National Urban Design Awards - 2024 Recipient | Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

National Urban Design Awards - 2024 Recipient

Kids Reimagine School Streets
Award Category: 
Community Initiatives

SPECTACLE Bureau for Architecture and Urbanism, Sustainable Calgary, Everactive Schools, Toole Design, University of Calgary Faculty of Engineering 

What would streets look like if we built them for kids? This question guided “Kids Reimagine School Streets,” a collaboration between non-profit organizations, four elementary grade schools in three communities, university students, designers, fabricators, and local community members. The aim: to co-create safe, comfortable, and interesting routes to school; and to empower kids—and the rest of the community—to lower their carbon footprint by walking and biking for daily trips. Active travel reduces pollution and is understood to lead to improved physical and mental health, including better school grades. 

This program took kids out of the back seat (figuratively and literally) and got them involved in planning low carbon, healthy communities. It connected city builders with students’ point of view, and showed kids they can make a difference when it comes to climate change.  

Building on the momentum of collaborative co-design workshops, tactical urbanism interventions were implemented adjacent to the three schools, including the Connaught Play Street (2022), Meridian Active Alley (2022), and Martindale Calm Collector (2023). Each intervention encouraged more walking and biking by students and the larger community. Weekly pop-up activities took place at Connaught over the summers of 2022 and 2023, and provided free, family-friendly outdoor events. In addition to the shorter-term interventions, Neighbourhood Active Travel Networks (NATN) proposals were developed that set long-term visions for turning the three school communities into walkable, safe and welcoming places. The aesthetics for the design interventions and networks were inspired by the direction provided by the elementary grade school students, which included bright colours and patterns, and lots of trees and green. 


SUSTAINABILITY CONSULTANT/CLIENT Sustainable Calgary | TEAM MEMBERS Vlad Amiot, Jessie Andjelic, Lucia Blanco, Tracey Coutts,Dr. Alexandre de Barros, Tripty Kaur, David Kowel, Roxanne LeBlanc, Celia Lee, Katie Lore, Srimal Ranasinghe, Veronique Ulrich, Philip Vandermey and Vanessa Wang, Grade 4-6 Students at Calgary Islamic OBK, Ecole la Mosaique, Manmeet Singh Bhullar, Connaught School

Jury Comment(s): 

When kids, non-profits, schools, teachers, students, parents, designers and fabricators collaborate to create safe and inclusive active spaces, it's worth celebrating. It gives children a voice and shows them the importance of such spaces. They get exposed to the idea of designing for the future. The project demonstrates effective community collaboration to design safe and kid-friendly school streets, showcasing various examples and strategies implemented in Calgary. 

This project stands out for its educational value and emphasizes a fundamental concept in the field: the quality of cities, their developments, and their architecture is dependent on the knowledge, culture, and vision of the people who inhabit them, imagine them, make laws, and ultimately make decisions.  

National Urban Design Awards Jury 2024

Click for full version: 
Street closed to traffic

PHOTO - Sustainable Calgary

Safe walking route from the LRT

PHOTO - Sustainable Calgary

Kids helping to create traffic-calming road

PHOTO - Sustainable Calgary

Connaught School Street

PHOTO - Sustainable Calgary

Green Woonerf

RENDER - SPECTACLE Bureau for Architecture and Urbanism

Complete Street - École la Mosaïque

RENDER - SPECTACLE Bureau for Architecture and Urbanism