Red Deer Rejuvenation
The journal of the Alberta Association, Canadian Institute of Planners, featured the downtown redevelopment plan of Red Deer in its recent issue. There’s a strong SFU connection.
The plan was developed in 2008 by lead consultants Grandview Consulting and John Hull Architect, assisted by Michael Von Hausen and his design team, with Alberta-based urban planner Ken Johnson. Michael is the curriculum coordinator for the SFU City Program’s Urban Design Certificate, and in that role has taught many Alberta professionals.
Says the Journal:
Armed with inspiration and on-site observations, participants were then invited to a planning charrette led by the dynamic von Hausen design team. Later that same week, people were invited to drop in for informal coffee chats at the project office, where they could see rough concepts that were being developed and trade ideas with planners. The von Hausen team then gave a concepts presentation at week’s end, when the ideas were still fresh and the energy high.
In addition, past-UniverCity CEO Michael Geller, also a member of the City Program’s Advisory Committee, gave an inspirational talk on The Challenges of Downtowns: A World View. “The hall was packed and citizens, inspired by the international success stories, continued to participate actively through the week.”
Later, writing in the Vancouver Sun, Michael Geller noted the community’s high participation rates and its lack of interest-group conflict. The attitudes did not match those typically expected of free enterprise Albertans. “Local residents revealed a surprising level of interest in stormwater management, community gardens, energy conservation and sustainable planning,” Geller wrote. “At one point I suggested to the Mayor that most Canadians would be shocked to hear this kind of talk from people in the middle of Alberta.”
Said the Journal: “The keys to the high levels of public involvement were our consulting team’s local conections, the variety of ways in which people could participate and a clear opennes to citizens’ ideas.
For the complete article and more on the Red Deer plan, go here.
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