public spaces in [our] community- the places where people gather to celebrate or mourn or protest? The vast majority of them are downtown" (Rypkema, 2003, 1-2). For example, Hotel Macdonald, Edmonton’s chateau style Fairmont hotel was built in 1905 and was intended to become the center of Edmonton’s social life. Furthermore, the Alberta Art Gallery, architecturally designed to symbolize Edmonton’s geographical landscape, is meant to compete with the other major art galleries in Canada. This makes it vital to the future of Edmonton as envisioned by the city’s planners. Not only do the Alberta Legistlature and Edmonton’s City Hall serve to work functionally as government buildings, they are also aesthetically pleasing structures. Both buildings are available to host festivals and provide Edmonton’s citizens nice places to meet. Finally, Churchill Square was designed to be a vibrant and lively venue that hosts a number events year round (City of Edmonton website). It is important to note that these described meanings, associated with the corresponding buildings in isolation of their surroundings, will vary when placed in the context of their surroundings.
Notoriously seedy Greyhound station in the foreground of skyscrapers
Grand hotel (left): $65 per night, situated one block from Delta hotel(right): $220 per night
The meaning of downtown in contemporary society has undergone a shift from being the industrial center of a city to being the control center of a city's economy. Revitalization projects in downtown Edmonton are attempting to urbanize and modernize our city; fitting with the dominant neoliberal ideology in our society. The juxtaposition of rich and poor culture in our downtown is evidence of the current shift in meaning that Edmonton's downtown is undergoing.
Loving life downtown
- Brenner, Neil. "Global Cities, Glocal States: Global City Formation and State Territorial Restructuring in Contemporary Europe." Review of International Political Economy 5, 1 (Jan 98): 1-37.
- City of Edmonton. "Government Planning and Development." http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/planning_development/capital-city-downtown-plan.aspx
- City of Edmonton. "Edmonton Attractions." http://www.edmonton.ca/attractions_recreation/attractions/
- Fairmont Hotels Website. "Fairmont Hotels Website." http://www.fairmont.com/EN_FA/Property/MAC/About_Us/Hotel_History.html
- Interior Design Website. "Alberta Art Gallery." http://www.interiordesign.net/article/CA6717786.html
- Rypkema, Donovan D. "The Importance of Downtown in the 21st Century." Journal of the American Planning Association 69, 1 (Winter 2003): 1-7.
- Short, J.R., Benton, Lisa M., Luce, William and Walton, Judith. "The Reconstruction of a Postindustrial City." Journal of Architectural Education 50, 4 (May 1997): 244-53.
- Sturken, Marita and Cartwright, Lisa. Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. New York: University of Oxford Press, 2009.
City of Edmonton: www.deno.realpagemaker.com/images/Image/Edmonton%20Skyline.jpg
City of Toronto: www.hooppath.com/cms/2009/06/09/hooppath-toronto-73rd-5th2009/
City of Vancouver: www.megaphonemagazine.com/files/images/vancouver_1-full.jpg
Alberta Legislature: www.chessbase.com/news/2005/canada04/jpg
All other photos by Manav Deol, Martin Fenger-Andersen and Meghan Walker