University of Calgary

EVDS student presents vision for a more connected downtown core

UToday HomeAugust 16, 2013

By Jessica Wallace

Armaghan Baghoori researches how greater connectivity between public spaces such as streets and pathways in downtown Calgary enhances the urban environment.Armaghan Baghoori researches how greater connectivity between public spaces such as streets and pathways in downtown Calgary enhances the urban environment.Armaghan Baghoori described her plans for a more pedestrian-friendly inner city at this year’s Making Cities Livable Conference on Reshaping Suburbia into Complete Healthy Communities held in Portland, Oregon, June 23-27.

“The intent of my research is to improve the quality of the urban structure by creating a network of public spaces so that they are interconnected and therefore create a flow of pedestrian movement and circulation within Calgary’s centre city,” says Baghoori , a Master of Environmental Design thesis student.

The conference is an interdisciplinary, international network of individuals and cities dedicated to making our cities and communities more livable. The conference brings together 350-400 elected officials, practitioners and scholars in the fields of planning, public health, urban design, landscape architecture from around the world.

Baghoori’s thesis paper, “The glue of the city: Designing an interconnected system of public spaces in Calgary’s centre city,” was selected for presentation after a rigorous peer review competition.

Under the supervision of Beverly Sandalack, Baghoori’s research shows that continuity of public spaces such as streets, pathways or other linear space, can lead to the enhancement of the quality of urban environment by producing more vibrant public spaces.

If people are provided with a network of public spaces rather than single destinations, this will encourage greater use, Baghoori suggests.If people are provided with a network of public spaces rather than single destinations, this will encourage greater use, Baghoori suggests.In Calgary’s city centre, despite various high-quality spaces, there are many places which are not well connected and as a result are neglected by pedestrians. An assumption of Baghoori’s research is that if people are provided with a network of public spaces rather than single destinations, this will encourage greater use and lead to a higher quality of public realm.

“Attending the IMCL conference with so many international speakers brought different perspectives to the field, which was a really enriching part of the conference for me,” notes Baghoori. “Actually presenting, was an incredible unique opportunity for me to update my knowledge as well as the informationand methods that I will use to inform my final thesis.”

Her participation in the conference was made possible through the financial support she received from EVDS Awards and Scholarships, the Graduate Student Association Professional Development Grant as well as University Research Grants Committee Graduate Student Conference Travel Grant.

Throughout the summer, Baghoori has been working with the City of Calgary as a planning and building researcher. She will return to her studies with EVDS this fall.

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