HomeDiagramsDatabaseMapsForumSkyscraper Posters
     
Welcome to the SkyscraperPage Forum

Since 1999, the SkyscraperPage Forum has been one of the most active skyscraper enthusiast communities on the web. The global membership discusses development news and construction activity on projects from around the world, alongside discussions on urban design, architecture, transportation and many other topics. Welcome!

You are currently browsing as a guest. Register with the SkyscraperPage Forum and join this growing community of skyscraper enthusiasts. Registering has benefits such as fewer ads, the ability to post messages, private messaging and more.

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > Canada > Alberta & British Columbia > SSP: Local Calgary > Buildings & Architecture, Urban Design & Heritage Issues

Reply

 
Thread Tools Display Modes
     
     
  #1  
Old Posted May 2, 2009, 12:16 PM
DizzyEdge's Avatar
DizzyEdge DizzyEdge is offline
My Spoon Is Too Big
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Calgary
Posts: 7,251
Broken City

No, not the bar (although it's a fine establishment), but more it's name, which in a lot of ways I believe is a fine 4 syllable representation of Calgary.

I wanted to start a thread of.. constructive criticism. Not so much a 'Calgary sucks' thread, although that is the mood I'm in at the moment, but more of a 'Certain aspects of Calgary sucks, so what can be done to fix that'.
__________________
Concerned about protecting Calgary's built heritage?
www.CalgaryHeritage.org
News - Development Watch - Forums

Last edited by DizzyEdge; May 2, 2009 at 12:34 PM.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2  
Old Posted May 2, 2009, 12:33 PM
DizzyEdge's Avatar
DizzyEdge DizzyEdge is offline
My Spoon Is Too Big
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Calgary
Posts: 7,251
This past week, I was in Denver for technical training, and made sure to frequent the downtown area as much as possible. This was the second time I had been to Denver, which has quite a Calgary feel: Rockies are nearby, high elevation, rather shiny downtown, downtown pedestrian mall, etc. But it just seems so much more vibrant that Calgary, even though the city proper is 1/2 a million people (to be fair, the wider metro area is 2.5 million).

It also helps that turn of the century Denver seems to stretch about 70 blocks in either way from downtown vs about 20-30 for Calgary, so Denver has and had a lot more historic buildings so in spite of teardowns there seems to be an order of magnitude more historic buildings. But the main thing I noticed, is how much more vibrant the city seemed to be, there were people, everywhere, all the time in the downtown and street after multi-block street full of small retail, restaurants, personal services, bars etc. Some stats:

Length of 16st pedestrian mall, 1 mile
(equivalent to about city hall to 8th st sw in Calgary)

# of Bars & Restaurants (this includes any sort of food service establishment) in Denver's downtown: `~324

# of Bars & Restaurants within 1 block of the pedestrian mall: ~160

# of downtown horse and carriage companies: 28
# of pedestrian mall restarants/bars with sidewalk patios: 36
# of sidewalk foot vendors on pedestrian mall (think portable carts): 39

Denver also has a warehouse district, known as Lower Downtown or Lodo, and some specs from that area:

24 restaraunts and bars
11 architectural firms
7 galleries
11 stores
12 personal services
plus museums, offices, etc

Trying to analyze why there was so so many shops/pubs/restaurants it occured to me, that for Calgary to be somewhat equivalent, 17th ave west to about 36 st sw, centre north to 32nd ave, 10th ave and 11th aves (with some 12th ave action), 9th ave in inglewood , and our 'warehouse district' would all have to be retail and entertainment, when in reality they're either extremely patchy, or partially overrun with office uses.

I'm curious if our usually tight office market creates a situation where retail and food services don't get the foothold they should as any available floor space is more lucratively leased for office? For example our warehouse district, instead of being an incredibly thriving zone, is mostly condo and office.

One other thing, Denver has downtown, and I'm meaning directly adjacent to the core: Major League hockey arena, major league football stadium, major league baseball stadium, major league basketball arena, AND, an amusement park, plus a large downtown campus of their university.

So I guess the purpose of this unstructured pile of info, is to get people's comments, wondering if there's anything to be drawn from a city that seems to 'work' as far as downtown pedestrian life which could be applied here in Calgary, or if people think that the direction Calgary is going will get there soon enough, or if it's just a lost cause.
__________________
Concerned about protecting Calgary's built heritage?
www.CalgaryHeritage.org
News - Development Watch - Forums
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #3  
Old Posted May 2, 2009, 12:58 PM
freeweed's Avatar
freeweed freeweed is offline
Home of Hyperchange
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Dynamic City, Alberta
Posts: 17,378
Quote:
Originally Posted by DizzyEdge View Post
But it just seems so much more vibrant that Calgary, even though the city proper is 1/2 a million people (to be fair, the wider metro area is 2.5 million).
This isn't a "to be fair" comment. THIS IS THE WHOLE ISSUE.

Denver is 2.5 larger than Calgary, period. It's the same reason Vancouver and Montreal feel much larger and more vibrant than Calgary - it's because they are several times our size.

"City proper" is a mostly meaningless measure that only affects property tax calculations and elections.

I don't have anything constructive to add at the moment, but don't underestimate the Unicity effect - it's very easy to compare Calgary to "smaller" cities all while missing out their huge population bases.

It's like the hypothetical situation where Airdrie was a city of 2 million people, separated from Calgary proper by a 4 lane freeway. Something tells me we'd have a larger downtown, with taller high-rises, and a lot more activity.

That being said, what's Denver like after office hours? I find most large US cities have even less activity after hours in their core than we do, because everyone flees to the suburbs which are much further away than in Calgary. But I've never spent much time in Denver unfortunately. To me, that's a huge measure of vibrancy.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #4  
Old Posted May 2, 2009, 8:47 PM
DizzyEdge's Avatar
DizzyEdge DizzyEdge is offline
My Spoon Is Too Big
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Calgary
Posts: 7,251
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeweed View Post
This isn't a "to be fair" comment. THIS IS THE WHOLE ISSUE.

Denver is 2.5 larger than Calgary, period. It's the same reason Vancouver and Montreal feel much larger and more vibrant than Calgary - it's because they are several times our size.

"City proper" is a mostly meaningless measure that only affects property tax calculations and elections.

I don't have anything constructive to add at the moment, but don't underestimate the Unicity effect - it's very easy to compare Calgary to "smaller" cities all while missing out their huge population bases.

It's like the hypothetical situation where Airdrie was a city of 2 million people, separated from Calgary proper by a 4 lane freeway. Something tells me we'd have a larger downtown, with taller high-rises, and a lot more activity.

That being said, what's Denver like after office hours? I find most large US cities have even less activity after hours in their core than we do, because everyone flees to the suburbs which are much further away than in Calgary. But I've never spent much time in Denver unfortunately. To me, that's a huge measure of vibrancy.
Well the comment about the 2.5 million and not to underestimate it is actually
constructive.

As far as after hours, this I have a decent feel for as I was in training until 5pm each day, so I only got to experience it after office hours, and only on week days, and I would say the pedestrian mall, and the Lodo area were busy each evening. I fully expect the CBD was likely pretty slow. For example though, there is an electic bus that stops each block on the pedestrian mall, and 7-9pm on a wed night any time we got on it was almost full, and I'd say there were 12 of these busses in use on that one strip at any given time.
I think the arenas helped a lot as the Denver nuggets NBA team was in the playoffs, and several times a week there were baseball games, so fans of both teams generally were walking through one of those two areas to get to and from the arena/stadium. Imagine if McMahon was also by downtown, and between McMahon and the saddle dome was the stampede entertainment district, plus a more entertainment friendly warehouse district, that alone would be huge.
__________________
Concerned about protecting Calgary's built heritage?
www.CalgaryHeritage.org
News - Development Watch - Forums
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #5  
Old Posted May 2, 2009, 11:45 PM
Doug Doug is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 7,691
Even though the Denver metro is much larger than Calgary, downtown Denver has a smaller workforce, less office space and I am guessing a lower resident population. The main differences are:
-Denver has a much larger stock of historic buildings even though it isn't all that much older than Calgary. The main reason is that it was larger and more prosperous than Calgary back in the late 1800's and early 1900's
-downtown Denver has more entertainment attractions, including 4 professional sports teams, an amusement park, a larger convention center, a major museum
-the weather in Denver is considerably warmer than Calgary. The golf courses stay open nearly year round and even in the winter, spells below freezing rarely last more than a few days at a time.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #6  
Old Posted May 3, 2009, 12:19 AM
Doug_Cgy Doug_Cgy is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Calgary, AB
Posts: 1,032
I'm so sick of this "everywhere is so much better than Calgary" mentality. Calgary is taking great strides to becoming a much more livable city. Just take a walk around the CBD/Beltine to experiece it in the making...Look at the plans for the East Village re-development, but also remember that things take time. Many cities would KILL to be in the situation we're in right now. I'm glad people have great trips, but remember when you're away, you almost always see things through rose coloured glasses.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #7  
Old Posted May 3, 2009, 12:57 AM
O-tacular's Avatar
O-tacular O-tacular is offline
It's PEOPLE!!!!!
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Calgary
Posts: 5,639
My feeling is that Calgary is at a tipping point right now. We aren't quite urban yet but we're getting there. I remember even just a few years ago downtown was literally devoid of traffic after dark on weekdays. Today, you take the flyover DT on a Monday and there's a line. This also applies to pedestrian traffic as there seems to be far more of it than there used to. The funniest story I remember hearing was my cousin from Montreal recounting his month he spent here in the mid 90's. He would try clubbing here, but told me how dead the downtown was and how one time he actually saw a tumble weed blowing by it was so dead. I distinctly remember seeing tumble weed a few times myself (probably due to the massive amounts of empty parking lots more than lack of ppl but it illustrates the point perfectly). All quiet at the OK corral.

Anyhow, I think what I'm getting at int his rambling speech is give it some time. Hell, when I graduated Highschool in 02 Sasso, Stmapede Station, Nuera, KEynote were all just empty parking lots that hookers used for johns. Even the Casino in its current form wasn;t there yet. And as much as it may be an evil to some ppl, it certainly brings a level of street life to it. I thinkt he next big contributor to vibrancy DT will be Le Germain, as it is in what has always been a no man's land for residential.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #8  
Old Posted May 3, 2009, 2:03 AM
freeweed's Avatar
freeweed freeweed is offline
Home of Hyperchange
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Dynamic City, Alberta
Posts: 17,378
Tumbleweeds exist because we live on the open plains, in just about the most arid part of them. NYC would have tumbleweeds if it were located here. They're not afraid of crowds or anything. Maybe if a moose walked through downtown Calgary I'd be worried.

Just sayin'.


To me Calgary is like being in your early 20s. It feels like everyone else you know has more than you, better things than you, more experience than you - but you have your entire life ahead of you and nothing but change to come. Every day is a new experience and 5 years amounts to a HUGE change in your surroundings.

Whereas a city like Montreal (random example) feels like you're living in your 60s. You have pretty much everything you want, but nothing new to look forward to. Everything that you have and everything that you do will pretty much be the same for the rest of your life. You might have all your ducks in a row and the checklist complete, but it's gonna be a very static existence from here on in.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #9  
Old Posted May 3, 2009, 3:31 AM
Doug_Cgy Doug_Cgy is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Calgary, AB
Posts: 1,032
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeweed View Post
Tumbleweeds exist because we live on the open plains, in just about the most arid part of them. NYC would have tumbleweeds if it were located here. They're not afraid of crowds or anything. Maybe if a moose walked through downtown Calgary I'd be worried.

Just sayin'.


To me Calgary is like being in your early 20s. It feels like everyone else you know has more than you, better things than you, more experience than you - but you have your entire life ahead of you and nothing but change to come. Every day is a new experience and 5 years amounts to a HUGE change in your surroundings.

Whereas a city like Montreal (random example) feels like you're living in your 60s. You have pretty much everything you want, but nothing new to look forward to. Everything that you have and everything that you do will pretty much be the same for the rest of your life. You might have all your ducks in a row and the checklist complete, but it's gonna be a very static existence from here on in
.

That sums its up perfectly!!

I also have to say on a side note...I was Downtown last night and the streets we're busy after dark...I think people are letting stereotypes get the best of them!!
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #10  
Old Posted May 4, 2009, 5:38 AM
DizzyEdge's Avatar
DizzyEdge DizzyEdge is offline
My Spoon Is Too Big
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Calgary
Posts: 7,251
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug_Cgy View Post
I'm so sick of this "everywhere is so much better than Calgary" mentality. Calgary is taking great strides to becoming a much more livable city. Just take a walk around the CBD/Beltine to experiece it in the making...Look at the plans for the East Village re-development, but also remember that things take time. Many cities would KILL to be in the situation we're in right now. I'm glad people have great trips, but remember when you're away, you almost always see things through rose coloured glasses.
Well it's true that when you're somewhere 'new' you probably don't notice the negatives. I agree with what you said about the historic building stock and the entertainment venues, I think both of those are huge, although you could probably mitigate the lesser historic stock with contemporary structures that have some of the same appeal.

One thing that's often said in Calgary is that if only more people lived downtown, things would pass that tipping point as was mentioned, but considering that Denver is surrounded by hundreds of blocks of mostly low rise apts or turn of the century single family, I'm thinking that many of the crowds have come *to* downtown, which translates into sort of a 'if you build it they will come' in the sense that if the right downtown attractions are present, people will come a distance to enjoy it. I guess what I'm sayig is density is good, but as we have seen in the West end, it alone will not create much. We need to make sure that attractions are incorporated into downtown as well.
__________________
Concerned about protecting Calgary's built heritage?
www.CalgaryHeritage.org
News - Development Watch - Forums
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #11  
Old Posted May 4, 2009, 7:21 PM
O-tacular's Avatar
O-tacular O-tacular is offline
It's PEOPLE!!!!!
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Calgary
Posts: 5,639
One more thing. I have never visited Denver except their airport during a layover, but I heard they have alot more brownfirld DT than we do. Is that true?
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #12  
Old Posted May 6, 2009, 5:14 AM
DizzyEdge's Avatar
DizzyEdge DizzyEdge is offline
My Spoon Is Too Big
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Calgary
Posts: 7,251
I think that's probably true. If you think about it, since Calgary started in Inglewood, that's where the industrial area also started, but then it moved to it's current location and the industrial stayed behind in Inglewood, so other than our 'warehouse district' along the tracks we don't really have industrial (or former industrial) adjacent to downtown which I suspect is uncommon.
__________________
Concerned about protecting Calgary's built heritage?
www.CalgaryHeritage.org
News - Development Watch - Forums
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13  
Old Posted May 6, 2009, 5:13 PM
Wooster's Avatar
Wooster Wooster is offline
Round Head
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 12,161
Interestingly I remember when Calgary hosted that International Downtown Associations conference there were some comments from the exec director of the Denver downtown association about how she really like how cohesive Calgary's downtown was - she felt that Denver's is far more fragmented and has a significantly greater amount of vacant land. Calgary's also has far more high density residential. Nevertheless, there's lots to like about places like LoDo in downtown Denver.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #14  
Old Posted May 6, 2009, 5:57 PM
AUM's Avatar
AUM AUM is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 587
I think the problem with Calgary is GREED! The problem with a lot of the current state of affairs, and this is just my opinion, is greed of industry and citizens. If we look at the current problem with mold in new residences, the many projects on hold, sinkholes, closing of restaurants, bars, and 'boutique shops' all seem to stem from GREED. It is one thing to be a prosperous city but prosperity based on greed leads to the problems we are seeing arise right now in our city.

A simple look at it is like this....

- Mold issues in new homes is a result of poor construction rushed processes. This all stems from GREED....the faster a home is built the more money is made.

- Sinkholes and projects on hold results from sepculation and increased demand not from people looking for a place to live but a place to flip...again GREED of development and citizens.

- Closing of bars, restaurants, shops....in some cases are forced out of exsiting locations to accomodate future development which in many cases has gone on hold and empty lots is all that is left in place for the meatime. Some situations are in part to high rents forcing smaller venues to close their doors.

It is a sad state of affairs when a city is at the state Calgary is at. We can only hope that things pick up again soon so we don't have to live in a city that is on 'hold'. This is a bit of a rant....and stems from frustrations that there is so much potential but it seems to get lost in the chaos. I think it is true and even at the scale of urban life that 'Money does not always equal happiness'!
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #15  
Old Posted May 6, 2009, 6:28 PM
Wooster's Avatar
Wooster Wooster is offline
Round Head
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 12,161
Well, there are a lot of cities with projects on hold, not just Calgary. Toronto has a massive blank parcel of rubble at the corner of Yonge and Bloor due to a halted project! I'm not sure greed, is really a great explanation - more like recession (which yes, stemmed from Wall Street Greed not Calgary's) and an unusually extreme period of ups (2005-2007/8) and downs (now). The rest can largely be boiled down to extremely poor construction site management practices and standards in this province.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #16  
Old Posted May 6, 2009, 6:44 PM
amaruk's Avatar
amaruk amaruk is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Bergen, Hordaland
Posts: 88
I went out for beers with a couple of co-workers last week and we got onto the discussion of Calgary and our thoughts on the city (2 are NFLD transplants, one Vancouverite, and myself the Torontonian). All of us said we won't be staying in Calgary, it's more of a place to get your career started, then leave and go elsewhere. This isn't the first time I've talked to people about this, and I think this mentality is a hindrance to making Calgary a great city. Obviously, I'm being completely hypocritical here since I'm in that boat, but it very much reminded me of when I was in Johannesburg and a friend said "no one wants to live in Joburg, we just come here to make money and leave". If the people moving to Calgary never intend to stay here, I think it makes it more difficult to create the 'feel' everyone likes in a great city, if that makes sense. I not sure if anyone else has experienced this, but I'd love to hear some opinions.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #17  
Old Posted May 6, 2009, 8:05 PM
Doug_Cgy Doug_Cgy is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Calgary, AB
Posts: 1,032
Quote:
Originally Posted by amaruk View Post
I went out for beers with a couple of co-workers last week and we got onto the discussion of Calgary and our thoughts on the city (2 are NFLD transplants, one Vancouverite, and myself the Torontonian). All of us said we won't be staying in Calgary, it's more of a place to get your career started, then leave and go elsewhere. This isn't the first time I've talked to people about this, and I think this mentality is a hindrance to making Calgary a great city. Obviously, I'm being completely hypocritical here since I'm in that boat, but it very much reminded me of when I was in Johannesburg and a friend said "no one wants to live in Joburg, we just come here to make money and leave". If the people moving to Calgary never intend to stay here, I think it makes it more difficult to create the 'feel' everyone likes in a great city, if that makes sense. I not sure if anyone else has experienced this, but I'd love to hear some opinions.

Yeah...I've heard that, but I've also heard MANY opinions contrary to that as well. I for one plan on being in Calgary for the rest of my life (unless some UNREAL . As much as everyone rants and raves about how great Vancouver is, that's a city I could not see myself living in. To each their own I guess
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #18  
Old Posted May 6, 2009, 8:19 PM
AUM's Avatar
AUM AUM is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 587
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wooster View Post
Well, there are a lot of cities with projects on hold, not just Calgary. Toronto has a massive blank parcel of rubble at the corner of Yonge and Bloor due to a halted project! I'm not sure greed, is really a great explanation - more like recession (which yes, stemmed from Wall Street Greed not Calgary's) and an unusually extreme period of ups (2005-2007/8) and downs (now). The rest can largely be boiled down to extremely poor construction site management practices and standards in this province.
Wooster you are right...I guess being a Calgarian I am so strongly focused on this city and what we can and need to do to help it get back on the right track. That's why I totally support Plan-It and hope that the government both Provincial and Municipal also put in some legislation that prevents future projects from leaving holes in out city.

It was a bit hasty of me to use GREED as the scape goat. But when I've been talking to people everyone seems to not care about the direction of the city because they made their money and who cares what happens to the city. It's like Amaruk said...most people came here to make money and once they have achieved that they intend to go somewhere else to enjoy life.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #19  
Old Posted May 7, 2009, 10:10 PM
Slug's Avatar
Slug Slug is offline
the goggles do nothing
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Between a big tree and a red bridge
Posts: 558
What happened in Chicago makes our problems look like a hic-up. Their new tallest designed by Calatrava sits as a massive hole in the ground while another top five building wastes away as a 20 story concrete hulk. Imagine if the Bow and EAP were in that condition the city would be drafting completion penalty bylaws as we speak. IMO this would make the problem worse the next time around raising risk where its only feasible to build at the height of a boom where there is no time to complete the project before the bust. We need more people like the developers of Livingstone place and hopefully the developers of EAP to smooth the cycles and eventually eliminate development failures.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #20  
Old Posted May 8, 2009, 5:18 PM
wild wild west wild wild west is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Dynamic City
Posts: 6,076
Re: the Denver-Calgry comparison - my 2 cents is that Denver has a more "well-rounded" donwtown (meanign a broader mix of the kinds of uses one expects in a downtown - sporting facilities, museums and art galleries, educational institutions, historic districts, retail mix, etc.) whereas Calgary's downtown is much more oriented towards business. In spite of the population difference being in Denver's favour, appearances are quite opposite: most of downtown Calgary consists of highrise canyons while downtown Denver has many more low-slung buildings interspersed with its highrises, which certainly does not leave someone the impression they are in the heart of a metro area of ~2.5 million. I didn't find Denver's downtown to be much different in terms of after-hours pedestrian traffic. In spite of Denver's better range of uses, we seem to have more of the basics - much larger downtown workforce, fewer parking lots, the more successful LRT system and of course more and denser downtown residential. That said there are certain elements of downtown Denver I would love to emulate...in particular, LoDo is awesome.
Reply With Quote
     
     
This discussion thread continues

Use the page links to the lower-right to go to the next page for additional posts
   
Reply

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > Canada > Alberta & British Columbia > SSP: Local Calgary > Buildings & Architecture, Urban Design & Heritage Issues
Forum Jump


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 11:18 AM.

     

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.