Thursday, December 30, 2010

11 wishes for 2011: Full Dream Ahead

11 wishes for 2011: Full Dream Ahead

1. Respect & Protect Transit Users... Bus shelters at unprotected transit stops. High Performance Transit. Rock the transit echelon. Shake it up. New blood, new ideas. Join Calgary Transit Users Group.

2. Access to Unused Spaces & Buildings... create the policies & legislation to nurture AREA: Art, Recreational, Educational, Environmental, Agricultural and Community Building initiatives.
USE: Unused Space Exploration on facebook.

3. Changing the Corporate Culture of YYCCC... The 3 C's in YYCCC = Change the Corporate Culture. Employees are scared. This has to stop. I can't tell you how often I hear City of Calgary employees say "I'll get in trouble", "I can't do that", "I'm unable to do that", "I have to ask my boss" when requesting very basic information. We need to empower employees and encourage them to do more by expanding their job descriptions. We also need to add a few questions to the interview/HR process. Questions like, "How have you been involved in your community?" & "What are your ideas for making Calgary a better city?"
How? Citizens Supporting the Move Towards Progressive, Inclusive & Responsive Governance... Whenever we engage lacklustre efforts from YYCCC, citizens should feel empowered to challenge the performance. We are no longer frogs in boiling water. We are the difference.

4. Eliminate Calgary Economic Development & Restructure Calgary Housing Corporation... Does it get anymore inefficient than these 2 organizations? Well, maybe Calgary Parking Authority & Calgary Police Service, but even they look orderly compared with Calgary Housing & Calgary Economic Development. See point #10 on ways to Save Municipalities MONEY

5. Adopt a City... Adopt a Stop (Transit), Adopt a Park, Adopt a Garden, Adopt a Street, et al... Engaging citizens by allowing them to take responsibility for their areas of interest/neighbourhoods. It is a variation on Take Back Our Neighbourhood that YYCCC needs to explore seriously in order to create long term, sustainable change.

6. BikeBahn... A dedicated network/system of Bike paths for Calgarians. Calgarians are sick of $25 Million foot/bike bridges. This is simple infrastructure that has been bastardized by an irresponsible and detached elite that enjoys spending public funds on vanity projects. BikeBahn is different. This is inexpensive infrastructure development that has a massive ROI. It is hard to imagine the expanded capacity of our bike/foot path network had it received $50 Million instead of 2 bridges.

7. Transparency, Gov20, Open Government, Open Data, YYCDATA... Open up city hall to all! Allow access to information that is directly related to Calgarians. Embrace citizen engagement. All of this in the imagineCalgary targets. More Data Sets!

8. Calatravesty... What a trainwreck. YYCCC has shot themselves in the FOOTbridge on this one. No end in sight and we have a temporary bridge that can hold a 100 tonne crane, but no one has yet walked across the Bow River. We drilled no less than 18 pilings into the Bow River for a bridge that was not allowed to have supports. When was the last time a helicopter landed anywhere near Prince's Island? Ya, Calatravesty. And it is happening again @ The East Village with the CMLC proposing YET ANOTHER $25 Million bridge.
Can we please build a $2.5 Million bridge that is functional for Bike & Foot traffic? I'll paint it for free.

9. Hoarding at construction sites & anywhere there is a Blue Fence. West LRT could be the world's longest art installation. We have 100's of sites where art could happen in public = PUBLIC ART. Presently the incentive is a 25% reduction in hoarding fees. Make this a 100% reduction and actually coordinate the effort. Artists are standing by...

10. Art Policy... get serious on cultural issues YYCCC, ArtPolicy is not a document that sits on shelf. Art Policy is vibrant, living, breathing, expansive, interactive, inclusive, responsive and very, very alive. Get bureaucrats as far away from art decisions as possible. Engage local artists wherever possible. The Autocracy has to go, and the sooner the better. Calgary needs an open Art Summit that builds progressive ART POLICY. Calgary Art Policy Alliance

11. One Stop Shop for Poverty Reduction... Affordable Housing. Poverty Reduction/Elimination by training and employing people in Urban Agriculture & Development. YYCCC can flex our resource muscle and provide opportunities with immense social ROI.
Time for an Opportunity Summit!

2011 will be a pivot year for progressive change in Calgary. We should be confident & creative moving forward. Full Dream Ahead...

Happy New Year, YYC!

Paul Hughes