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Urban Development and Proposals Discussion

Calgcouver

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I will disagree. Centre City is for high-rise development. There are places for mid-rises, but east Beltline isn't one of them.
Fair enough. But this is this is exactly how you will get a fully-developed East Victoria Park by 2065, and a downtown that won't see a tower for 25 years. I think if you zone it too high, we can look forward to preserving gravel parking lots for future generations to enjoy!
 
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Calgcouver

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gsunnyg

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https://pub-calgary.escribemeetings.com/FileStream.ashx?DocumentId=76895
This document shares what was presented to the Planning Commision. In it they address the podium concerns. I think I read somewhere they want 1-2 storey podiums with setbacks on the high-rises. As long as the setbacks are sufficient enough then there shouldn't be a problem.

To Add:
Another problem with Calgary is that we're a follower not a leader, and we always tend to follow other North American cities, which IMO is the worst examples to follow. Once the initial renderings came out, I was sure the city was gonna rip something off from Edmonton or some other American city like LA. Ideally I wanted them to do something creative that would differentiate Calgary from other cities, something like Piccadilly Square instead of ur typical grid high rise cluster. I love the high rises along the rail line but I agree that 4-8 storey podiums would be ideal along the festive/main streets. At the very least Im hoping they can pull off a Yonge Street look. If this is gonna be another Edmonton carbon copy, then we're screwed. We also gotta take into consideration that this is a 50 year plan, with the initial phase suppose to 10-20 years. Maybe 20 years later they can re-amend the plan if it isn't working out.
 
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Calgcouver

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https://pub-calgary.escribemeetings.com/FileStream.ashx?DocumentId=76895
This document shares what was presented to the Planning Commision. In it they address the podium concerns. I think I read somewhere they want 1-2 storey podiums with setbacks on the high-rises. As long as the setbacks are sufficient enough then there shouldn't be a problem.
Thanks for posting this. Gave that section a read, and I just find the Design Guidelines as being vague and lacking teeth. In this case I think it would be worthwhile to tighten up the Design Guidelines with more focus and with sharper language. I think this would be especially important for the Warehouse District, where I just don't think towers should be permissible. I guess I view the Warehouse District as having potential to be like Mainland Street/Hamilton Street in Yaletown.
https://www.google.com/maps/@49.275...4!1s2lCmpvAXCgxsMHzsV7J95g!2e0!7i16384!8i8192
 

gsunnyg

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How does one notify the planning commission of these thoughts?
I think March 18th is the public hearing. However, I think if they are sort of going for what Arriva did with their tower and podium, then highrises setback should be fine.
https://www.google.ca/maps/@51.0419...hv3pu35UvyAtAdW9GPfg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en
IMO, something like that is acceptable (in terms of setbacks), maybe even set the tower back slightly more. You can hardly tell there's a tower dominating over you when you're walking along the sidewalk.
 

Surrealplaces

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I will disagree. Centre City is for high-rise development. There are places for mid-rises, but east Beltline isn't one of them.
I think ideally it should be a mixture. I'm saying that because I'm not much of a fan of highrise neighborhoods, unless there is a good mixture of low-rises in with them. I do agree that the best place for high-rises is areas like East Beltline or along the CP tracks, etc.. but too much of that does not make a nice neighbourhood. How to zone in such a way that you can get a mixture is a tricky one.
 

retrofiturbanism

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The streetview links didn't work for me, but I will assume they were of a bunch of sterile towers with no street-level interaction and a bunch of mid-rises that had awesome storefronts and the like. I could just as easily find a bunch of commie block mid-rises from eastern Europe, or mid-rise housing projects from the US that suck for street-interaction. I could also show hundreds of streets in Hong Kong or pretty much any Korean, Japanese or Chinese city that are brimming with people despite being nothing but towers. Height doesn't make or break urbanism. Crap ground level design makes or breaks urbanism.
 

Surrealplaces

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I agree wholeheartedly about the ground level design being the difference, and the importance of it. For me it's more about sunlight. In a place like Calgary where it's winter half the year, I prefer the lower rise type density such as Kensington or Mission, etc... Same good street level design but shorter towers.
That said, I'm not totally opposed to taller buildings either. I like taller buildings thrown in here and there among lower rise buildings. I like 11th and 11th or 500 Block, the way they mixed in with some other buildings of varying heights.
 

Calgcouver

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The streetview links didn't work for me, but I will assume they were of a bunch of sterile towers with no street-level interaction and a bunch of mid-rises that had awesome storefronts and the like. I could just as easily find a bunch of commie block mid-rises from eastern Europe, or mid-rise housing projects from the US that suck for street-interaction. I could also show hundreds of streets in Hong Kong or pretty much any Korean, Japanese or Chinese city that are brimming with people despite being nothing but towers. Height doesn't make or break urbanism. Crap ground level design makes or breaks urbanism.
Fair enough, not saying mid-rise can't be shit and not saying towers are bad purely based on form. Towers can have a decent podium and street level interaction with the appropriate stepback, materials and articulation. On the whole, I think Calgary has a lot of towers with shit podiums that feel sterile. Lots of Metro Vancouver isn't considerably better. I mean, I like towers and build towers in the Lower Mainland. But my main argument isn't based on urban design. Guardian towers get built? My argument for wanting East Victoria Park mid-rise is an economic one. I think that towers have the potential to overwhelm the demand for condos/apartments in an area quite quickly in Calgary. Even in Victoria Park, Guardian towers get built saturating the market; Orchard is a non-starter because of lack of demand and lots of supply. EV is a decent example of this as well. I think EV's cycle is over for awhile. They can't make Arris work, and Fram + Slokker are trying to get out of the other development parcels they have there. Whereas Marda Loop and Kensington don't seem to be overwhelmed with units, and have a more stable building cycle. It is easier to build a mid-rise building and not see your project die because of a shifting market. Calgary is tough market for towers compared to what I am used to.

At the end of the day, I just have a real beef with unproductive parking lots and inner-city land. My number one priority looking at this plan, is to see the land fill in with productive uses. And i feel the best way to achieve this is smaller scale development, and that giving away too much height and density will be counterproductive in achieving that goal.
 
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retrofiturbanism

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I guess I just disagree with you on that point. Zoning for midrise would just result in this area being sterile, as developers and buyers will just move to west Beltline or East Village, as you will be paying more than concrete prices for woodframe product due to land cost. I like mid-rise districts as much as anyone here, but you can't build a mid-rise district in an area that is already building towers.
 

Mountain Man

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Midrise and highrise have equal chances of being sterile, it's all up to the developers and architects who design them. Zoning for a certain density alone will have zero affect on the quality of the finished product. East Village is zoned for highrise and the majority of the buildings aren't styerile (Hat is pretty sterile though) meanwhile Kensington is zoned for midrise and has mostly avoided being sterile (St Johns on 10 is definitely sterile). It's all up to the city and residents to push for design quality and not just allow anything to go up anywhere.
 

Just build it

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Midrise and highrise have equal chances of being sterile, it's all up to the developers and architects who design them. Zoning for a certain density alone will have zero affect on the quality of the finished product. East Village is zoned for highrise and the majority of the buildings aren't styerile (Hat is pretty sterile though) meanwhile Kensington is zoned for midrise and has mostly avoided being sterile (St Johns on 10 is definitely sterile). It's all up to the city and residents to push for design quality and not just allow anything to go up anywhere.
Is St John's a good definition of sterile? Sterile to me is Brookfield Place or City Centre. St John's isn't my color tastes, but the street level result is good. All retail units are active, and two of them are restos which have evening foot traffic.
 

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