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Calgary's Beltline

Surrealplaces

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I took it upon myself to make the thread but accidentally posted in the "Design" forum. Feel free to move it to "Urban Life" if it's more appropriate
👍 I moved the thread over to the General Discussions. It's a good discussion subject, and I figured it might be better there as that section gets more traffic.
 

ByeByeBaby

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Went to High Park on Monday; it was talked about a little on opening day in the general Urban Development thread, but I think it belongs here.

Honestly, I wasn't expecting much, and was surprised how underwhelmed I was given my low expectations.
DSC09280_1.JPG

Basically, the uppermost deck (ie only the part south of the CPR) is converted to park. The section that bridges over the CPR and connects to Gulf Canada is still parking. One half of the space is picnic tables plus signs, the other half is picnic tables alone.
DSC09310_1.JPG

It's a slightly different view than you get at ground level, but it's not that different.

The picnic tables on the uppermost portion are paired one to one with signs, such as:
DSC09319_1.JPG

(Disclosure: It was not the best day of my life.)

The signs are mostly in this vein, which maybe a generational thing but rubbed me the wrong way. Like, there's positive messaging and then there's trite to the point of self-parody. Some of them were a little dialled down ("This makes me happy", "Happy birthday" even), but a lot of them were too much.
DSC09324_1.JPG

This reminded me of Idiocracy:

For me personally, the only message that sparked any joy in the entire park was where someone had written in chalk on one of the entrances: "Born 2 Shit, Forced 2 Wipe."

You'll note the pictures are devoid of life. I do try to avoid getting people in my shots normally for privacy reasons; this wasn't a concern here. I spent over half an hour there around 11 and didn't see a single person. On the way home from High Park, I passed through Central Memorial Park, which is two blocks away, and saw 8-10 people during my brief pass through.

I think that one problem is that the entire space is all-in on these few things; if you like motivational messages, Helvetica, bright mid tone colours and want to have coffee with one person not in your cohort, have I got a park for you. If you like literally anything else, from working out to history to tennis to flowers, tough luck. I know that it's a pilot and phase one, but I wish they had tried two or three different things in the (ample) space rather than just one. A couple of skateboard features; a fenced dog area with an agility ramp; a place for seating configurations other than two people, social distance. Something to make the park appeal to multiple demographics.

In the spirit of constructive criticism,
Strengths:
  • The picnic benches are cool; they've been built in a rotated style so that there is room to sit only one person on each end, and there's a long gap between people. A clever response to social distancing.
  • The colour scheme pops; it's cheerful on even a cold day.
Immediate room for improvement: Wayfinding is terrible. There are "High Park" signs on each side of the roof, but they're very high and hard to see.
DSC09340_1.JPG

(I wish the people who painted a giant, bright thing all over the side of the parkade had been in contact with the people who needed a sign about the park opening on the top of the parkade literally months later; adding a six storey "HIGH PARK" in the solid colour gradients on the sides would have been great visibility, for free.)

Adding even a couple of sandwich boards at ground level would help. Here's what you see if you were to enter the parkade on foot:
DSC09338_1.JPG

There are three rectangles in the greenish wall in the middle of this; they are the standard, 11x17" sign they made for High Park, just slapped on the wall. No one is going to see them from here; a larger sign is needed, designed to be seen from the street. Every step of the way to the park makes it hard to see where you need to go next. If you need to be in the know to visit a park, the park will fail.
 

JonnyCanuck

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I believe this park opened late in the summer so I don't think enough people know about. It also lacks 'a reason to go there' as a destination

I am sure there is a need to keep the cost manageable but it really could use some more artwork, sculpturing etc. Also badly needs some greenery (i.e potted trees, shrubs etc) to take away from the barren concrete.
 

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