High Park brings much needed public space to the Beltline and downtown
Beltline is one of Calgary’s densest communities and it is growing. This means that existing open space deficiencies will exacerbate overtime. For this reason, action to improve and grow the open space network in the community is urgent.
The 2023 Beltline ARP identifies High Park as part of several moves to address public open space deficiencies in the Beltline (Source: 2023 Beltline Area Redevelopment Plan).
Parks make up 4.26% of Beltline’s total area. With the realization of the Rivers District Master Plan, park area increases to 5.8%. However, even with this additional park space, Beltline remains 12.4 hectares short of matching the 10% citywide benchmark for proportion of open space.
To hit this target, Beltline would need to add approximately six more Central Memorial Parks!
It is costly and difficult to meet this target in the Beltline given the limited space available and land costs; however, new space needs to be acquired where possible and focused on the areas with the highest need. In the meantime, to offset a deficiency in space, the public realm needs to provide park functions and both parks and the public realm need to be designed at a higher standard to compensate for less space.
A key public space in the Beltline Area Redevelopment Plan
Map showing distribution of parks in the Beltline (Source: 2023 Beltline Area Redevelopment Plan).
High Park supports Calgary's Downtown Strategy
The Greater Downtown Plan was created to guide direction for place-making and adding vibrancy throughout the area. Principles from the document include:
- Connect amenity-rich neighbourhoods and unique destinations with vibrant public places, and green spaces;
- Support economic vitality by creating exciting places that attract and retain businesses, entrepreneurs and desired talent;
- Celebrate the creative and cultural sectors through programming, design and communication; and
- Put pedestrians first and plan for the future of mobility.
A What We Heard Report and Parks Brief are also published as part of the background analysis for the Greater Downtown Strategy. Key findings from these documents include:
- The #1 goal for parks in the Greater Downtown is to acquire additional park space in the area;
- The Greater Downtown Plan aims to leverage publicly accessible private open space to meet the needs of Parks;
- Rooftop space has been identified as a viable solution to increasing the amount of open space in the area;
- There is a desire to work with civic partners to provide more open space in the area; and
- Outdoor spaces can be better programmed through partnerships with fitness groups.