Calgary’s glimpse into the future

The city's long-neglected East Village needed an image overhaul, and a magazine set in 2020 shows citizens what it could be like.

When the City of Calgary set about with a long-term plan to completely change the face of one its oldest and most run-down communities, it was clear there would need to be more than just backhoes and cranes.

That’s why Vancouver-based Resonance Consultancy was called in.

The strategic marketing company suggested the City look beyond what its East Village neighbourhood is like now, and instead look at what it is planned to become.

The result was EVE Magazine, a lifestyle publication set in 2020, when the community would be built up and re-energized. (EVE stands for East Village Experience.)

The first issue came out in Jan. 2009, a second in Jan. 2010, and a third will be out at the start of 2011. The first issue was sent to internal stakeholders, but as the community starts to grow, it will be circulated more widely, eventually being used as a vehicle to draw traffic to the sales centre for the developments.

After several attempts by the City over 30 years to fix the neighbourhood, Resonance had to convince stakeholders that this time was different, Chris Fair, president, Resonance Consultancy, tells MiC.

‘The challenge wasn’t just revitalizing and remediating the land but remediating public opinions of what the East Village was and what it represented in their minds,’ he says. ‘We weren’t selling them anything here other than the promise of a better future, trying to convince them that things would be better this time.’

The results are starting to arrive now. After extensive work on the land by the City, the first development deal, a $300 million mixed-used, multi-family, residential development was announced recently. More development announcements are expected shortly.

The magazine is targeted at what Fair calls ‘urban explorers,’ or people who are interested in taking part in neighbourhood life through arts, culture and sports opportunities. EVE was the best way to speak to them.

‘It’s funny that in the day and age of Twitter and a variety of electronic media – which we full-heartedly embrace for a number of programs – there are some things that print can do that the electronic world cannot,’ says Fair. ‘This is a complex story to tell, and the best way to do that was through an old-fashioned medium.’

Years down the road, once the community is fully functioning, Fair is hoping that someone in the community will be interested in taking over the magazine as a real, present-day publication.

In the meantime, Resonance is going to continue using it to show that the run-down neglected part of town isn’t going to be that way forever.