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Thread: Think: A New Idea of Alberta

  1. #1
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    Default Think: A New Idea of Alberta

    People visit art galleries or go to a play or travel all the way to Europe for what? To be inspired. Literally, to have the spirit put into them. Few people, though, think of Alberta (its built environment, at least) as an inspiring place. We may be rich in the wallet these days, but we are poor in spirit.

    Hundreds of years from now, our descendants may look on this as Alberta’s golden age thanks largely to our supply and the world’s demand for fossil fuels. The Calgary-Edmonton corridor currently has among the highest economic outputs per capita in the world. But what tangible evidence of this fortunate time will there be hundreds of years hence? Will we leave future generations a wealth of great art, architecture and ideas, the way the cities of Tuscany – the world’s richest, most productive place back in the 15th century – did? The way growth poles like Dubai and Shanghai are attempting to do today? Our will Alberta be left a scarred and forgotten landscape akin to the spent coalfields of Appalachia?

    With our June issue, we at Alberta Venture magazine are trying to get Albertans thinking about how to turn what is a prosperous place for now into a truly great one for all the ages. How can we make our cities leaders in design? How can we nurture our own world-renowned artists and scholars, our own Nobel and Booker Prize winners?

    Given that we’ve enjoyed roughly 50 years in the economic sun and may expect another 50 to 150 more, it’s high time we got down to it. We’ve invited Albertans to submit their ideas for raising the level of arts and cultural presence in the province and raising our contribution to civilization, now and in the future, on a special Think website (www.thinkalberta.ca). We are not looking for more government funding for the arts or to get people to sit through operas they don’t understand. We’re trying to get an idea going, a meme, that could one day snowball: that Alberta should take its place among the great centres of civilization.

    While our focus has been on Alberta generally, it applies just as much to Edmonton, a city long derided as a hardship post with uninspired streetscapes, a lifeless downtown and a utilitarian esthethic. Recently, however, Edmontonians have taken the lead with inspirational projects such as the new Art Gallery of Alberta, the River Valley initiative for a linear park unique in the world and talk of a winter festival or even a world’s fair. This is the kind of thinking we need.

    As for the old saw that Edmonton is simply too cold and too far north to strive for civic greatness, that doesn’t wash. Look at St. Petersburg or Stockholm – cities that manage to be great at the same latitude as Fort Chip.

    We can have more to show for this prosperous time than ring roads and wide-screen TVs. Now’s the time to get thinking about it.

    -- Michael McCullough

  2. #2

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    ^ Interesting concept (great idea!). Thanks.

  3. #3
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    While our focus has been on Alberta generally, it applies just as much to Edmonton, a city long derided as a hardship post with uninspired streetscapes, a lifeless downtown and a utilitarian esthethic. Recently, however, Edmontonians have taken the lead with inspirational projects such as the new Art Gallery of Alberta, the River Valley initiative for a linear park unique in the world and talk of a winter festival or even a world’s fair. This is the kind of thinking we need.

    As for the old saw that Edmonton is simply too cold and too far north to strive for civic greatness, that doesn’t wash...

    -- Michael McCullough
    How to make friends and influence people?

    Sorry, but please try again - without the backhanded compliments.

    (Thank you ever so much for deigning to include Edmonton as part of Alberta though. It's quite the honour.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    a city long derided
    Sorry, but please try again - without the backhanded compliments.
    See emphasis - seems to me the author is pointing out that this is what others have said, not necessarily the feelings of the author himself.

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    ^ "Unfairly derided" would mean he didn't agree.

    "Derided" just means that he's "reporting" "things" "he's" "heard" "other" "people" "say." Ah, that reliable journalistic source - "people".

    "People say that you're ugly, a close-talker and not too bright, but they don't know you. And let me just say - lots of people with chronic flatulence have gone on to great success."

    Yeah, yeah. I'm being too sensitive. But none of that needed to be in there. Here's a game - take out all the specific negative qualities of Edmonton that he mentions (whether he feels that way or not) and see if it lessens the article in any way. Why are they in there - because it's fun!

    The kicker, of course, was that he even had to point out that Alberta also included Edmonton. Because before he mentioned that I thought thinkalberta.ca was only for all those other Albertans.

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    It's there because those are the perceptions that exist, unfair or otherwise, and because we are fighting them as we are trying to build our cultural identity like the article discusses.

    I think you're trying to read a little too much into the intentions of the author; if he really had such disdain for Edmonton, he could have easily not mentioned it at all, and not even bothered to submit this to C2E.

  7. #7

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    On the one hand perhaps newf is being a little too sensitive. I honestly did not read it the way he did. But since he's pointed it out, perhaps I should have read it the way he did.

    Perhaps fighting the perceptions is exactly what newf is doing. Perhaps those "perceptions" could eventually fade away if only people would stop mentioning them. Perhaps having those perceptions mentioned at every turn makes them just a little bit more real and calling people on it every time is what we should be doing to make it stop.

    Perhaps if the author truly felt fondly for Edmonton he would never have mentioned those negatives at all. And perhaps we have all become so accustomed to hearing them that most of us (newf excepted) didn't even bat an eye when we read that opening post. Perhaps we should all be little more sensitive.

    And finally, perhaps this post uses the word perhaps more than any other post that has come before it.

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    ^ That's about it, Ikan.

    Do we need to constantly be reminded of what "people have long said our failings may be or may not continue to be?"

    Why? What's the point? When does it end?

    Basically, why couldn't this paragraph have appeared instead:

    While our focus has been on Alberta generally, it applies just as much to Edmonton which has taken the lead with inspirational projects such as the new Art Gallery of Alberta, the River Valley initiative for a linear park unique in the world and talk of a winter festival or even a world’s fair. This is the kind of thinking we need.
    Why can't articles about Edmonton sound like the above? Why do they all have to be prefaced with that "some say it's uninspired, lifeless, utilitarian" crap?

  9. #9

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    Exactly!

  10. #10
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    IKAN you have officially used your daily allowance of the word "perhaps" any additional use comes with a 35cent per letter charge.

  11. #11

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    Drat! Perhaps I can apply for an exemption?

  12. #12

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    ^
    Edmontonian and proud of it!

  13. #13

    Default Roadblock to new ideas

    MICHAEL, GREAT IDEA!
    We have some of the most leading edge solution providers in Alberta already with the likes of the Pembina Institute, Manning Centre for Building Democracy, The U of A (numerous faculties/researchers), and the Alberta Research Council, to name but a few.
    But some of these groups are not getting the appropriate funding and media attention to get out of the local spotlight. How do you convince the average Albertan that their Ralph Bucks could have funded a 100 years of “Global Innovation Forums”.
    We need a leader in our province like Peter Lougheed, who saw the greater good and stuck his neck out to make it happen. Not a leader who focuses on debt reduction at the expense of the arts, education, environment, infrastructure, and labour relations.
    The reason we need a strong leader is because the premier of this province ultimately decides discretional spending, which has been more than 30 BILLION Dollars ($30,000,000,000) over the last 15 years.
    Maybe you, John, should run for Premier. Ahhh, I forgot, provincial (and federal) politics doesn’t attract the great minds of our era.
    Alas, the great divide between IDEAS and DECISION MAKING. Now that would be a great proble to solve.

  14. #14

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    Alberta Venture congradulations on a spectacular idea!!!

    Our prosperity will only last a finite time, lets do something with it!

    Tom

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