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New initiative launched to increase safety, vibrancy around Calgary City Hall

Click to play video: 'Calgary announces 9 Block Program to improve safety around city hall' Calgary announces 9 Block Program to improve safety around city hall
WATCH: A new initiative has been announced to improve safety around Calgary’s city hall. As Gil Tucker reports, it’s called the 9 Block program. – Mar 10, 2020

A new initiative is being launched to increase safety around Calgary City Hall.

The 9 Block program was created through a partnership with the city and the University of Calgary’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape (SAPL).

The program launched on Tuesday and aims to propose new ideas that will create safer and more vibrant streets in the area for both businesses and the public — through cost-effective measures.

“It’s going to take all of us to build and reshape this area, and downtown as a whole,” Thom Mahler, the city’s downtown strategy lead said.

“This program is a major piece of the downtown strategy and the city’s continued commitment to support the recovery and diversification of Calgary’s economy — and building a foundation for a great future for this important downtown area.”

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The partnership will support hiring a group of SAPL students over the summer to design and implement a small tactical urbanism project.

John Brown, the dean of SAPL, said this project will help test potential improvement strategies for the area.

“We located our City Building Design Lab in the heart of our downtown to take on initiatives like the 9 Block program,” Brown said.

“Our mission is to bring together our students and researchers with municipal policymakers and the public to explore new directions in city-building.”

Click to play video: 'Calgary police chief Mark Neufeld discusses a proposed public safety task force' Calgary police chief Mark Neufeld discusses a proposed public safety task force
Calgary police chief Mark Neufeld discusses a proposed public safety task force – Feb 19, 2020

The city will also plan additional projects that focus on improving wayfinding, programming and building more community partnerships in the area.

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With these new initiatives, the city hopes to create better access to city hall, easier navigation and safer streets for vulnerable populations.

“The area around city hall is the heart of downtown Calgary — it’s where government, education, and the arts come together,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

“I’m thrilled that through this partnership with the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, we’ll have the opportunity to test inexpensive and innovative ideas aimed at improving the safety and vibrancy in this neighbourhood.”

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Officials said this new initiative aligns well with the city’s current mental health and addictions strategy.

The boundaries of the 9 Block program are 1 Street SE, 6 Avenue SE, 4 Street SE, and 9 Avenue SE.

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