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Creative Re-Use: The Promise and Challenges of Temporary Land Use in Calgary

Authors: Eliot Tretter*, University of Calgary
Topics: Urban Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, Land Use
Keywords: Temporary Land Use, Creative Class, Flexible Spaces, Urban Policy
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Temporary land-uses (TLUs), especially on vacant land in cities, is a topic of increasing attention in Urban Studies. More specifically there is a focus on how TLUs are increasingly an area of experimentation in urban planning and policy, in part because they have been shown to be a catalyst for urban revitalization. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with key informants. We found that all the informants agreed that TLUs positively stimulate the local economy and urban life. Moreover, all agreed that government regulation and misunderstandings about the legal meaning of the word ‘temporary’ are significant barriers to increasing the adoption of TLUs across the city. However, we also found there was a clear divide between the two groups. One group viewed land-use bylaws positively, and saw it as a necessary factor for ensuring safe and quality urban development. The other group viewed land-use bylaws negatively, and the hindrance to temporary land-use adoption as yet another case of how land-use bylaws contributed to a range of urban problems. It became evident that this division is having a limiting impact on TLU adoption in Calgary and this division has to be addressed if TLUs are to expand beyond their currently limited adoption. Moreover, we found the literature on TLUs fails to capture a problem local understanding of TLU in Calgary. The greatest barrier in Calgary appears to be a concern about the possible misperceptions, and political implications, which surrounded previous efforts to have temporary-land uses within the city.

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