown
The year is 2093, mid-August with a blazing sun and blue skies. The avatar on board tells you it won’t be possible to make it in time to Toronto for Selena Gomez’s “pop up” concert, even at super-sonic speeds. At the same time, you receive a notification from Strider, your regular courier drone: “You have received a package from Aunt Susie”. Your excitement is restored and you rush back to your Cloud capsule. It has been precisely 56 days, 14 hours, 28 minutes, and 9 seconds since your Aunt sent it from Mars. Presumably for your birthday, which was yesterday. As you open the package you feel your left and get wet. In shock, your eyes open wide and you reach to check your phone. There is a severe thunderstorm warning in your area and rain has been pouring in through your window while you’ve been dreaming about the future.
That reality check
Perhaps that was an optimistic dream of Calgary in the future, which we all might have thought about at some point in time and said to ourselves, “dude, that would be so cool”. At the same time, glaciers and the Polar ice caps are melting at an unprecedented rate and parts of California has been fighting drought leading to smaller yields in agriculture. This in turn, has caused an increase on food prices and consequently affected all of our lives.
Vehicles are abandoned in flood waters in Calgary after a powerful thunder and hail storm.
As people are experiencing different magnitudes of climate change around the world; we, here in Calgary, have been bracing to survive severe thunderstorms and flooding in summers these past couple of years. It all becomes very daunting so we start to wonder. What will we be like? What will we be doing? Will we be happy? And most importantly, will the future generations have enough resources? These are questions that we associate with our daily interactions and decisions as sustainability continues to be a pressing issue.
Rendering of the new Concord Pacific in Calgary
If you’re like me, at some point you might have felt like you have no clue what’s going on in the City. That lack of awareness about your own City’s activities, then feeling the guilt. When you have a vision but you’re not as aware as you would like to be. This becomes inherently important when we take note of all the major projects taking place in Calgary such as the new Concord Pacific, the Eau Claire Redevelopment Plan, and the Deerfoot mall Redevelopment plan just to name a few. In order to properly evaluate such projects, we must have a vision for our future. To instigate this, there are two major public projects that were established by The City of Calgary that every Calgarian should know about.
In 2005, the City of Calgary undertook a major planning project known as imagineCALGARY to define a collective path towards environmental, economic, and social sustainability. The Project was intended to gather ideas from surveying 18,000 residents, and develop a 100-year long term vision of the City they would like to live in. Accordingly, a group of interdisciplinary experts set out 10-35 year targets with specific strategies and compiled it into a document, which was released in 2007. The Plan comprehensively describes a collective vision for Calgary improved and innovated as a society; however, some may argue that setting target goals for 30 years is too far off for addressing issues that need immediate attention.
imagineCALGARY from the long-term plan
As a sub-category of the long-term plan, a short-term plan was generated in 2010 with sustainability targets aimed for 2020. The 2020 Sustainability Direction consists of goals for prosperous economy, sustainable environment, sustainable corporations, community well being, financial capacity, smart growth, and mobility. As a major part of the direction, an annual report is generated to monitor the status of the movement and is available to the public.
Excerpt from the 2020 Sustainability Direction
With these resources in hand, we are more aware of the growth of our City and better able to participate in constructive conversations.
So, what is your vision of Calgary?
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 Photo by TheCityofCalgary
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