Our vision is that the heart of Calgary’s incredible community is a vibrant downtown – a place for all Calgarians to come together, where we choose to live, work, and play.
From the challenge of the pandemic to years of declining energy prices, a struggling economy has led to increased vacancies downtown. This resulted in a disproportionate tax burden for businesses outside the core and has eroded vibrancy, financial sustainability and the ability to attract and retain investment and talent.
To address downtown vacancy and reimagine a vibrant downtown where all Calgarians connect, we must consider what policies, investments, and decisions are required. We compete on much more than economics. We must ensure Calgary’s downtown is welcoming, safe and livable in order to foster an inclusive economic recovery for all.
How we move forward
1. Invest in capital and social infrastructure in our downtown.
To make downtown the heart of our city, it must be exciting, welcoming and a great place to call home.
Advance recommendations of the Greater Downtown Plan, including reimagining our downtown for mixed-use neighbourhoods and transportation, addressing climate change through design and land use, continuing to build a strong and well-developed public transit network and focusing on innovation and regulatory reform.
Invest in infrastructure including conference centers and large event spaces to attract business travel and support the tourism sector.
2. Attract and retain post-secondaries downtown.
Post-secondary institutions located in urban centers spur economic activity, including through business development, research and innovation and corporate partnerships. They also contribute to vital infrastructure and bring a dynamic energy to the city.
Convene post-secondary institutions and the real estate sector to develop a strategy for incentivizing students to live downtown.
3. Continue to invest in a well-developed public transit and transportation network that connects downtown with all communities in Calgary.
To bring people, events, and investment downtown and reduce emissions, the heart of Calgary must be well connected through public transit. Highly skilled and creative professionals choose cities that have liveable and connected communities and are not necessarily car-dependent.
Transit ridership has continually increased since the 1980s, with a considerable increase in the last twenty years.
Address parking challenges, including affordability and accessibility and promote availability of parking options, including public and private. Establish free parking on weekends, starting Friday evenings.
4. Accelerate the conversion of vacant offices to mixed-use space.
The City of Calgary estimates nearly 30 per cent of downtown space is vacant (14 million square feet). Initiatives that support reimagining how we use available space hold the potential to recreate the vibrant downtown needed for at attractive live, work, play equation.