Goal 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities

Mackenzie Johnson


How Might We...

address barriers in order to create an environmental and behavioural shift towards more human-scale cities?


“First we shape cities — then they shape us” - Jan Gehl


In our rapidly urbanizing world, cities have become vital to our day-to-day life. They exist as both built and social environments, and how they are structured affects all urban dwellers -- for better or for worse. Intentional city building is vital to our livelihoods and lifestyles. According to the UN, by 2030, one in every three people will live in cities with a population of at least half a million.


Urban design principles and best practices seem to be an obvious answer, but surprisingly there are still many barriers in the way of creating truly human-scaled cities that support health, well-being, connectivity and sustainability.

Mackenzie Johnson

So many aspects of my life are tied to the idea of sustainable cities and communities. Moving to Calgary and taking a civic innovation class in my second year of university led me to focus more on social innovation and managing a tactical urbanism microgrant this past year. As a Catalyst fellow, I’ve also been exploring the topic of aging in place, and I continue to be an active volunteer with Plastic Free YYC. It's been fascinating diving deeper into the issues in Calgary (and globally) around designing walkable, human-scale neighbourhoods that can contribute to the sustainability and liveability of our cities.