(This is an older post that I never got around to publishing)
I certainly can’t fault Jim Kunstler’s view of recent development in Calgary – “..archetypal city of immense glass boxes in a sterilized center surrounded by an asteroid belt of beige residential subdivisions.”
It is sadly, very true. The last 15 years of Calgary growth have been all sprawl and generic suburbs. I moved to Calgary in 1996. Our house (once rented, now Colan owns) was not far from downtown, only about a 10 minute drive, or 20 minute bus & train ride. To the east and north of our house there were several farmer’s fields. Full of hay, horses, and gophers. Only the gophers are left. Ten years later, the house is surrounded by big box suburban malls and business parks. Chili’s, BestBuy, and every other store you find in every other suburb in North America.
The growth further away was even more dramatic. Hour long commutes from the south or north ends of Calgary are no longer uncommon. We used to joke that the new McMansions looked like a landfill – the same 3 house colors, and no trees. Turns out they still look like crap, but now traffic is worse.