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  • What will Alberta's provincial election mean for its cities? - Spacing Edmonton
    affordable housing in new development projects expanding the supply Work with Alberta s cities to ensure the City Charter process is mutually developed and respects cities as economic and social drivers for Alberta giving them the tools to build the services their residents expect The addition of affordable housing to the list of considerations is welcome The use of stable predictable funding and infrastructure priorities such as transit in the same sentence also seems somewhat promising But specific language sketching out a proper vision for the role of the province in supporting municipalities is not present here The supportive but vague language regarding City Charters also does not seem to move the yardstick much beyond the as yet unrealized promises of the PCs Liberal Party Like the NDP the base of support for the Liberals has traditionally been in cities But their platform as with all of the parties thus far is disappointingly short on attention to municipal issues though it does suggest one concrete idea that the front running party platforms do not Fully fund the Municipal Sustainability Initiative MSI and implement a process for fair and equitable distribution of industrial and linear tax revenue Invest in CTrain and LRT expansion as well as create Big City Charters for Calgary and Edmonton The interesting idea in the Liberal platform is the reference to fair and equitable distribution of industrial and linear tax revenue There has been some debate in recent years about the distribution of tax revenue from rural industry and linear infrastructure such as pipelines Rural counties take a much larger proportion of these types of taxes due to their large land area and yet have significantly fewer taxpayers to spend it on Although roads are a huge expense in rural areas other services such as policing fire recreation and social services are much less intensive than in urban areas so many counties have healthy balance sheets while urban municipalities struggle to keep up with demands The suggestion by the Liberals that the current distribution of these tax revenues should be reconsidered is provocative though it seems unlikely to help get them votes in rural areas Alberta Party Parties still trying to get a foothold on the political scene have the opportunity to make bold policy statements to grab the attention of potential voters but the Alberta Party has not been terribly bold where cities are concerned with several of their policy planks being vague reiterations of what the main parties are offering Use Alberta s excellent credit rating and access to low interest rates to borrow the funds needed to build the transit including LRT expansion and roads needed to accommodate our population growth Build flood mitigation infrastructure needed to protect downtown Calgary and the river communities upstream and downstream of Calgary Provide stable and predictable long term infrastructure funding for municipalities Create city charters for Calgary and Edmonton which recognize the abilities of the city governments to better meet the needs of their citizens The commitment

    Original URL path: http://spacing.ca/edmonton/2015/04/28/will-albertas-provincial-election-mean-cities/ (2015-11-16)
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  • Towers of Babel - Spacing Edmonton
    burned during the 2005 riots in France why the state of Kerala avoided the ugly Hindu Muslim bloodshed that Gujarat could not in India three years earlier Through interviews with politicians professors and community leaders as well as rappers street merchants and students the pair look at how multiethnic populations can recover from seemingly intractable political tensions how centuries of Danish German friction was resolved after World War Two in Flensburg Germany and how Russia s Muslim Tatars eked out a quiet arrangement for sovereignty while other regions such as Chechnya chose much bloodier alternatives in the wake of the Soviet Union s dissolution though developing events may challenge this conclusion The book rounds out with a look at arguably the world s most diverse place New York City s borough of Queens and its 138 languages while there is no mention of Toronto s self proclaimed status as the world s most diverse city Canada earns justifiable praise for some of its more progressive cultural preservation and integration policies as well as for far sighted theorists like Will Kymlicka and Charles Taylor Chicago s Cabrini Green America s most infamous housing project Photo by Mary C Johns But back to the towers How are they detrimental to multicultural and multiethnic polities In the same ways they impede community generally Concrete and steel highrises typically defined as at least 12 stories but often much much higher can be found in virtually every major city in Canada and around the world Cheap and quick to construct they mushroomed in the post war era to become the most commonly replicated structure on earth as the National Film Board s groundbreaking 2009 documentary series Highrise points out A seemingly slick solution to the issue of overcrowding in cities Le Corbusier inspired tower blocks once thought to be the hubs of futuristic garden cities soon lost their seductive sheen and became characterized as massive and isolating structures quick to age energy inefficient and prone to vandalism crime before it was demolished in 2010 the massive Cabrini Green housing project in Chicago was described as a virtual war zone Whether post Soviet cinder block American project or Indian chawl these structures particularly their common area corridors and lobbies dilapidated quickly without concerted care and maintenance Thus according to Meyer Brysaac In constructing homes for new immigrants horizontal appears to be more successful than vertical emphasis theirs Referencing the geographies and pathologies of the French riots the authors note the alienating characteristics of highrises wear the civic fabric bare and encourage ghettoization Few modernist dogmas seem to us more problematic than the enthusiasm for high rise apartments to shelter among others immigrant families They offer the example of low rise brownstones in Queens as a healthy alternative where smaller scaled neighbourhoods welcoming stoops and low slung awnings encourage interaction and familiarity That s not to say that large scale public housing projects or existing highrise apartments can t be made more liveable However as in many

    Original URL path: http://spacing.ca/edmonton/2014/03/29/towers-babel/ (2015-11-16)
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  • This Is Edmonton: Don Iveson's Mayoral Campaign - Spacing Edmonton
    Wood Buffalo s fourth term mayor Blake is 43 In the media it was frequently suggested that Don appealed primarily to a young demographic but it became increasingly clear as the campaign progressed that Don s appeal was much broader than that Campaign volunteers nearly 1 000 of them represented a wide range of backgrounds and age groups The positive responses he received at senior s centres at schools and universities from small business owners at Ramadan celebrations in gospel churches and Sikh community centres spoke to his widespread appeal and ability to connect with and understand the issues of the entire spectrum of Edmontonians Whether talking about the challenges of integrating immigrant communities encouraging more affordable infill housing fostering a can do civic culture or making sure potholes are filled and streets repaired Don was always articulate and responsive to his audience I am very proud to have played a role in the election of this energetic affable and intensely thoughtful and generous man The next four years will no doubt be interesting to watch and I expect that wherever he leads us it will always be forward never back All photos Tom Young 2013 Meeting citizens at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival in Gallagher Park Suiting up for a long day of campaigning Chatting with artists at the Strathearn Art Walk Door knocking in the Parkview neighbourhood A sign from an earlier campaign partitions the space as volunteers of all ages work the phones at Iveson HQ Speaking with high school students at iHuman Youth Society Speaking with post secondary students at Concordia University College Don literally running for mayor as he door knocks in the Kilkenny neighbourhood Playing pool at the Mill Woods Society for the Retired and Semi Retired Posing for a photo with the owners of Tres Carnales Taqueria big fans from his work on outdoor patios Intense conversation on the doorstep Greeting supporters at the campaign s Get Out the Vote Rally the week before the election The Map Room at HQ where flyering and door knocking routes were planned and distributed A volunteer on the phones at HQ Breakfast at HQ before the volunteer teams head out to flyer and door knock The campaigning never stops A roadside pitstop to take an interview with Metro News On Election Day supporters are hopeful as the polls close at 8 pm The results start to roll in It very quickly looks like a win Media outlets start to declare Don the Mayor Elect at around 9 pm Don emerges and makes very slow progress through the crowd The crowd goes wild as he mounts the stage With daughter Alice in his arms Don shares in the excitement before starting his speech A supporter sheds a tear during his election victory speech A quick glass of Edmonton s finest mid speech while his wife Sarah looks on Don speaks to reporters as the night draws to a close Subscribe to Mag Share Post Tweet Post Buy

    Original URL path: http://spacing.ca/edmonton/2013/10/25/edmonton-don-ivesons-mayoral-campaign/ (2015-11-16)
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  • New Old City - Spacing Edmonton
    regulated portions are still redevelopable and the land and building continues to retain its economic value Less overt are the inadequacies of our current incentives and municipal tax systems For example our heritage reserve fund lacks the resources to fund the sheer number and scale of potential projects in this city How can we improve a municipal heritage program that despite being considered one of the best in the country lacks adequate tools to support small owners that may not have the contacts resources or know how of larger developers Not to be forgotten our current tax regimes tend to incentivize allowing old buildings to fall into disrepair Not to be outdone the general public has not exactly been helping the cause for heritage in Edmonton Whether it s journalists who devalue robust historical conservation efforts while trying to sound supportive or citizens who see no value in public spending on heritage preservation And what to do with a highly fragmented heritage community that could benefit from more coordinated and united advocacy and education Consider also that local outrage about the loss of heritage tends to be muted and short lived Heck Throw some blame my way Here I am proselytizing about all that s wrong with heritage in Edmonton and I haven t provided much in the way of solutions My wife says I could make a career out of complaining Built heritage in this city has endured generations of indifference and inaction at all levels The destruction of built heritage in Edmonton has been commonplace for so long that many of us shrug in indifference at the heritage threat of the week We continue to excuse our heritage missteps as the awkward growing pains of a young city still trying to find itself in this wide world We

    Original URL path: http://spacing.ca/edmonton/2015/03/03/new-old-city/ (2015-11-16)
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  • Nîkânîw: Edmonton's Aboriginal Youth Leadership Program - Spacing Edmonton
    long enough to swim to an edge she says Shortly after joining Nîkânîw I realized swimming was something I loved doing In 2006 her love for aquatics translated into a job at the city s O Leary Fitness Leisure Centre Water holds important meaning in Aboriginal cultures making the link between Nîkânîw and its aquatic program component all the more significant In my first years in the program Nîkânîw s founding Elder late Marge Friedel would talk to us about the importance of water Lorie says She would talk about how our bodies were made up of mainly water She would talk about the strength water has and how with water brings life and water can be dangerous too Water teaches us to be humble patient and respectful Aboriginal youth who are enrolled in Nîkânîw receive a City of Edmonton Leisure Centre Facility Pass for the duration of the program season which typically runs from September to March They also are given the opportunity to earn several first aid and aquatic certifications that can lead to employment opportunities as instructors or lifeguards at the city s leisure centres Youth also receive career development support through workshops hosted by human resources representatives from the city who teach them about writing resumes applying for jobs and practicing interview skills Photo by Lorie White Another facet of the program is leadership Lorie notes Elder Marge Friedel would talk to us about the teachings of the geese She would explain to us why geese would fly in a V when flying south for the winter She explained that the goose at the top of the V was the leader and when that goose was tired it would fall back and let another goose take over the lead She would say that we as Aboriginal leaders in our community needed to work as a team and show support and respect for each other as leaders Throughout their experience in the program youth are exposed to Aboriginal leaders from across the city including the program instructors who are all past graduates of the program Tied to the theme of leadership is community involvement Nîkânîw recently partnered with Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society s New in Town Aboriginal Welcome Service Nîkânîw youth acted as ambassadors at one of their events in spring 2013 The event was called On the Move and New in Town and invited youth from smaller communities outside of Edmonton to come enjoy a day in the city and learn what it might be like to live in the city Lorie explains Perhaps the most important element of the Nîkânîw program is its incorporation of cultural teachings Four Elders are regularly involved with Nîkânîw Jerry Wood Gisele Wood Betty Lafferty and Francis Whiskeyjack The Elders practice mainly Cree Sioux and Métis customs Topics covered in the past include sweat protocol drum circles talking sticks and smudging Exposure to the ways and customs of other Aboriginal groups are also incorporated Lorie notes We have brought

    Original URL path: http://spacing.ca/edmonton/2015/01/20/nikaniw-edmontons-aboriginal-youth-leadership-program/ (2015-11-16)
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  • Gaming the City - Spacing Edmonton
    maintaining a balanced and ordered relationship between each of the elements within the urban fabric If any one element outpaces the other elements the player risks losing the game Like old school urban games cities were historically seen as being organized by a top down imposed grand design Mechanical in nature cities were often encircled by walls with highly structured street networks with the activities occurring within being independent of form As in first generation urban games the relationship between urban form and function was understood to be simple Fast forward to the twenty first century and the thinking on urban systems and their computer model counterparts has significantly evolved Michael Batty the Bartlett Professor of Planning Emeritus at University College London wrote extensively on computer based urban models in his important and math laden book Cities and Complexity Invoking Jane Jacobs Life and Death of the Great American City Batty characterized urban problems as problems of organized complexity I understand organized complexity to be the non random interaction between elements of a system that result in a more complex structure and network As Jacobs states organized complexity presents situations in which a half dozen or even several dozen quantities are all varying simultaneously and in subtly interconnected ways Organized complexity recasts our conceptualization of the urban from a simple mechanical model to a biological system of many interconnected elements and relationships For instance if a neighbourhood is a structure and humans are components of that structure the resulting interactions that play out over time are organized complexity Measurable outcomes from this example might be a housing market pollution traffic flow population growth GDP or any metrics and associated data that we use to understand cities And these complex relationships and interactions can be modeled with urban games Urban based video games today are are being redefined by the following factors Notions of organized complexity as the basis for computer models coupled with Faster computers i e more processors working more quickly and An ever increasing amount of data associated with urban environments For example IBMs City One game watch the trailer above asks Think you know what it takes to make the energy systems that serve a city more efficient Given the opportunity could you make the city s water cleaner and more plentiful its banks more robust and customer centric and its retail stores more innovative While City One is unabashedly techno utopian and purely fictional it does raise the question of how we can imagine urban games based on live open data feeds As a thought experiment it s interesting to me to consider the data I would want to integrate into my game and what the potential outcomes might be For instance imagine that there were several gamers within Edmonton who were using live data feeds representing a range of events such as resource use traffic pollution demographics and city finances Image that the game presented each player with similar decisions faced by council each year

    Original URL path: http://spacing.ca/edmonton/2014/11/05/gaming-city/ (2015-11-16)
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  • A Tramway to Somewhere - Spacing Edmonton
    up to its bank Once ferry service was established earlier that year crossing the river was relatively easy Getting in and out of the valley on the other hand continued to be difficult Council s intent for the tramway was made clear in two July 26 items read one after the other The first gave instructions that the necessary steps be taken to procure legislation for providing for the establishing of an Electric Railway System one of the branches of which shall run from the town to the present Railway Station The Ordinance mentioned earlier contains specific language about connecting to the railway station though its importance can be lost in the numerous clauses of the legislation The second item gives instructions to write to CPR with the view to finding out upon what terms the Company will extend their line to a point within the limits of their town as near as may be The purpose of the tramway cannot be viewed in isolation of continued efforts to work with CPR to bring the railway closer to Edmonton The former commissioner suggested that Edmonton refused to be docile under this extinction process and immediately took steps towards securing a rail connection across the river between the town and the CPR The 1893 tramway proposal was sufficiently broad to cover the possibility that the system could generally serve the Edmonton region Its main purpose though was clearly to ensure the survival of Edmonton by bringing the rail service stopped on the south side the rest of the way to town By 1908 Edmonton was a city and the capital of the new Province of Alberta It had a railway connection across the low level bridge the Edmonton Yukon and Pacific line The tramway put into service that year was first

    Original URL path: http://spacing.ca/edmonton/2015/09/10/a-tramway-to-somewhere/ (2015-11-16)
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  • 5 things ETS could improve for new users - Spacing Edmonton
    get off the bus during a non stop section of an express route This can become stressful for unaware passengers on buses like Route 100 where there are no stops for nearly ten kilometres between West Edmonton Mall and Downtown For instance I saw a child breakdown into tears because the bus driver refused to stop along the route thinking that they could get to school Part of the problem is that the route map provided is not clear in demonstrating the non stop service In the following image the top diagram illustrates unnecessary and distracting information that could confuse riders on first glance The map below it shows the same route but the graphic is simplified to avoid misinterpretation Another way to soften this problem is to turn some of the express routes into bus rapid transit BRT routes In the case of Route 100 some stops could be removed Downtown and added to 124 Street 142 Street and Meadowlark That way the bus can service more neighbourhoods without increasing the number of stops it has to make 3 Directionality e g Route 4 Riders can benefit from knowing which direction buses are going From the University of Alberta new riders are told to take Route 4 to get to West Edmonton Mall However some people will take the wrong Route 4 and head the opposite direction towards Capilano If ETS could use 4W or 4E for the bus names or something similar it would do wonders 4 This Bus Stop Sign Found on the Northeast corner of 107 Street and Jasper Avenue Lots of people end up missing their bus at this corner because the sign does not draw any attention Worse the most important information presented here reads like fine print Instead the sign should read in large black capital letters at eye level BUS STOP CLOSED AFTER 10PM accompanied with a bus symbol behind a large X It may not catch everybody s attention but I m willing to bet it would catch more 5 Visibility and Wayfinding This issue has been previously mentioned in our blog by Jeff Robson Signage at LRT stations in Edmonton is often excessively detailed visually busy inconsistent and not to be understood quickly In short it is many things that signage should not be Differentiating LRT signage from its wheeled counterpart is important in not only communicating the difference in travel options and experiences but also increasing visibility for transit users with low visual acuity That said I definitely support the idea of reintroducing the Flying E design to replace the existing signage at LRT stations Existing LRT logo at Bay Enterprise Station Photo credit Mack Male 2011 Have any other suggestions on improving ETS Share your ideas in the comments below Subscribe to Mag Share Post Tweet Post Buy Merch andise Related Posts Continuing the Great Bus Debate Time to Revisit Pulse Transit What do ETS riders need from a transit strategy Part 1 Bike Collisions in Edmonton Late

    Original URL path: http://spacing.ca/edmonton/2015/02/19/5-things-edmonton-transit-improve-new-users/ (2015-11-16)
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