Sustainable Cities and Communities

Gabrielle Dickson and Giustina Qualizza

How might we increase customers’ feelings of safety on the LRT in Calgary?

In Calgary, many people rely on transit as their primary mode of transportation. Calgary’s sprawl requires its citizens to cover great distances to reach their place of employment and access services. Unfortunately, many people do not feel safe when using Calgary’s LRT system. This may prevent them from using the system and consequently create a barrier to the things they need. This can results in unequal access to the city for those who rely on transit compared to those with the ability to choose other modes of personal transportation.

A multitude of factors, from the individual to the systematic level, perpetuate this problem. This must be addressed to create equal access to the city for all Calgarians.




Causal Loop Systems Map: How individuals use the City of Calgary composting system and how the City refines their tactics.

James Ereiser

How might we facilitate the proper use of the City of Calgary composting system?

In order for the City to reach their 70% waste diversion target by the year 2025, Calgarians need to quickly adopt and start properly using the Green Cart Program.

This year, with the introduction of the Green Cart Program in the City of Calgary, homeowners are now tasked with separating their waste into organics. The City of Calgary estimates around 65% of all waste is compostable, 36% is food waste and 29% leaf and yard waste.

The average Calgarian does try to actively participate in the new system but is not educated in the topic or motivated enough to accurately separate their waste. An increase in both knowledge and motivation may lead to greater adoption of the system.



Lisa Kozokowsky

How might we help all Canadians understand and permeate the barriers to reconciliation in support of Indigenous societies?

This design challenge identifies the problem landscape — the barriers that continue to be in place that hinder reconciliation between Indigenous Peoples and other Canadians.

Reconciliation is not a clearly defined concept — constructed of many layers and different for everyone. One of the ways to understand reconciliation is to examine what it is not. A concise historical account of Indigenous colonization is required. Far from causing shame or resentment, the goal of this examination of a contextual history is key to awareness, then action — a path forward for all. From this awareness comes the “solutions landscape”.

My hope is to create a framework that immerses participants in this complex history through an anchored, authentic instruction technique. There are many ways to move from estrangement to reconciliation. The challenge will be to determine how motivated we really are to accomplish this momentous task.



Robyn Pashula

How might we ensure that Calgarians have the appropriate education to support the City of Calgary’s recycling program?

When the City of Calgary implemented a new city-wide recycling and composting plan, a common experience held by Calgarians is the moment of holding a waste item their hand and being unsure of which bin to place it in. This moment is the dawning of a psychological and physical system that influences how well-received and therefore, how fruitful the plan is. It is in this moment where the City’s plan for waste diversion meets with the human experience and the user response lands somewhere on the spectrum of ownership or rejection of the system.

The habitual nature of humans is juxtaposed by our ability to learn to adapt to systems. However, questions such as, “What is the value of recycling?” and “How do I properly separate my waste?” continue to knock on the door of the City to offer clarity and on the heart of human values and ethics to take responsibility for environmental sustainability.



Brett Robertshaw

How might we increase public engagement and consultation to improve unused public spaces in a way that’s inclusive of all Calgarians?

There are many reasons a space may become vacant and unused – crime, litter, accessibility, traffic problems, poor lighting and many more factors can contribute to the lack of comfort that people feel when using a public space. Community residents are often the people who experience these spaces on a daily basis and therefore have the best insight into what strengths and weaknesses a space has. However, resident consultation may be ignored when municipal governments decide to improve a space using a top-down approach, or residents may simply not know they have a voice in the process.

To properly address the needs and values of a community and create a space that reflects these elements, it is important that transformative projects are led by residents at the ground level. But how do we get more residents involved in the placemaking process?




Kurtis Schaetzle

How might we clarify food quality labels such as best before dates to be more accurate and useful for consumers?

Food waste is a problem that affects the entire world. In Canada, $31 billion worth of food is wasted every year. Edible food is wasted at all stages of the food life cycle, from over-planting food, damage during transport, menu changes, and food expiry. Food waste can occur at any point of the food’s life cycle, from harvesting on the farm to storage at a consumer’s household. In fact, the largest percentage of food waste comes from consumers as they account for 47% of all perished food in Canada. This percentage is over double the next highest waste contributor which are production facilities who are accountable for 20% of all food waste. The primary reason for consumer’s high amount of waste is food expiry which can be attributed to the lack of usefulness and accuracy of food quality labels like the best-before date.



Katie Yarn

How might we improve transportation accessibility in the city for people with physical challenges?

I’m very reliant on my two feet to travel; I love walking, running, cycling and driving. Transportation is quite easy for me but that’s not the case for everyone.

I became very aware of the challenges that people with physical impairments may have when traveling when my sister had a baby. Trying to navigate the city with a stroller became her number one challenge. At times, she needed another set of hands to help her. Stairs, narrow doorways, steps are common obstacles people with physical impairments have to face.

So what is it like for people with physical impairments to navigate the city? People who don’t have an extra set of hands, people who might not have access to a car or a chauffeur, people who need a little extra assistance. Are they getting the assistance they need when traveling? How can we improve this experience?



Emma Yonge

How might we help Calgarians reduce landfill bound waste?

In broad terms my problem statement asks how I might help people reduce their own landfill bound waste. Sustainability is an issue for present and future communities— more specifically the waste which communities produce. At the moment landfill bound waste is a large contributing factor keeping communities from reaching sustainability goals such as lowering waste heading to landfills.

Currently the City of Calgary is attempting to reach a goal of 70% landfill diversion by 2030. There are issues with attempting to reach a status of zero waste. This is because there are no perfect systems and so there is always some form of waste being produced. In addition, a goal of that stature has intangible micro-goals within it, so, helping people to reduce waste is more concrete to both study and offer solutions.