The Active Neighbourhoods project is a multi-year effort with a primary goal of increasing the use of active transportation within neighbourhoods. This means more people walking and cycling. The benefits of this approach are significant as they improve the livability and sustainability of a neighbourhood while generating great health and accessibility benefits for those living, working and playing in the area. This project is also interested in the development of greener environments – bringing more natural elements into the urban framework.

The project requires creating participatory portraits of three urban neighbourhoods and one rural community over several years. Following the development of the community portraits, one or more interventions are selected for implementation. The participatory nature of the project is a central feature since it should lead to greater capacity to understand built environment and policy influences within the community and more significant buy-in with any future changes.

The first community selected in Calgary is Bridgeland, and work has been underway for the past year on developing the portrait. There will be pop-up interventions tested in the community in mid-March of 2015. Sustainable Calgary and Safer Calgary have already carried out multiple consultations with the community and other partners including property developers. University of Calgary Environmental Design students have surveyed the neighbourhood extensively and the Land Use and Transportation students at the NHTV Applied Sciences University in Breda, Netherlands have proposed a series of changes that will become public in February of 2015 and then be presented to the community and the city in March of 2015.

The project is funded by Public Health Canada and involves three cities across the country: Montreal, Toronto, and Calgary. Locally, the project is led by Sustainable Calgary in coordination with Safer Calgary and particularly the Safe and Smooth project.

For more information, check out the Sustainable Calgary website.