What makes a great city? Some of the best cities in the world consist of a flourishing central core, with easy to access year-round interior and exterior gathering spaces. In these cities, I always found a strong sense of culture and identity that stemmed from unique urban design and city planning.
After travelling to some of these cities – New York, London, Barcelona and Vancouver – and experiencing the unique character of each city, then coming home to an Edmonton under construction and transformation, I can safely say that Edmonton has come a long way and is making an effort to make a name for itself. This past year Edmonton has undergone numerous changes, along with some great new additions. Some of these were: bike lanes, new LRT stops, an improved Jasper Avenue (Imagine Jasper Avenue Demo), Roger’s Place – along with the continuous construction of the Ice District, public art, weekend/evening markets, and Edmonton Design Week Festival – just to name a few. These great additions call for us to be active outside of our homes, to set aside our vehicles and perhaps try public transit, or maybe even spend an evening out at a park or strolling through a market.
Even though it is still in the early stages, there is an active urban environment slowly being reborn in Edmonton.
This growth won’t happen over night, but anyone can see that within the next five to ten years, Edmonton will develop a new pace, energy, and way of living in the downtown core.
For this to be successful, Edmontonians need to educate themselves on these changes and more importantly, be open to what is to come. We need to embrace the new bike lanes and appreciate its green outcome. We must participate in festivals and be active pedestrians in our outdoor gathering spaces. We must step outside of the comfort of our interior environments and show an example to the generations before and after us.
This is an exciting time to be living in Edmonton, and more importantly, a great time to be a part of this new chapter in the city’s history. Let us all be a part of this change and help create a unique identity of a city that will make its residents and visitors want to stay.