You Avatar

Posts related to ‘Getting Ready’

Planning for the Future of Food: Andrés Duany on ‘Agricultural Urbanism,’ June 17

We have to rethink the ways in which we produce and distribute food. That’s a fact that’s becoming increasingly clear.

It’s a sentiment we’re hearing more and more from economists, agricultural experts and climate change scientists. It’s also echoed by one of the world’s most famous urban planners, Andrés Duany, founding principal of the Miami-based Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ) planning and design firm.

Duany, who is leading our Mission Road charrette starting on June 15, will be talking about the intersection of food production challenges and urban planning on June 17. The presentation is free and open to everyone. It begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Glenbow Museum Theatre. Download the promotional flyer here (1.5mb .pdf).

So what does food production have to do with planning for cities and neighbourhoods?

Duany is one of the pioneers of strategies for “agricultural urbanism.“ Behind the strategies is a theory of integration. Like other human activities, growing food can be successfully integrated into the fabric of community life, provided it’s done at the appropriate scale and in character with the surroundings. We’re not talking about abandoning cities and neighbourhoods and moving back to farms, says Duany. Nor is he arguing for redesigning cities and neighbourhoods to accommodate industrial agriculture or huge swaths of “green belts.”

We have to be smarter than that, Duany argues. We have to make places for producing healthy food throughout the full range of human habitat, whether we’re talking about the heart of Calgary or in successively less dense neighbourhoods all the way out to relatively unpopulated areas.

It’s a matter of thinking in terms of design that retains all the advantages of properly scaled urbanism, including the pleasures of living in company with other humans, yet adds the advantage of producing, distributing and consuming food close to home. For a look at a previous Duany lecture in this topic, check out this video:

There are unexpected pluses from this rethinking of community and agriculture, especially in an era in which so many people embrace farmer’s markets and local food. Instead of being an annoyance to nearby homeowners and a detractor from real estate value, agriculture done at the proper scale can become an amenity. In fact, says Duany, “agriculture can be the new golf.”

Duany will be talking about that on June 17. Everyone is welcome.

Posted in Getting Readywith 1 Comment →

‘Charrette’ Begins June 15: Help us plan Mission Road’s future

If Mission Road were redesigned to become a kind of Main Street connecting neighbourhoods, what would that look and feel like?

That will be topic No. 1 during the week beginning June 15, as the City of Calgary, property owners along Mission Road, neighbours and everyone else interested in this precedent-setting project explore options with an international consulting team. The project kicks off with an opening presentation Wednesday, June 15, at 7 p.m. at Parkhill Community Hall. Go here for a list of public meetings and presentations during the week.

The week of collaboration is organized as a “charrette,” an intense workshop that sorts through ideas, tests the best ones, then refines them into an almost-complete plan — all by the closing session on June 21 and all with the help of those affected by the plan. For a more complete explanation of a charrette and how it serves effective, consensus-driven planning, check out this video:

The effort is sub-titled “innovation project” for a good reason. It’s designed to not only produce an inspiring plan for making Mission Road a more appealing place to live, work and play, but also to demonstrate how we might use this same sort of fast-tracked collaborative process to do planning in other areas of the City. To get the big picture of the effort and its ambitions, check out the overview in the column to the immediate right.

We hope to see you at the charrette. We need your ideas and your corrections as we evolve the Mission Road plan during the week. If you can’t be there in person, follow the action here on this website, and add your comments and questions. You’ll find a place for that at the end of each of these posts.

Posted in Getting Readywith No Comments →

  • Headline

    Project Logo

    This is the moment we’ve all been planning towards.

    Beginning Wednesday, June 15, 2011, citizens, landowners, and City staff sat down with an international consulting team to translate years worth of lessons learned into a plan for healthy growth along Mission Road. Just as important, they used this week-long planning workshop as a test run for how Calgary's residents, business people, and government might better go about charting the future of our neighbourhoods together.

    That’s why we’ve described this project as: Neighbours on a mission. In reality, we’re all neighbours. And we have to work together to get where we want to go. Read more here.