Map of Land Uses in Midnapore Townsite, from The Midnapore I Design Brief 1975 by The City of Calgary Planning Department
What makes a place?
I realize it’s such a broad question, but it’s something I find myself wondering all the time. Out of countless places on earth, why does someone pick here to live? What motivates us to move from one place to another? And why do some areas become thriving to the point of becoming monsters, while others struggle or even wither away? There is no simple answer to these questions, but a good way to approach this is to look at industry- we live in areas that provide us with a means of survival. This explains much of the history surrounding Fish Creek and the Deep South communities. The industry has changed a great deal over time, through primary-resource based industry, to a service-based one, to a world where work and home lives are again becoming integrated. But it all comes back to finding a way to live. And it starts with the land.
Continue reading Industry- Agriculture, The Woollen Mill and The Roadside Town
“There are a dozen cities where one might choose to grow old, their literary homecomings thick with temptation. Those are the places that seethe with pilgrims, where postcard racks adorn sidewalks and the same bells have rung for centuries, tours of significant sites available hourly. But those cities tastes of their own indigestion, wield a language lethargic with habit. They are complacent; their bones crack when they shift”- Requiem (excerpt), Aritha van Herk from In This Place (2011)
Is there a better description of everything the Canadian city of Calgary, Alberta is not? Dynamic, with seemingly boundless growth and aspiration, the city’s “Be Part of the Energy” campaign goes far beyond the region’s strong relationship to the oil & gas industry, to deeply reflect its identity. But beyond the reverential tone of Requiem’s opening stanza, beyond the sense of gratitude Calgarians surely have for the economic windfall of a place which can afford to be so busy and constantly reinvent itself, there emerges a concern for what is lost and a desire to understand what is happening. As van Herk continues,
Continue reading Landmarks- Empty Spaces