Several malls in the area are envisioned as the future homes of modern urban villages.Cities across North America have some questions about what they can do with malls and centers that are in need of a little TLC, or in some cases a major facelift. Proactive owners and developers generally will take the ball and run with it, but sometimes the cities themselves will have a big hand in crafting the overall vision for their transformation. According to CBC News, that’s the case up in Calgary, Alberta, and the city could look remarkably different over the course of the next few decades.
Several malls in the area, such as Northland Village, North Hill mall, and Stadium Shopping Centre, are envisioned as the future homes of modern urban villages. The regional malls have lived a useful life, but changing consumer habits and the desire for centrally-located services and facilities leave them looking like ghost towns when the shopping is done. Add in the massive parking lots needed to accommodate the shoppers themselves, that’s a lot of space to leave sitting idle for stretches at a time. Enter the urban village concept, which has been executed successfully in numerous cities across North America.
"While growth on the outskirts of the city is still part of the city's plan, it's recognized that there's a need to grow within to a larger extent to minimize the traffic, to maximize opportunities, to take full advantage of existing infrastructure and reduce the need to provide new infrastructure," shares coordinator of community planning for the City of Calgary Paul Donker.
He goes on to acknowledge how the city has drawn inspiration from other successful developments.
"Access to shops and services, to transit, without necessarily always needing to get in a car is something that's becoming more desirable in Calgary and generally in North America. People like a high street, or main street experience with their shopping," he says.
While all this development will take awhile to get off of the ground, it’s exciting to see a city acknowledge the need for change, and do its best to make the vision a reality. It’s not hard to envision that 20 years in the future, Calgary could look like a much different city.
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26 SEPTEMBER 2016, Canada