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September 27, 2016

Thank you imagineCALGARY

This week, I attended an event celebrating ten years of imagineCALGARY. I was a member of the project team that helped develop the city’s long-range urban sustainability plan when I was a planner with the City of Calgary.

It was an especially important moment for me because imagineCALGARY is a major factor in Intelligent Futures coming into existence. After going through a 2-year process that engaged over 18,000 citizens on the future of the city, I was inspired in ways I hadn’t experienced before (or expected when we started). I wanted to take the lessons learned and work with other communities and contexts. These lessons, amongst many others, have informed my career and company ever since.


Last week, we gathered for some team refocus days. For this session, the team was asked to investigate processes, habits and products of firms outside of our usual (current) frame of reality. We wanted to see what kinds of lessons we could learn from other sectors and parts of the world.


There has been an increasing focus on how communities are engaged in discussions of city building. As more and more of us live in cities, figuring out how to share ideas and make decisions is more important than ever. Recent media attention has focused on the role of engagement and its effectiveness in ensuring citizens have a voice in the future of their communities. These conversations are often difficult, but they are extremely important if we are to figure out how to live well together.