Chinatown is one of Calgary’s most distinctive cultural neighbourhoods with a long history. It is a unique area, important to residents, citizens and visitors.
Tomorrow’s Chinatown is one project with two deliverables:
- Cultural Plan for Chinatown
- New Local Area Plan influenced by the Cultural Plan
Together, these two plans will support Chinatown’s future as a vibrant, culturally-rich place to live, visit, work, and do business for generations to come.
You can learn about and explore Chinatown's distinctive places, stories, and culture, using its first Chinatown Cultural Resource Map.
This online tool maps Chinatown’s history, places and spaces, and shares stories that recognize and honour Calgary’s Asian community, their experiences and contributions. Learn about the history and culture behind every store, park, utility box, and building. The next time you visit Chinatown, you’ll be able to recognize landmarks and understand the significance of each spot.
And you can contribute to the map with your own knowledge of Chinatown. All Calgarians are encouraged to submit content into this online tool and take part in framing the past and shaping the present and future of Chinatown.
We want to continue this conversation. We are now moving from the Discover Phase to the Create Phase of this project, which means we will continue meeting with the Chinatown community to prioritize the most important goals. To learn about any upcoming opportunities, visit Tomorrow's Chinatown engagement.
Chinatown needs a new policy for development
The current Chinatown Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) is now more than 30 years old. When the ARP was approved in 1986, the role of community character and culture were not well-represented. For the first time in Calgary, a cultural plan will be co-created with the Chinatown community as an input to planning policy. With the guidance of the community, these new plans will help support Chinatown, now and in the future.
Cultural Plan for Chinatown
In general, culture is anything that defines the unique identity of a community or social group, including social customs, seasonal traditions, food, fashion, literature and music. Culture also includes less obvious aspects of our lives such as heritage, community initiatives, the performing arts and much more.
We recognize the role of culture in shaping communities. Chinatown will be the first Calgary community to develop a cultural plan.
This cultural plan will:
- Be a roadmap for the planning and use of cultural resources
- Strengthen the economy of Chinatown
- Improve the quality of life in Chinatown
- Build on the Cultural Plan for Calgary, approved by Council in 2016
- Help integrate cultural consideration into the way we make plans, decisions and collaborate
Local Area Plan for Chinatown
Chinatown's new local area plan will help guide where and how future growth and (re)development should happen within the community. Chinatown's local area plan is unique and different from other community local area plans because it will be influenced by its own Cultural Plan. Working together, we will create a local area plan in a way that integrates and enhances existing community character and ensures the area is vibrant and thriving in the future.
Chinatown’s new local area plan will:
- Help guide where and how future growth and (re)development should happen
- Be influenced by Chinatown’s very first cultural plan
- Provide a long-term vision for how land can be used or rezoned in the future
- Give guidance and direction based on unique site, block-level and local conditions or circumstances
Through local growth planning, we look at the fabric of a specific local area, the community’s vision for the evolution of the area, the ideal places to accommodate growth, and how to make the best use of limited land – balancing the need to increase density, improve mobility and enhance places and spaces to live, work and play.
(Re)Development application process during 2020 and 2021
While the project work on Tomorrow's Chinatown is underway over the next two years, development applications that we receive in Chinatown will be processed and reviewed against the currently approved Land Use Bylaw and the existing policy framework. This existing framework includes the Guiding Principles for Development in Chinatown, which was approved by Council in December 2016.
- Spring 2021 – Chinatown Cultural Resource Map shared.
- Fall 2020 – Share results of community engagement, Discovery Survey.
- Summer 2020 – Community engagement, Discovery Survey closes Sept. 13.
- Winter 2020 – Consulted with the community to establish an Advisory Group and a cultural plan consultant was hired.
- September 2019 - The project scope of Tomorrow’s Chinatown receives unanimous approval.
- March 2019 - Council approved funding for Tomorrow’s Chinatown.
- Fall/Winter 2018 – Consulted with the community, including Chinatown Community Association, Chinatown District BIA, active community members and advocates, landowners and Urban Alliance researchers. With community input, the scope of the project was developed and refined.
- June 2018 – Council directed to proceed with preparing a Cultural Plan for Chinatown that will inform a culturally-based Local Area Plan to replace the 1986 Chinatown ARP, subject to funding and partnerships.
Chinatown and Area Initiatives
Urban Alliance is a strategic partnership between The City of Calgary and University of Calgary.