Volunteer Opportunities

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.


2015 Scavenger Hunt and Mixer!

On Friday, September 18th. We will be hosting a Scavenger Hunt and Mixer for our members to get to know each other! We will meet at 5:00PM at the Gallagher Library and proceed from there. Please register for the event at the link below. We look forward to seeing you then!


UrbanCSA Mentorship Program


Starting this year you will be able to apply to be apart of the UrbanCSA mentorship program. We would like to encourage a stronger relationship with those who are starting off in Urban Studies with those who are almost done their degrees. Look to the new Mentorship tab for more details and the application forms and make sure to submit them before the September 30th deadline!

Once we have all applications for this program, we will also have a Mentorship Program Mixer after everyone has been placed with their mentor.


– If you are a 1st or 2nd year student who would like a mentor, submit an application.
– If you are a 3rd year or older student who wants to mentor someone else, submit an application

Executive Council

As the school year is soon to be starting for the 2015/2016 year, you are probably wondering who is your Executive Council for UrbanCSA. If you click on Executive Council and select “Meet Your Executive Council” you will now see little biographies of each of your Council members!

A group photo will be posted soon, but for now come find us at Clubs Week and the Arts Resource Fair to find out who we are in person!

2015/2016 Executive Positions

We are now accepting applications for
the 2015/2016 academic year.

Vice President Operations & Finance
Vice President Communications
Vice President Academic

To apply for a position, please fill out the attached application and email to contact@urbancsa.org by Friday April 3rd.

Descriptions of positions can be found here.

The form can be downloaded here.

We look forward to receiving all applications!

Modernism Week in Palm Springs: A Review

 Kauffman Desert House designed by Richard Neutra

Kauffman Desert House designed by Richard Neutra

The annual festival Modernism Week which takes place in Palm Springs, California, is a celebration of Mid-Century Modernism spotlighting its prominent architecture and design, as well as art, fashion and culture. This year’s event lasting from February 12th to 22th, marked its Ten Year Anniversary, featuring over 100 events. It included signature home tours, film screenings and lectures, Premier Double decker Architectural bus tours, as well as sale and exhibitions of art and furniture. Not to mention classic car show and private pool parties hosted by the very owners of mid-century modern residences.

The event headquarters were located at Community Meeting Place cleverly named CAMP, situated at the most vital city’s street-Palm Canyon Road. Iconic Walk of Stars dedicated to Richard Neutra, Frank Sinatra’s ‘Twin Palms’ Estate Tour and The Christopher Kennedy Compound were a couple of many remarkable sights. Other tours included homes designed by A. Quincy Jones, Albert Fray, Donald Wexler, E. Steward Williams, Hugh M. Kaptur, William F. Cody and William Krisel. Special release for Modernism Week 2015 was the book “Desert Modernists-The Architects who Envisioned Midcentury Modern Palm Springs”,  that includes architects mentioned above as well as others who through their visions and work, made Palm Springs a centerpiece of mid-century modernism. After the desert sun got replaced by the star-filled sky, event guests and the city’s residents enjoyed Illuminated Modern installations showcasing renowned local architecture, displaying names of their exceptional creators and dates of construction.

One of the most compelling events for a student interested in city planning and architecture was the  symposium Urban Vision and Public Space, hosted by the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Council. Panel presentations focused on planning and design solutions providing aesthetic, healthy, community engaging and connecting environment fostering economic benefit and sustainability. Keynote speakers included Charles Montgomery, broadly recognizes author of the book “Happy City: Transforming our Lives Through Urban Design” who is currently residing in Vancouver. As well as Marry Margaret Jones, a senior Principal in Charge of Hargreaves Associates, responsible for projects such as Year 2000 Sydney Olympics Master Concept Design, who is also currently leading the design of Destination Bayfront in Corpus Christi project in Texas. Panel discussion included Palm Springs City Planning Director, The Executive Director of the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum and Chair of local Planning Commission presenting historic overview and city planning issues Palm Springs is facing today.

Modernism Week is not only an enjoyable event elevating the aesthetic elegance and excellence of local architecture and its creators, it also strives to engage city’s guests and residents in contemporary thinking, stimulating preservation and sustainable modern living. Last year’s event estimated the economic impact bringing $17 million to Palm Springs; more than $219,000 of revenue generated by neighborhood tours was given back to communities to assist with improvements of landscaping, restoration, and retaining authenticity. Modernism Week is a nonprofit as well as charitable organization. It encourages education and provides scholarships for local prospect students interested in Architecture and Design, and also includes grants issued to Preservation Organizations of California’s modernist architecture.

Modernism Week Fall preview for October 9-12, 2015 can be found on the website:


Writing and Photography by Helga Packeviciute, UrbanCSA Member

Major in Urban Studies, University of Calgary

The Blog: Creative Destruction and Calgary’s Spatial Fixes

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David Harvey theorizes that the spatial pattern of globalized capitalism can be understood in terms of spatial ‘fixes.’ Short-term reconfigurations of space become the vehicle through which problems (often related to capital accumulation) are resolved. However, this is often a contradictory process: a space that was once historically used for one phase of development is destroyed to make way for a new spatial fix to resolve a crisis. Lately I’ve been thinking about Calgary in the context of this kind of theory. I haven’t really fleshed it out yet, but here are some fun facts. They may or may not be related.

  • In 1998, following a manufactured debt crisis and subsequent province-wide budget cuts, the Calgary General Hospital in Bridgeland was demolished in a dramatic fashion. You can see the video below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Y4zCNv00OQ
  • In a presentation at the Parkland Institute, Jordan Hamilton observed that much of the original housing stock that existed in downtown and the East Village has been demolished; over 56 structures that provided housing in the area have been destroyed or closed since 1970. You can view his presentation here at about the 30-minute mark.

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  • In a recent piece for FFWD, Drew Anderson provides a thoughtful analysis of Calgary’s housing crisis. Drew points out how financially debilitating the housing market is, and how hostile and largely ineffective the political establishment has been in foreseeing and addressing the crisis. His last paragraph is particularly insightful:

Even if we could get secondary suites approved throughout the city, there’s no guarantee it will solve our housing crisis. Will there be a flood of people building suites, saturating the market and bringing prices down? Unlikely, at least in the short term. It certainly can’t hurt, but the fact we can’t even get this Band-Aid solution through council demonstrates just how far this city still has to go in order to live up to its hype as a great place to live. Because the truth is, for vast swaths of the population, this isn’t a great place to live; it’s a place to scrape by while praying your landlord doesn’t up the rent.

Also at the Parkland Institute, John Kolkman presented his findings on poverty and inequality in Alberta. What was super disturbing about his presentation was this graph.
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  • And yeah, the bottom 50% actually have seen negative growth (down by 8%) in after-tax income growth over the last 30 years, as opposed to the 235.5% increase in income seen by Calgary’s 0.01%.
  • Lastly, a few hundred meters from the site of the former General Hospital (featured at the top of this post in a cloud of smoke), is the East Village! There are plans to build upscale condos, a shiny library, and a shiny National Music Centre there.

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 – Written by Joël Laforest. He is an Urban Studies major and frequent contributor to the UrbanCSA blog