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Calgcouver

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Been having conversations lately as places like Avli recently finished and the RNDSQR Block proposal have come to Inglewood, and the conversations have stemmed around what kind a place and street we are trying to create out of 9th Avenue. This could also translate over to how to redevelop the Warehouse District in East Victoria Park.

Basically, because we don't have strong architectural design guidelines for areas in Calgary, we get applications that do not necessarily respond to the context of there surroundings, which becomes more apparent in places like Inglewood that already have a pretty cohesive identity/look. I think that South Bank responded to it's context in Inglewood well. But I feel Avli looks and feels more Marda Loop and I don't think it makes very much sense on 9th Avenue. I know it is subjective to say that some buildings do or don't fit or belong in certain areas (especially when talking to Calgarians).

But places like Gastown were no accident, and feels different than any other part of Vancouver. Community Plans, Land Use Bylaw, how UDRP reviews applications all helped create the Gastown that looks and feel cohesively 'historic' that you see today.

So my question is, when we are looking at creating distinct and varied neighbourhoods and main streets over time, should we create guidelines to make them feel distinct and should they respond to existing 'historic' context for development in the Warehouse District and in Inglewood? I am just concerned that if we don't start treating areas differently, every mid-rise main street in the City is just going to look the same and be placeless.

Also before people start on about how they don't like 'faux-historic' architecture, I don't think everything should be so prescriptive that everything has to look the same and that architecture should be varied. But i do think that architecture/design should respond to context and create a real sense of place, especially in distinct places like Inglewood. Here are some examples of buildings i think would appropriately fit within the Inglewood or Warehouse District context.

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Disraeli

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So my question is, when we are looking at creating distinct and varied neighbourhoods and main streets over time, should we create guidelines to make them feel distinct and should they respond to existing 'historic' context for development in the Warehouse District and in Inglewood? I am just concerned that if we don't start treating areas differently, every mid-rise main street in the City is just going to look the same and be placeless.
Yes, yes we should. Density should not come at the expense of neighbourhood identity. Having good guidelines is important. Listening to resident's legitimate concerns and not immediately dismissing them as NIMBYism is another. As for the warehouse district, and 11th and 10th ave in general, it will be a wasted opportunity if we don't impose design guidelines and instead allow a bunch ONE Towers to fill up the lots.
 

MichaelS

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The key word above is legitimate, something that is difficult to get when going out for engagement. Perfect example, especially in the context of Inglewood, is Hungerford's 9th Avenue project, which went to Council on Monday (very late on Monday). The community association's presentation was..... interesting.... to say the least. Council was not a fan... If you are keen to watch, it is item 8.1.13 in the minutes, found here (complete with video):
The CA's presentation starts around 7:59:00 mark of the video if you don't want to see the previous presentations. Councils follow-up questions are a great way to gauge how it went over....
 

Calgcouver

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The key word above is legitimate, something that is difficult to get when going out for engagement. Perfect example, especially in the context of Inglewood, is Hungerford's 9th Avenue project, which went to Council on Monday (very late on Monday). The community association's presentation was..... interesting.... to say the least. Council was not a fan... If you are keen to watch, it is item 8.1.13 in the minutes, found here (complete with video):
The CA's presentation starts around 7:59:00 mark of the video if you don't want to see the previous presentations. Councils follow-up questions are a great way to gauge how it went over....
Thanks, that presentation connected to the Inglewood CA made me want to jump out a window haha. Definitely not on the same page as those people, they are the worst.

I just think that having reasonable architectural guidelines for Inglewood in the ARP would be helpful in guiding the vision for the community. Unfortunately that CA is full of idiots it appears, as are many actually.
 

Alex_YYC

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I watched some of the video, and found it very interesting that Nenshi and Farell seemed down on the Hillhurst proposal. For all the bellyaching Druh has done about the 14 new greenfield communities, it's surprising that she's going to take a negative stand on something built in Hillhurst becuase it doesn't contribute enough to the public realm or it's a few metres above the ARP height.
Also got a chuckle out of Nenshi saying the development seemed 'self serving'. Buddy...all developments in all parts of the city are self serving for the most part. Developers don't work for free. And Druh and Nenshi both questioning the development's contribution to the 14th street's public realm? Some of those councilors need to get realistic.
 

Just build it

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I've always been a left wing type guy, but I find Druh mostly annoying. She 's one of those left wingers who are so far to the left, I can't tell if she's a left winger or a right winger. ?

But back to the conversation at hand. I appreciate the idea of keeping a neighborhood's identity. In a perfect world I'd like to see that, but I'm not sure it can be done feasibly. Places that maintain guidelines to preserve character make great places for tourists to take photos, or great places to live at for short periods of time but often not great places to live long term. I can think of a couple of places that have this situation. San Francisco and Charleston SC. Both cities have beautifully preserved neighborhoods of low rise buildings and houses with strictly adhered context related to architectural styles and time periods. Great for tourists to take pics, and great place to live - if you can afford it. The problem is nobody can afford to live in those nicely preserved areas, they're just too expensive for the average person. New developments do get built, but they are too small and expensive due to having to conform to the size and style of the area, and thus they don't really add any housing stock for the average person.
 
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Disraeli

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But back to the conversation at hand. I appreciate the idea of keeping a neighborhood's identity. In a perfect world I'd like to see that, but I'm not sure it can be done feasibly. Places that maintain guidelines to preserve character make great places for tourists to take photos, or great places to live at for short periods of time but often not great places to live long term. I can think of a couple of places that have this situation. San Francisco and Charleston SC. Both cities have beautifully preserved neighborhoods of low rise buildings and houses with strictly adhered context related to architectural styles and time periods. Great for tourists to take pics, and great place to live - if you can afford it. The problem is nobody can afford to live in those nicely preserved areas, they're just too expensive for the average person. New developments do get built, but they are too small and expensive due to having to conform to the size and style of the area, and thus they don't really add any housing stock for the average person.
I think it's the opposite problem-- character areas become less affordable the more you open up zoning. Developer friendly zoning increases land values (and taxes) which creates an incentive to sell the character home, affordable apartment or small shop to a developer who will look to capitalize on the market by demoing and building condos. The condos and retail that replace it are priced way outside what the original occupants could afford hence the ma and pop place gets replaced by a lululemon and the old apartment with $800 a month rent, replaced by condos worth $300 000. It's a big problem. Vancouver for example has demolished or converted a ton of smaller affordable apartments over the last couple of decades which has been a big factor in the outrageous cost of housing in their older neighbourhoods.
 

JoeUrban

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I've always been a left wing type guy, but I find Druh mostly annoying. She 's one of those left wingers who are so far to the left, I can't tell if she's a left winger or a right winger. ?

But back to the conversation at hand. I appreciate the idea of keeping a neighborhood's identity. In a perfect world I'd like to see that, but I'm not sure it can be done feasibly. Places that maintain guidelines to preserve character make great places for tourists to take photos, or great places to live at for short periods of time but often not great places to live long term. I can think of a couple of places that have this situation. San Francisco and Charleston SC. Both cities have beautifully preserved neighborhoods of low rise buildings and houses with strictly adhered context related to architectural styles and time periods. Great for tourists to take pics, and great place to live - if you can afford it. The problem is nobody can afford to live in those nicely preserved areas, they're just too expensive for the average person. New developments do get built, but they are too small and expensive due to having to conform to the size and style of the area, and thus they don't really add any housing stock for the average person.

If character areas end up being very expensive, does that mean that there should only be a limited number of them, or that there should never be any? Is it a reasonable tradeoff to maintain a few areas that preserves a city's history and simultaneously attracts tourists or is it preferred that a city has none of that?
 
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JoeUrban

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I think it's the opposite problem-- character areas become less affordable the more you open up zoning. Developer friendly zoning increases land values (and taxes) which creates an incentive to sell the character home, affordable apartment or small shop to a developer who will look to capitalize on the market by demoing and building condos. The condos and retail that replace it are priced way outside what the original occupants could afford hence the ma and pop place gets replaced by a lululemon and the old apartment with $800 a month rent, replaced by condos worth $300 000. It's a big problem. Vancouver for example has demolished or converted a ton of smaller affordable apartments over the last couple of decades which has been a big factor in the outrageous cost of housing in their older neighbourhoods.

100%. When a few older homes in Mission which had 4 suites in them are replaced with new condos, how often could the original residents afford to live in the new building? I would guess never. The demolition of older buildings in the innercity to improve affordability often feels like a scam except in the case of essentially single family mansions.

I would really prefer we followed Toronto's lead where hundreds of blocks of historic homes still stand, typically divided into 2-3 suites each, with those communities surrounded by busy retail streets lined end to end with turn of the century retail. This leads to a varied and dense retail presence, we're talking 18 businesses per 100m side of street, for hundreds of blocks, the kind of retail richness that is rarely replicated with new buildings. In fact the only places that come close to that in Calgary is Inglewood, parts of 17th avenue, and Stephen avenue, aka turn of the century buildings. Focus the higher density buildings around the CBD such as is happening on either side of 10th avenue and along Macleod Trail, as well as in no longer utilized inner-city industrial sites which require redevelopment.

In fact, trying to insert high density into Inglewood's mainstreet when there are more than 2 city blocks worth of self storage lockers to the west of the old brewery site, and just 180m from 9th avenue seems ridiculous.

Lastly, if there's any signs that some sort of design guidelines are needed in the area, these two sites scream it to me

Imagine being a tourist exploring the original site of Calgary as a town, and seeing the crap we've allowed to be built there.

ing1.png



Beautiful photo of historic Inglewood, could be a postcard
ing2.png
 
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JoeUrban

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Thanks, that presentation connected to the Inglewood CA made me want to jump out a window haha. Definitely not on the same page as those people, they are the worst.

I just think that having reasonable architectural guidelines for Inglewood in the ARP would be helpful in guiding the vision for the community. Unfortunately that CA is full of idiots it appears, as are many actually.

One thing I'd caution, and perhaps ask as far as the Vancouver experience: In Calgary everything in the ARP, height and density restrictions, and other guidelines, are regularly ignored and developments which don't follow ARP guidelines are often proposed and approved. This has led me to believe that any 'guideline' is useless in the Calgary context, particularly if it is listed in a guidance document as a 'guideline' and not a severe and hard restriction. What has been the experience in Vancouver?
 

JoeUrban

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The key word above is legitimate, something that is difficult to get when going out for engagement. Perfect example, especially in the context of Inglewood, is Hungerford's 9th Avenue project, which went to Council on Monday (very late on Monday). The community association's presentation was..... interesting.... to say the least. Council was not a fan... If you are keen to watch, it is item 8.1.13 in the minutes, found here (complete with video):
The CA's presentation starts around 7:59:00 mark of the video if you don't want to see the previous presentations. Councils follow-up questions are a great way to gauge how it went over....

The first three presenters seemed good and to the point (not following city policies, putting the desirability of Inglewood as a film location at risk, and potential loss to businesses due to multiple development projects at once). 4th was a bit weak about the ghost tours, but then the 5th discussing how Toronto councilors 'get it' and the very relevant comment that by allowing developments to proceed that are way over the ARP guidelines punishes prior developers who were following the guidelines. Very very good point. Last presentation was more like the 4th.
Also the point about the city not being a good steward of heritage is right on the money. Many people don't realize that half of historic Stephen Avenue is completely unprotected and could in theory be demolished at any time.

Either way the weakness of a couple of the presentations don't negate the true points brought up in the other 3.

Wooley's initial comments were bizarre, obviously the comments about the film industry and the slides about 17th ave were directed more at the multiple development plans in progress in the area, in fact only focusing on individual development proposals in a vacuum is exactly the risk they were trying to point out.
 
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zagox

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From the Inglewood newsletter:

"IN RESPONSE TO the outrageous proposals of THREE SEPARATE TOWERS (ranging from 38m to 50m), representing 2 to 2.5 times the currently by-lawed height of 20 metres, you may have seen or heard of a community-initiated change.org petition objecting to this assault on Inglewood’s Ninth Avenue.

These developments do not contextually fit in with heritage in scale or style and will change the face of the community forever. City Council repeats a mantra of how “world class” our city is but has not squared that with the result that if even one of these glass towers is built, Calgary would be the only major Canadian city to lose its Heritage District, which could prove a critical blow to our business community, not to mention the loss of millions of dollars in revenue from film and heritage tourism industries.

We have attempted to communicate both these economic and planning principles to Council, but this has been unsuccessful. The City should not be surprised that many citizens are opposed to these dramatic changes. As Council has demonstrated its unwillingness to listen respectfully or with an open mind to the community’s viewpoint and concerns, we have had to seek out an alternative means of delivering our message.

Most Calgarians don’t realize the City’s current Administration’s agenda is to change the entire planning policy for the City. Its end goal appears to be an elimination of the single-family typology (single detached, duplexes, and rowhouses will all become one land use) and significant up-zoning City-wide with a loss of local area planning that is specific to each neighborhood. The City has not been honest or forthcoming with citizens about their agenda or how it will impact each landowner.

A city-wide overhaul of area-based planning bylaws (i.e. area redevelopment plans (ARP’s)), in which we and other city-centre communities (such as Bridgeland) are test cases, has been marked by a superficial consultation process. After having been asked to invest years of time in outlining our individual neighbourhood character for reflection in updated legislation, the City has done an about-face and intends to deliver watered-down district plans, where references to local character are omitted entirely. Through the Inner-City Coalition (a group of Inner-City Community Associations and representatives from the City), it has been agreed that we need to band together to make any impact – we can start by agreeing that communities have the right to self-determination.

If we can capture a groundswell of opposition to these profit-centre-based towers and prove that Calgary values our heritage, we hope to demonstrate to those Councillors who really wish to represent their constituents, that the heart of Calgary is at risk. There are case studies all over North America showing how walkable, pedestrian-scale inner-city neighbourhoods become victims of their own success, once they are embraced by developers who seek to exploit their charm and livability. Many Calgarians are taking a stand to indicate that they will not allow politicians to turn Inglewood’s quintessential urban village into another casualty of greed."
 

Calgcouver

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From the Inglewood newsletter:

"IN RESPONSE TO the outrageous proposals of THREE SEPARATE TOWERS (ranging from 38m to 50m), representing 2 to 2.5 times the currently by-lawed height of 20 metres, you may have seen or heard of a community-initiated change.org petition objecting to this assault on Inglewood’s Ninth Avenue.

These developments do not contextually fit in with heritage in scale or style and will change the face of the community forever. City Council repeats a mantra of how “world class” our city is but has not squared that with the result that if even one of these glass towers is built, Calgary would be the only major Canadian city to lose its Heritage District, which could prove a critical blow to our business community, not to mention the loss of millions of dollars in revenue from film and heritage tourism industries.

We have attempted to communicate both these economic and planning principles to Council, but this has been unsuccessful. The City should not be surprised that many citizens are opposed to these dramatic changes. As Council has demonstrated its unwillingness to listen respectfully or with an open mind to the community’s viewpoint and concerns, we have had to seek out an alternative means of delivering our message.

Most Calgarians don’t realize the City’s current Administration’s agenda is to change the entire planning policy for the City. Its end goal appears to be an elimination of the single-family typology (single detached, duplexes, and rowhouses will all become one land use) and significant up-zoning City-wide with a loss of local area planning that is specific to each neighborhood. The City has not been honest or forthcoming with citizens about their agenda or how it will impact each landowner.

A city-wide overhaul of area-based planning bylaws (i.e. area redevelopment plans (ARP’s)), in which we and other city-centre communities (such as Bridgeland) are test cases, has been marked by a superficial consultation process. After having been asked to invest years of time in outlining our individual neighbourhood character for reflection in updated legislation, the City has done an about-face and intends to deliver watered-down district plans, where references to local character are omitted entirely. Through the Inner-City Coalition (a group of Inner-City Community Associations and representatives from the City), it has been agreed that we need to band together to make any impact – we can start by agreeing that communities have the right to self-determination.

If we can capture a groundswell of opposition to these profit-centre-based towers and prove that Calgary values our heritage, we hope to demonstrate to those Councillors who really wish to represent their constituents, that the heart of Calgary is at risk. There are case studies all over North America showing how walkable, pedestrian-scale inner-city neighbourhoods become victims of their own success, once they are embraced by developers who seek to exploit their charm and livability. Many Calgarians are taking a stand to indicate that they will not allow politicians to turn Inglewood’s quintessential urban village into another casualty of greed."
Wow, they do themselves no favours. I could be persuaded to ask for lower building heights and architectural guidelines that reflect the heritage of the area, but they are talking about sites that are car dealerships and a gravel parking lot. what are they even on about with the elimination of the single-family typology? No shit you're seeing multi-family applications, you are an old community that is very inner city. Whoever wrote that for the newsletter is very high on themselves, it sounds like a weird call to action in the voice/tone of like a Bitchy Braveheart.
 

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