ImagineCALGARY Launches Grassroots News Service

Janice Iverson from United Way of Calgary and Area displays her vision of Calgary at the Spring Forward event in March 2013.

ImagineCALGARY Launches Grassroots News Service

Stories to explore and celebrate Canada’s largest community visioning project

A grassroots news service kicks off today to capture the initiatives, gifts, challenges and aspirations of engaged Calgarians and groups. ImagineCALGARY (iC) partner stories will go live several times per week.

  The imagineCALGARY plan covers a vision with 100-year goals in infrastructure, economy, governance, natural environment and social systems.

The capacity for Calgarians to self-organize became very apparent during the Alberta floods in June, when people in Calgary rapidly responded to crisis by stepping up to support one another. The efforts to contend with flooded homes and damaged infrastructure by establishing neighbourhood stations and food posts proved Calgarians are already self-organizing. The new series will story this spirit as the iC adventure unfolds.

The 100-year vision anticipates the well-being of all Calgarians, with targets like sustaining full employment of the labour force, achieving a strong and diverse portfolio of locally based businesses, eliminating child poverty and that 85 per cent of employees express a high degree of job satisfaction by 2036.

“The potential of iC is that it shows that a collective, collaborative approach is the way to achieve the city we want. The city I want, personally, is not good for me until it’s good for you,” says Brenna Atnikov, member of the secretariat team.

iC began as a city led, community owned 18-month initiative in 2005 to compile the hopes and dreams of 18,000 Calgarians for their city – making it the largest community visioning process of its kind in the world at the time. Citizens identified 114 targets they want to achieve in their city, amounting to a 100-year vision. They also formed strategies and potential actions in areas like energy, food, transportation, housing and economic well-being.

  imagineCALGARY discussed Calgary's progress in isustainability with 130 partners at its annual partnership event in Dec. 2010 at the City of Calgary Water Centre.

The outlined goals offer much more than a static list for measuring whether or not targets have been met, Brenna says. “I don’t think you can ever just tick off a box and say, ‘great we never have to think about this target again.’ If we do one survey and 98 per cent of people respond saying ‘I feel safe,’ and we think we don’t have to nurture that anymore, there’s a real danger in that,” she says.

“We’re not done in 2036. Were never done. Our communities could potentially always be more safe and have more people who feel a sense of well-being and feel more inclusive,” she says.

Calgary is a radically different city now compared to when the stakeholder engagement process began, Brenna says. “We have a lot of people who have moved to the city since 2005, many of them who haven’t found out about iC, and yet are contributing to it.”

Tune in over the next several weeks to learn about the activities initiated by engaged citizens, community groups, non-profits, businesses and public institutions to co-create a long-term, sustainable Calgary and how you can participate. New stories will be posted several times a week.

A version of this article was originally written for the imagineCALGARY news service. This repost, for which we received permission, follows the style guidelines of the original post. To learn more about generative newsroom options for your organization or community, please contact peter(at)