IFLA: Cultural Landscapes Committee

best practices > sample project summaries

Southern Alberta Cultural Landscapes – Prairies, Foothills, Mountains, Aboriginal Landscape and City of Calgary

Cultural Landscape Type: Designed, Evolved Continuing, Evolved Relict, Associative

Project Name: Sense of Place in Alberta

Project Type: Documentation Project, Cultural Landscape Book Publication, Exhibition; Education and Interpretation, Series of Events and Courses

Location: Calgary and regional landscapes, Alberta, Canada

Funding: Alberta Lotteries Board, Calgary Civic Trust, University of Calgary, $110,000

Steering Committee: Ann Davis, Bev Sandalack, Len Novak, Bob Sandford

Awards: National Honour Award - Canadian Society of Landscape Architects; Place Planning Award - Environmental Design Research Association; Calgary Heritage Lion Award (Education) - Calgary Heritage Authority

Contact: Dr. Bev Sandalack, Professor and Research Leader, the EVDS Urban Lab, University of Calgary. sandalack@ucalgary.ca 

Project Description:

As a means of helping to mark the occasion of the Centennial of the Province of Alberta, a celebration of Sense of Place was conceived. During the fall of 2005, an inter-related series of activities was intended as ways of learning, teaching and gaining inspiration, and of presenting opportunities to reflect and to critically evaluate ideas of place and placelessness:

  • guided excursions into some of the cultural landscapes of Alberta: aboriginal, mountains, foothills, prairies, city of Calgary
  • an exhibition exploring inter-relationships of natural and cultural process and form
  • speakers and panels, and a continuously running series of videos
  • a 3-day symposium on urban design
  • two graduate-level university courses: Cultural Landscapes of Alberta (relating to the excursions) and Urban Design Block Course (relating to the symposium)
  • two book publications (Sense of Place: a catalogue of essays, and Excursions into the Cultural Landscapes of Alberta), publisher: Nickle Arts Museum, University of Calgary

This project was developed over five years of discussions and planning. The steering committee soon realized that the topic ‘sense of place’ is too complex, too important, and too interesting to be confined to what could be communicated only through an exhibition. There was also a strong desire to experience, and have others experience, first-hand, the places that make up the sense of Alberta. The concept of the series of excursions became one of the more exciting aspects of this project, and eventually was narrowed to focus on the regional landscape of Calgary, and to present an approach to reading the landscapes in general while visiting very specific places.

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. . .deterioration or disappearance of any item of the cultural or natural heritage constitutes a harmful impoverishment of the heritage of all the nations of the world.

World Heritage Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 1972