So what’s likely to provoke the most controversy during this week? What are you most afraid of?
Andrés Duany, co-founder of the respected DPZ planning firm and director of the weeklong Mission Road charrette, asked those questions at the end of his standing-room-only Wednesday-night presentation. Actually, it was less presentation than vigorous discussion. And attendees seemed delighted with the opportunity.
Responding to Duany’s invitation to come clean about what most concerns them, attendees emphasized issues that had thread their ways through the evening’s conversation: Worries over cut-through traffic in residential neighborhoods, concerns about an imbalance in retail and entertainment options in the Mission Road area, parking management issues. But one specific comment got nods of recognition around the room:
What if residents and business people invest all their hopes in this process and are then frustrated by follow-through efforts that go nowhere?
Duany acknowledged that threat. It exists with every project dependent upon committed officials and planning staffers to carry out the plans’ goals. But Duany promised that the team intended to devote a substantial part of its efforts to not only producing inspiring plans but also to embedding strategies for successful implementation.
There will be a clear path to enacting and enforcing regulatory measures that will insure future development and redevelopment in line with what the community says it wants. Given the complex, sometimes contradictory rules now in place, clarity alone should make for more predictable decision-making.
“I’m here to unconfuse things,” said Duany.
What will unfold over the next six days is likely to put even more pressure on follow-through efforts by Calgary officials and city staffers. That’s because the team will encourage rising expectations. But the collaborative process should also build support for follow-through.
That trust-building phase begins in earnest today with a series of five focused topic sessions that continue through Friday. Duany and other members of the team will lead check-in conversations with community residents, business people and city staffers to make sure everything that can help or hinder the planning effort is on the table. These are public sessions. To check out participation opportunities that work for you, go to the Schedule & Directions tab in the toolbar above.
By Saturday and Sunday, the team will have work in progress to present for community critiques. Those “pin-up” sessions are used to test ideas. Based on feedback from community participants, the ideas can be refined in time for Tuesday night’s final presentation.
Remember, if you can’t be at the charrette studio in person, you can follow all the action in the daily posts on this website, and can comment on each one with feedback and ideas of your own. In fact, you can start right now. Have thoughts on last night’s meeting or ideas and concerns you’d like to throw into the mix? Share them below.
And check back often.