Mar 29

Vivacity takes on downtown’s challenge of space

by Downtown Calgary · 0 comments

There has been a lot more talk about the economy and the concerns with the vacant downtown spaces. On March 2, Calgary city councillors, business leaders and other stakeholders came together for an economic summit to brainstorm how the city’s core can be revitalized during the economic downturn. Among the participants were four students and their professor from the Vivacity Civic Innovation course at Mount Royal University.

What is Vivacity?
Inspired by CityStudio, Vivacity is a collaboration between Calgary’s post-secondary institutions and their students. Each fall the institutions and their students come together for the Vivacity 24 Hour Challenge to work together in interdisciplinary teams where they come up with solutions to Calgary’s current and more pressing challenges. On the recommendation of Calgary Economic Development, this year’s challenge was focused on the vacancies within downtown Calgary’s buildings. After talking with leaders and businesses in the city, they found there were three questions to go with the challenge:

  1. How to diversify the economy?
  2. How to bring vibrancy downtown?
  3. How can young people help shape that in designing a city they want to be in?

With the increasing interest of the program and participation from students wanting to be a part of the change, the challenge expanded to became a course called Civic Innovation. Some of the proposed projects from the 24 Hour Challenge were carried forward to the course for consideration and iteration with the goal to actually put into action.

Throughout the Winter semester, the Civic Innovation students have been having their class-time at one of the downtown towers. Aspen Properties provided the students with three floors of office space to fully immerse themselves in their studies. Not only were they able to get the full experience of downtown Calgary, they found they were able to really connect with downtown and businesses to understand what it takes to revitalize some of the spaces.

Interactive Final Showcase
April 12, the students will be wrapping up their semester by showcasing their projects at a final exhibition to be held downtown. They invite community members to attend the interactive showcase where guests will be seeing, and experiencing, the students projects. Guests to the showcase will have an opportunity to tour the project spaces and vote for the venture of their choice.

Tickets to the showcase are currently available for purchase on Eventbrite at VIVACITY: Final Showcase 2017. They are $5 for students and $10 for the general public. For additional information on Vivacity or their final showcase, visit their website at


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