University of Calgary

Environmental design students launch makeCalgarytalk

UToday HomeApril 3, 2013

By Lindsay Fischer

From left: Master of Environmental Design student Armaghan Baghoori; Planning students Lindsay Fischer, Kate Zago, Katie Thomas, and Boris Karn, with EVDS Dean Nancy Pollock-Ellwand.Among those behind the initiative are, from left: Master of Environmental Design student Armaghan Baghoori; Planning students Lindsay Fischer, Kate Zago, Katie Thomas, Boris Karn; EVDS dean Nancy Pollock-Ellwand; and Planning student Natalie Marchut.Faculty of Environmental Design (EVDS) recently launched makeCalgarytalk, a multi-platform initiative aimed at stimulating discussion and dialogue around urban planning, development and design issues in the Calgary context.

In January 2013, a directed studies course offered within EVDS spearheaded the makeCalgarytalk website featuring blogs, interviews, videos, pictures and longer responses to current urban debates between local movers and shakers.

With the support of their supervisors, Beverly Sandalack, and Master of Environmental Design (MEDes) student Lance Robinson, a group of eight students from various years and programs continue to create content daily and engage audiences.

With an increasing number of people following makeCalgarytalk on Twitter and Facebook, Calgarians are responding quickly to daily events and conversations in our city.

Building on EVDS’ broad reach in the community, makeCalgarytalk has engaged many prominent decision-makers on urban issues in Calgary, including Rollin Stanley, the City of Calgary’s general manager of planning, development, and assessment.

To date, the project has featured discussions on the proposed Calgary Metropolitan Plan and the Calgary Regional Partnership, interviews with local “placemakers,” photos that celebrate as well as question planning and design in the city, and much more. New topics are constantly being added to the feed, keeping the content fresh and noteworthy.

“The site has become successful at engaging Calgarians in conversations about city issues,” states Lance Robinson, MEDes candidate and makeCalgarytalk editor. “I think our ability to develop content across a variety of platforms allows for this to happen, and establishes a dynamic where we are talking with our audience as opposed to at them.”

This initiative is linked with the broader makeCalgary platform and is an opportunity to engage students in the project throughout the year. As current students move on to new opportunities, new students will take charge of the website, learn about writing and posting blogs, and gain valuable, hands-on experience with issues that planners, architects and developers face.

Find out more by visiting, or join the discussion on Twitter @makeCalgarytalk or on Facebook at


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