17TH AVE POCKET SQUARE
CO-FOUNDER + DESIGNER
with Kate Zago, Matthew + Genevieve Knapik
A neglected corner of land fronting Calgary’s most prominent main street, on one of the city’s busiest blocks, stood for decades as an uninviting area filled with gravel and sandstone boulders. The space offered an invaluable opportunity to retrofit the street and the neighbourhood - a community greatly underserved by open space - with a prime public space. Boasting an innovative and creative design, the 17th Avenue Pocket Park provides a vibrant focal point and contribute to a sense of place worthy of Calgary’s favourite street. Located on Western Canada High School land, the renewed space will benefit and be designed for the students, the community and Calgary at large. Extensive consultation took place in order to ensure that stakeholder needs and suggestions are understood and considered. Students and the broader community have been involved from the start, contributing their time, thoughts, opinions, memories and experiences of the space and surrounding neighbourhood to shape the design. Thoughtful engagement that welcomed community members to playfully and creatively re-imagine the space was implemented through interactive design exercises. Thanks to the enthusiasm and efforts of attendees, strong themes and new insights emerged. The final design takes into account the need for more seating in front of the Western Canada High School bus stop, a desire for space to enjoy take-out food and drink and an appetite for a unique and magnetic corner that draws in students and the public alike. The park successfully secured a $300,000 grant from City Council and was completed in the summer of 2019.