Community Development

Funding level: $50,000 to $100,000


Calgary’s downtown East Village is a distinct urban neighbourhood that has undergone significant change and redevelopment over the past ten years. East Village has its roots as Calgary’s original downtown and where the City was founded. In 2005 an idea arose bringing to life an urban village in the East Village - to redevelop East Village into a vibrant, mixed-use, creative city neighbourhood and one of the most dynamic areas within Calgary’s downtown core.

Carya has been engaged in Calgary’s downtown for over 100 years serving the community’s greatest needs. Today it has joined in the East Village revitalization initiative with a vision to create the East Village Community Space (in Calgary Housing Company’s East Village Place, leasing over 22,000 square feet of space on the first two floors which has been designated as community space).

Our vision is to create a multi-generational hub in the East Village Community Space that meets the needs of current residents and the evolving needs of a distinct urban neighborhood. There is a strong need and desire in East Village to create space for people to connect in ways that promote wellness, provide assistance and reduce social isolation. Our vision is to build comfortable, inclusive and respectful spaces for people to gather.

East Village Place will become a hub of activities, services, spaces and programs to enhance the neighbourhood and decrease social isolation. This will include a full schedule of multi-generational group programs:
• activity-based programs in the area of arts and physical fitness
• psycho-social groups focused on wellness and mental health
• social events that support positive socialization with peers and neighbours
• educational groups that promote learning and development.

Residents of East Village will be involved throughout the planning, development and delivery of programs. Multi-generational community development opportunities will be expanded in the East Village and explored through participant input. Projects may include mutual assistance projects, inter-cultural/generational communication, learning and building neighbourhood connections. Partnerships with groups and organizations that can contribute to this neighbourhood space particularly in the area of affordable food, special events and ongoing programs are also being explored.

The need for this investment is clear.

Existing census data shows diverse demographics for East Village. 20% of residents are currently over the age of 65 and the median household income is $20,715, well below the City median of $81,256. These demographics are shifting with a population increase in the area over the next twenty years of over 200%. Development plans will continue to meet the diverse needs of seniors, adults and families looking to live in a distinct urban neighbourhood.

In August 2017, the American Psychological Association reported research is showing that social isolation and loneliness are quickly becoming the largest public health concern of this decade, increasing risks of premature mortality, chronic disease and general wellbeing.

City of Calgary, United Way of Calgary and Area and community service providers have shown that:
• When neighbourhoods thrive, individuals/families who live in them also thrive
• By working in neighbourhoods, we contribute to addressing urgent social issues
• Social change happens in neighbourhoods through leadership and participation of local residents with support from governments, local businesses and other groups
• Lasting change in neighbourhoods requires development of local solutions built around the strengths of the community

Carya’s East Village project aims to support the interior design of spaces to create welcoming and inclusive gathering spaces, promote arts and culture throughout the community space and build spaces for use by community members.

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Carya Society of Calgary

Location: Calgary

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