Planning in a Tourist Town

November 18, 2019 in History, Travel

If you haven’t been to Banff National Park, I suggest you add it to your to do list. The Rocky Mountains, glacial lakes and expansive forests make it one of the most beautiful places on earth. The Town of Banff is a great spot as well — as the service centre for the park, you’ll find the renowned Banff Centre for the Arts, some delicious restaurants and boutique shops. You’ll also find a lot of tourists. The Town itself is 4 square kilometers with about 9,000 residents, yet it attracts over 4 million tourists a year. These circumstances lead to a unique set of challenges for the Town.

Last year, our team at Intelligent Futures wrote the Town’s Environmental Master Plan. The dual challenge of accepting visitors from around the world while also contributing to the conservation of the very landscapes that attract people is one of those wicked problems that can frustrate those who are trying to make it all work. 

Randall McKay has been Banff’s Director of Planning and Development since 1997. Today, we discuss the history of the Town and some of the challenges it faces regarding growth management, affordability, environmental conservation, and tourism. It’s a fascinating case study in balancing global economic factors right down to a very local context – which happens to be about an hour and a half from where I live. Let’s dive in.


Not-for-profit Development

October 21, 2019 in Community

We are in the home stretch of the Federal Election here in Canada. During the campaign, most leaders have discussed the issue of affordability. Whatever your political stripe, and whoever wins the election, housing affordability is an issue that faces families across Canada and indeed around the world. And of course, politicians play a role in affecting housing affordability. But another key player that impacts the cost of housing is the development industry. It’s a profit-driven industry, which means developers aren’t always motivated to make housing affordable. Today, John talks with Robert Brown who works in the non-profit development sector.

In this episode, Robert and John talk about

  • What it means, and how it works, to be a non-profit real estate developer
  • How Catalyst Community Developments Society defines “affordable housing”
  • Advice Robert has for community organizations considering redevelopment
  • The potential future of non-profit real estate development


  • Learn more about Catalyst here
  • Follow Catalyst on Twitter 

On another note, we’re starting to collect denonyms from around the world. A denonym is a word used for the people that come from a particular place. If you know of a good demonym, please let us know. We plan to make a mini episode with some of our favourite denonyms. Grab your smart phone and record a short message with your name, where you’re from and what the denonym is for your city. You can email the file to hello@360degree.cityand we’ll compile these for future episodes.

Women-Led Cities

October 7, 2019 in Community, Design

Too often the people making decisions about our cities look quite a lot like the same — white, male and able-bodied. But if we want equitable cities and communities, we need a far wide range of folks at the table.

John chats with Paty Rios from Happy City about designing inclusive cities for women, by women.

In this episode, Paty and John discuss:

  • Her experiences in architecture school 
  • Some important urban and interior design considerations that are left out when it’s just men at the table
  • How we can make engagement processes more inclusive