A message from our VP-Academic, Jaffra.
Getting involved in your local community association planning committee is a great way of gaining valuable experience in urban planning and giving back to the community in which you live. If you are looking to better understand the urban planning process and how residents can influence development in their area I highly recommend getting involved!
Obviously some community associations are more active than others and have more development than others, so it may be worth asking a community other than the one you reside in if they will allow you to volunteer on the planning committee. Many of the inner city communities are facing significant development pressures and have a strong need for dedicated volunteers to help advocate for the needs and desires of the community.
Volunteering is a great way to build up your resume while networking with different people and organizations that provide future career opportunities, but I strongly recommend that you only volunteer if you are willing to commit to helping out for a longer period of time. Many of the projects that community planning committees are working on are long-term projects, and they rely on motivated and dedicated people to see these projects through to the end. As Calgary residents and people who are interested in urban development, politics and social issues in your city you are a great asset to these organizations if you are willing to commit the time.
In addition to learning about the planning process through volunteering at community associations, there are also workshops that are put on by the Federation of Calgary Communities. The Partners in Planning Program (PIP) is an award-winning planning certificate training program offered by the Federation of Calgary Communities in partnership with The City of Calgary. It is geared towards helping community association planning volunteers and the public develop skills for effective participation in the planning process. The workshops occur on Saturday mornings and free as long as you pre-register and are a member or volunteer for a community association that is a part of the Federation.