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A Downtown for Everyone

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  • A Downtown for Everyone

    Expect some media on Downtown development, construction, disruption and excitement later this AM.

    There’s a buzz in downtown Edmonton, growing everyday. And it’s building into a roar. It’s in the shouts of construction workers high overhead, in the crowds of pedestrians jostling to make the light, the office workers spilling out of the LRT, and students rushing to class.

    Something big is happening here, and it’s like nothing that’s come before.

    A Downtown for Everyone
    Edmontonians, business groups, non-profit organizations and the City of Edmonton are building an extraordinary, reignited downtown. One that will move us into the ranks of other major global cities.

    It’s ambitious, but we are a city of courage, vision and cooperation.



  • #2
    I like the premise.

    The only critique...downtown is not for everyone. I would tweek the message to say Downtown WELCOMES everyone...I think that is what it is trying to say...

    Yes, too picky...
    President and CEO - Airshow.


    • #3
      Downtown IS for everyone. Excited for the news


      • #4
        and it’s like nothing that’s come before.

        To any student of the history of a boomtown economy its phrases like this that bother me because they completely lack any understanding or acknowledgement of what has gone on before. Multiple times.

        The important thing is that we learn from past booms and get this revitalizing right. Rather than pretending its never happened before. Anybody 45 or over knows this to be a lie.

        That might seem like small quibble but its an important point. Downtown Edmonton was transformed in the 60's and 70's under the name of "progress" and cranes and wrecking balls were everywhere. When the smoke cleared we ended up with a downtown that few loved and with many of the memories torn down. Much of what was put up in that time frame has been reviled ever since.
        "if god exists and he allowed that to happen, then its better that he doesn't exist"


        • #5
          I like to think we have learned since then, Replacement. We are requiring new buildings to interact with the street, offer retail, and be pedestrian friendly whereas none of this was true in the 60s and 70s (which destroyed the downtown).

          Yes, there is a long way to go, especially in regards to transitioning our downtown away from a vehicle centered commuter area to a pedestrian focused zone, but we are definitely making progress.


          • #6
            I don't even know what that means. Downtown is perfectly fine for some people but it doesn't even welcome everyone. It welcomes the young certainly. Especially on bar nights. And it hopes to attract the affluent spenders. (I'm affluent these days but not a spender).

            The cranes are not a selling point. The endless hoarding and sidewalk disruptions make pleasure walking impossible.



            • #7
              Great stuff, love this campaign!

              ^ the cranes signal change, growth and vibrancy.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jaerdo View Post
                I like to think we have learned since then, Replacement. We are requiring new buildings to interact with the street, offer retail, and be pedestrian friendly whereas none of this was true in the 60s and 70s (which destroyed the downtown).

                Yes, there is a long way to go, especially in regards to transitioning our downtown away from a vehicle centered commuter area to a pedestrian focused zone, but we are definitely making progress.
                Seemingly we are. But theres been lots of disappointments as well. Look at 104st for example. Todays modern urban dweller prefers the street as it is. I remember one where the Boardwalk Marketplace was wonderful and open to the public and like a downtown Edmonton version of the Forks and where Mother Tuckers, Waldens, several other great restaurants were also close at hand. It was a lively people place even back then.

                What gets lost in the shuffle of creating shiny new palaces is we're increasingly losing ones that would be more inviting and that have been. Its absolutely essential for the 104st and new Arena experience for the Boardwalk building to be returned to public use in market form. What a disaster when this concept was sold out.

                A downtown for Everyone? Boardwalk Downtown was my favorite place downtown. Redeveloped for other purposes. This is a city that allows grand and historic places to just be ripped out from our memories. This continues.

                Mercer building would be an excellent example of reversing this trend. Reconfiguring the Warehouse storage building needs to be another one.

                Right now 104st conspicuously lacks around 2 blocks of public access space. Things like that need to change and be done properly. Just one example but a primary one. With the Arena nearly here the 104st needs to one contiguous plaza of urban interest. Not a disconnected one as it is now. Right now it feels really that there is nothing between Mercer and the retail contained farther south on 104st.
                By all means walking districts are important. But they need to be more contiguous.

                RHW also feels largely like a memory now. We're building things, we've lost a lot of the best things as well.
                Last edited by Replacement; 07-05-2015, 10:25 AM.
                "if god exists and he allowed that to happen, then its better that he doesn't exist"


                • #9
                  Eve, I don't see the hoarding and sidewalk disruptions as important as the fact that downtown is still oriented first and foremost for cars.

                  We need to ask the question: what percentage of people do we want walking or biking, and what percentage do we want driving. Then we need to look at how we allocate space. Right now, public space is overwhelmingly, massively allocated to the personal car.

                  The best thing we could do for downtown is cut out lanes and replace them with sidewalks. That is how you make a downtown welcoming.

                  Yeah, it would slow down traffic a lot. I think that is good. The downtown core should not be a commuter route, it should be a destination where people get out and walk. Slow traffic should be something we try to create there, not the opposite.

                  ^ Replacement, I totally agree. We need to preserve and enhance the spirit of streets. I think that 104 St is a great candidate to close down to traffic completely, North of Jasper. It is a garbage route for driving as it is. Who seriously goes "they can't close down 104 to cars, it will jam everything up!". It wouldn't. It is a place people like to walk, not drive. So we should close it to cars, and let people walk there. What a way to embrace the spirit of an area.

                  I think that this would integrate the whole area as a walking destination, and create a permanent public realm where markets / street life can happen. That is the best of both worlds. You preserve the public access and community spirit, and you also open it up to growth and construction.
                  Last edited by Jaerdo; 07-05-2015, 10:34 AM.


                  • #10
                    It means it's undergoing a renaissance and becoming the political, economic, and social centre of the city again.

                    There's still a long way to go, of course.


                    • #11
                      Just back from the event, great turnout, amazing views from the 16th of Epcor (thank you Ken/Qualico).


                      News Release

                      May 07, 2015 City of Edmonton

                      $5 billion dollars of investment transforms Downtown Edmonton

                      Senior business and community leaders showcased Downtown Edmonton’s momentum from the 16th floor of EPCOR tower today. “When you see 25 cranes dominating the skyline, you know something big is happening, and we’re all proud to be part of the transformation,” says Councillor Scott McKeen.

                      Representatives from more than a dozen organizations shared their excitement and plans for the many projects under construction and the benefits and impacts Edmontonians will see over the next decade.

                      “The new downtown vibrancy and momentum is unmistakable.” said Jim Taylor, President of the Downtown Business Association. “There’s about $5 billion in new condos, office towers, hotels and infrastructure under construction or planned for our downtown. When you put it all together, it’s incredible.”

                      The numbers show the scope of change already underway:

                      In just two years, the amount of underdeveloped land decreased by 17 percent.
                      Over 1,000,000 square feet of land in the core comprises active construction sites. That is about 62 NHL hockey rinks.
                      There is 6.6 million square feet of floor area under construction. That’s even bigger than West Edmonton Mall.
                      Over 1,100 residential units are currently under construction. Another 3,300 more have been announced by developers.
                      Over the next few years, downtown builders and leaders—big and small—will be undertaking activities to celebrate downtown and make it easier for Edmontonians to share in the excitement. A celebratory visual marker, a window in the shape of an “E”, will be displayed on all of the downtown public and private projects.

                      “We wanted a fun, common visual connector to raise interest and show our support for downtown,” said Councillor Scott McKeen. “There’s a real impact over the next few years to our citizens, businesses and visitors with so much development occurring. We’re asking Edmontonians to be patient, get informed and be excited, as we transform our city.”

                      The community partners are working together to inform and engage Edmontonians. “This is a downtown for everyone. Workers, students, urban dwellers, music and arts lovers, hockey fans, food aficionados – Downtown Edmonton is once again becoming the booming heart of our city and a hot destination for visitors,” said Chris Buyze, President, Downtown Edmonton Community League.

                      Councillor McKeen was joined by community partners, including: Downtown Business Association, Intuit, Stantec, PCL, John Day Developments, Qualico Commercial, Langham Development, Pangman Developments, MacEwan University, Downtown Edmonton Community League, Edmonton International Airport, The Katz Group, the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and the Edmonton Public Library.

                      For more information:


                      Media contact:

                      Alice Leung
                      Reputation Unit Manager
                      Corporate Communications




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                          • #14
                            I still don't understand why you think that dodging cranes is such an attraction for anyone but construction nerds.



                            • #15