The City of Calgary has approved strategic plans that will chart its course over the coming decades. Namely, the Municipal Development Plan (2009) [“MDP”] ambitiously endeavours to accommodate 50 percent of Calgary’s future population growth over the next 60 to 70 years within Developed Areas of the city. At the same time, there has been a wave of public engagement and input in development decision making generally (see Bua and Escobar, 2018). Following this trend, the City (2013) solidified its support for public consultation by approving updates to its Engage Policy, defining engagement as: “Purposeful dialogue between The City and stakeholders to gather information to influence decision making.” The vast majority of Calgary’s communities are zoned “R-1”, meaning land parcels only accommodate single-detached homes. Thus, to achieve the MDP goal of 50 percent future population growth in existing communities, inevitably many of these parcels will have to be redesignated to land use districts that accommodate greater density. This capstone study theorizes that urban redevelopment occurs at the intersection of three stakeholder groups: individual property owners, the City of Calgary which is subject to its planning goals and other mandates like the engagement framework; and the broader “community” including community associations, neighbours, nearby businesses and others who are directly impacted by planning redevelopment. The City’s policies and goals, together with the intersection of urban redevelopment beg the questions: what purpose does “public engagement” play in the redesignation process - and is it effective? How is engagement interpreted and defined, and how does it affect the three stakeholder groups? What is the process that guides the City of Calgary’s public engagement on redesignation applications, and should it be enhanced? In the literature review of this capstone study, “public engagement” is described in two lenses that focus on power and process. This study also introduces various of models of public engagement which are used to assess the City of Calgary’s practices on redesignation. A comparative analysis was conducted on the engagement practices of other municipalities on redesignation applications. Finally, this capstone study suggests a series of recommendations to enhance the City of Calgary’s engagement practices on redesignation applications.
Cavar, F. (2019). Public Participation on Redesignation Applications: Lessons for and from the City of Calgary’s Planning Process (Unpublished master's project). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.