Monday, December 6, 2010

Living in space(s)

A recent addition to the Doucette Library’s collection, Watch This Space: designing, defending and sharing public spaces by Hadley Dyer and Marc Ngui, is a book about public spaces found in urban communities.  Not a topic I would have thought to be particularly gripping.

But it is in fact very timely, certainly for the city of Calgary, at any rate.  Calgary is rapidly growing both in its population base and physical size. Apparently, Calgary has the same size footprint, with only one tenth the population, as New York City. It is also a city currently debating and eventually, transforming the way it develops/uses land.  There is a vision  to create higher density living spaces closer to city centre, with less development in the suburbs, more emphasis on sustainable living spaces, and pedestrian friendly areas, resulting in less importance on accommodating cars. Here’s a snippet from one document: 

        Brentwood station area will become an "Urban Village"; a major hub in northwest
       Calgary where people can live, shop, dine, work, be entertained and meet their
       daily needs.  It will be a people place with quality connections and a well integrated
       transit system.  Attractive public spaces and a wide variety of uses will contribute
       to a vibrant and safe community.
Or, that’s my understanding.

Watch This Space helps define what exactly constitutes public space (both virtual and reality-based), how public spaces help create a sense of community and why this is important. It addresses very real issues from how spaces are regulated, to the accommodation of special groups such as young people in general, skateboarders, graffiti artists, and advertisers and finally, it encourages young people to get involved in finding a voice for themselves when it comes to public spaces.

Upper elementary grades in Alberta might find Watch This Space a terrific support for the social studies curriculum.  In looking at how past and present Albertan or Canadian communities create identity and a sense of belonging for those who live in its towns and cities..

Join Nonfiction Monday Roundup at  Reading Tub to see a list of recent blogs dedicated to highlighting nonfiction resources.


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