When it comes to romance in the movies, cities are the main character.
There’s a scene in Clueless, where Cher, after realizing she was in madly in love, found herself walking aimlessly throughout the streets of Beverley Hills. In Notting Hill, Julia Roberts’ character professed her love for a local in a bookstore found along a busy commercial strip. Or who can forget the iconic scene in Love, Actually, where a man standing in a residential street, finally makes a romantic gesture towards his friend of many years, using cue cards and a boombox? The common thread between these films – cities.
“Without cities, we don’t have movies like Sleepless in Seattle, Midnight in Paris, and To Rome With Love,” said Jason Syvixay, Director of Metro Strategy & Advocacy with UDI – Edmonton Metro. “Without cities, we don’t have places to love in.”
When it comes to the Edmonton Metro Region, our industry’s love is flush and bright red. And while we may have a complicated relationship with different parts of the region – our love is demonstrated through our desire to build and shape inclusive spaces for everyone to enjoy and belong.
A Place to Play
“Creating connected and affordable communities that encourage love amongst families, neighbours, and friends, is what brings meaning to me,” said Madeline Belter, Marketing Manager of MLC Group.
Belter says the best way to show love for others is in creating places where people can find meaning. Her favourite things to do – a skate at a public rink or a stroll through downtown’s Neon Sign Museum.
“We choose to live in the region because of the joy it offers us. There is no shortage of things to do and ways for people to connect – there are festivals, concerts, and so many events in our cities and in our communities.”
A Place to Live
For Nathan Barr, Manager of Land Development at GS Construction, building cities is a labour of love – and deeply personal. A new dad himself, Barr shared how building neighbourhoods for families is a privilege.
“As an industry, we bear a great responsibility in shaping the physical landscape of our community, and the backdrop to many residents’ lives,” said Barr. “It is deeply fulfilling to see all parts of our city filled with people and places for them to live and prosper.”
Jenn Squires, Manager of Land Development for Mattamy Homes, loves seeing neighbourhoods become well-used and well-loved.
“It is such a good feeling to see people bring their children to experience the parks and the public spaces we create, to see people whizzing by shared-use pathways on bicycles or scooters,” said Squires. “When you build a new community, it’s so important that the first people living in that area are well-served by the amenities they need.”
A Place to Connect
Located along 102 Avenue, Mercury Block by Edmonton development company, Autograph, is like cupid’s arrow – instilling a love for the Oliver neighbourhood. A mixed-use residential/commercial building, it seeks to connect people with important shops and services.
“Our city has so many things to love – green spaces, the river valley, our local businesses, and communities filled with residents and diverse infrastructure,” said Katie Schneider, Development Manager with Autograph.
According to Schneider, Edmonton shows its love by creating opportunities for connections.
“Vibrant and activated spaces that evoke positive emotions and encourage social and emotional connectivity emulates lovability,” said Schneider. “That’s our love language at Autograph, too – in creating spaces for residents to identify with and ultimately, live and love their time in.”
A Place to Cherish
The importance of civic identity resonates for Janet Finnamore, a Project Coordinator with Aplin & Martin Consultants.
“A lovable city is one that thrives on community spirit, celebrates its unique identify, and is sculpted by the very individuals who proudly call it home,” Finnamore said.
She says her love for the region has evolved, as she has seen it transform incrementally over time.
“I’ve witnessed beloved spaces transformed into iconic landmarks and community hubs blossomed into sought-after destinations.”
She cites the Bonnie Doon redevelopment as an example of developing our communities with love in mind.
“Bonnie Doon highlights the importance of treasuring our landmarks and community throughout every stage of development.”
A Place to Smile
When asked about what it means to build a lovable city, Keaton Seaby of the University of Alberta Properties Trust said, with a smile, “A city that makes you smile”.
For him, they are cities that support and encourage human connection – whether through active recreation and green spaces.
This sensibility of his has seemed to have permeated into the plans at Michener Park, a mixed-use residential community that offers a mix of housing options for a range of people, all connected by a network of people-friendly streets and a large park.
A Place to Admire
“I’m always blown away with how different a community looks and feels, when it’s collaboratively developed with love and care for future residents,” said Nathan Petersen, AVP & Team Lead for Real Estate Lending with Canadian Western Bank.
Petersen says city builders across the region build communities that people can admire through the incorporation of artistic infrastructure.
“From beautiful street signs that welcome people into an area to spaces for children and furry friends, I’m reminded every day how much Edmonton loves to build lovable communities.”
He contends that everyone is part of building places that instill pride.
“Industry, government, and residents all need to collaborate to create innovative and engaging spaces for people to live, work, and play,” Petersen added. “Only then will the spirit and love of our communities blossom.”
A Place to Explore
People fall in love with their cities a little bit more – as they explore and discover all its quirks and charms.
“Finding the things you love about a city makes that love even stronger,” she said. “The beauty of our cities are not always found on the surface – you have to spend time here to truly find those small hidden spaces that really make cities feel like home.”
For Squires, she found a city filled with passionate people all driven by a desire to make their communities better. “There’s so much to be proud of in our region, but where we can see love on full display, is the efforts of so many different types of people and city builders who want to make their spaces and places more inclusive, diverse, and thriving.”