Calgary addressed the issue of regional growth by proposing the UniCity concept in 1956. The concept--that Calgary should grow as one unified metropolitan region--was based on the principle that the city was entitled to growing space, and that the metropolitan area should be governed by one central authority. The passages below disagree about the effects of UniCity on Calgary’s urban growth.
With a ‘UniCity’ vision pushing it, easy access to oil and gas at a time when cars and trucks were accessible to ambitious people and interest rates were low - the loose geometry of the post War suburb with its dependency on roads became the dominant urban form on a seemingly limitless prairie landscape.
Calgary’s urban form emerged in the popular culture of the North American consumer era of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s - characterized by the single family home, the private car, the shopping mall, the rise of television, electronic technology and the individual freedom social messages of time. As a young city isolated geographically from the North American industrial mainstream in the East, Calgary had no past to work against.
Source: Tyler, Dr. Mary-Ellen. “‘Nice City: Wonder What It Will Look Like When It’s Finished:’ A Case Study of Calgary, Alberta – Past, Present and Future.” The University of Calgary. March 1, 2004.
In a practical sense, a unicity is where a single municipal council is responsible for all decisions relating to growth and change in - and relationships between - the downtown, the inner city, and the suburbs, both old and new.
The benefits of this type of regional governing is reflected in equity of taxation and associated service provision, heightened standards, reduced fragmentation of municipal services and a more efficient administration.
At root, a unicity concept allows for an efficient growth process that is instrumental in dampening urban sprawl.
Source: “Challenges and Issues for a Rapidly Growing City.” City Manager Speech at Municipal Law Section of Canadian Bar Association Luncheon, Feb. 8, 2005.http://content.calgary.ca/CCA/City+Hall/Municipal+Government/City+Managers+ Office/City+Managers+Speeches/Law+Society+Speech.htm
1. On what point do the two speakers disagree?
2. What reasons do they give for their positions?
3. How can you account for their differences?