“This will put Edmonton on the map.”
The Indy was supposed to put us on the map. Having an Expo here is also supposed to put us on the map. To date none of the things that were supposed to put us on the map have achieved that goal.
So what has put us on the map? Well, West Edmonton Mall, it is certainly a part of the identity of this city. No one has ever mentioned the Indy when I have been travelling, but they have mentioned the mall. The biggest mall in North America is the kind of thing people notice.
So what can we do to really put Edmonton on the map? I think the answer lies with the continuing saga of the Municipal Airport.
For some reason it seems to be the issue that refuses to go away. But let’s assume for the moment that it is gone and there is a big parcel of land close to the downtown that can be developed.
First, I don’t think there is any other city our size that has the opportunity to develop a central parcel of land that big. How should we go about making use of this opportunity? I think if we had an international competition for a development plan for the area, it would actually put us on the map.
There are scads of people who believe they know how best to create livable, sustainable cities. We should give them the opportunity to strut their stuff.
By doing so, I think we could create a city within a city and make it the model for urban development in the 21st century.
We could create a near-perfect 21st century living environment with the right mix of housing: High rise, low rise, and single family homes and recreational facilities. We could make sure there was a shopping area included to reduce people’s reliance on cars and that could be bolstered with an LRT connection.
Office and commercial space would enable workers to live close to where they make a living. We could use the latest technology to reduce the carbon footprint of the people who would live there.
The list of things we could do is a long one. The end result would be a development that people from around the world would want to come and see. That would definitely put Edmonton on the map.
– Terence Harding is a corporate communicator. He’s a keen observer of all things Edmonton; firstname.lastname@example.org.