Business For The Better

August 20, 2018 in Art & Culture, Business, Community

When we talk about cities, developers are often the only businesses that get discussed. But how can other companies contribute to a city? To explore this question, we wanted to talk to someone that has helped spearhead a purpose driven business with community at the heart of the operation.

Jim Button is the co-founder of Village Brewery, a brewery based in Calgary, AB. Since day one, 10% of the company’s bottom line has gone towards supporting Calgary’s arts and community.

In this episode Jim and John talk about:

  • The importance of finding purpose
  • Calgary’s changing culture
  • How pubs and breweries can catalyze a community

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Building Up Well-Being

August 6, 2018 in Design, Health

How we design our cities impacts how we feel.

From green spaces and tree-lined streets to walkable ‘hoods and lively public places, there are many design considerations that can increase well-being.

And then there are the fifty-storey skyscrapers, ten-lane highways and endless acres of parking lots, which are argued to lead to increased stress and decreased well-being.

This idea of designing cities to maximize well-being has been a hot topic in recent years. But how does one actually measure the relationship between urban design and mental health? Can we quantify and analyze how urban design choices, such as tall skyscrapers, make us feel?

Today’s guest is doing just that.

Robin Mazumder is doctoral candidate in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Waterloo. He is studying the psychological impacts of urban design. His research is inspired by his passion for urbanism, his front-line experience working as an occupational therapist in mental health, and his interest in human-centred design.

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Canada’s Communities

July 25, 2018 in Art & Culture, Community, Politics

Last weekend, two of us from the team went to Winnipeg for the national Canadian Institute of Planners Conference. In collaboration with the Manitoba Professional Planners Institue, this conference attracted urbanists from across the country. The conference covered many topics, from the importance of music venues and motels to why storytelling is key for city building.

We wanted to share snippets of stories about Canadian communities, so we went to the streets and conference halls to ask planners what challenges their communities are facing. We heard a variety of responses.

We recognize the many challenges facing communities across the nation, but we didn’t want to end the conversation there. The theme of the conference was soul, grit and authenticity.

Paul Kennedy, host of the CBC Radio Show Ideas said in his keynote that: “Soul is what you find when you don’t know what you’re looking for. You’ll find it when you listen.” So we thought we’d listen to others and ask: What gives your community soul?

Whether dealing with growth or decline or anything in between, cities from coast to coast to coast face challenges when preparing and planning for change. But when a city encourages social interactions and strong feelings of connection, communities can cultivate soul, which can lead to solidarity and strength.

As Jane Jacobs once said, “There is no logic that can be superimposed on the city; people make it, and it is to them, not buildings that we must fit our plans.” 

We had a great time with the fellow CIP delegates this past weekend. Big thanks to Sheena and CIP for setting us up at the conference. And thank you to everyone who participated in this podcast episode! 

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