In 1875, Calgary was a city ripe with possibility. The areas we now refer to as Inglewood and the East Village were spotted by the North West Mounted Police and deemed the perfect place to set-up fort beside the river.
However, over 100 years later, the East Village wasn’t exactly thriving. Labelled “seedy” and “skid row,” this part of town was more known for drug use and prostitution than a bustling downtown community.
In 2005, urban planners, city council and the public decided to bring this spot back to life and in 2007, the City put out a bid to architecture firms to come up with a master plan for the area. International firm, Broadway Malyan won the bid with its walkability-based European compact-city model.
“The area has a beautiful waterfront surrounded by parks and is next to Fort Calgary,” says Phil Bonds, director of urban design in the London office of Broadway Malyan. “We knew it could be a residential settlement, as well as a place for businesses.”
To pay for what would be hundreds of millions of dollars worth of infrastructure-upgrading and development, the City followed a U.S. model of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) — essentially anticipating after paying to upgrade infrastructure, future city tax revenues would be higher due to private investment in the area. Under the TIF plan, the City’s investment would then be recouped.
This $240 million in TIF was also used to found and form the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), which is leading the development.
So far, $108 million has been spent upgrading roads, sidewalks and raising the floodplain of the Bow River.
Click here to keep reading this Calgary Herald article with EVDS Planning Professor Bev Sandalak's comments.
Image: View from RiverWalk in East Village, courtesy of Michelle Hofer. Article by Cara Casey.