Stu­dents in­ject vi­tal­ity into core

Vi­vac­ity project forges busi­ness ideas in empty of­fice space

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - YOUR ESSENTIAL DAILY NEWS - Au­tumn Fox For metro | Cal­gary

You can call mil­len­ni­als lazy all you like, but a group of twen­tysome­things from Mount Royal Univer­sity may hold the key to de­vel­op­ing a more vi­tal and en­er­gized down­town core.

The stu­dents teamed up with Cal­gary Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment and var­i­ous Cal­gary busi­nesses as part of the Vi­vac­ity project, which seeks to in­volve young peo­ple in ur­ban plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment in the city.

Court Elling­son, vi­cepres­i­dent of re­search and strat­egy at Cal­gary Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, said the project ad­dresses the dis­con­nect young peo­ple may feel from their city.

“The most im­por­tant thing is that the stu­dents see a fu­ture and a home for them­selves in Cal­gary,” he said. “Why would they choose to leave now that they see what the real po­ten­tial of their city is, and now that they see that they can be a part of it?”

The stu­dents teamed up to launch four dif­fer­ent busi­nesses in empty down­town of­fice space. They are a med­i­ta­tion cen­tre, a “you brew” tap house, an art space and a fit­ness café.

“We wanted to cap­i­tal­ize on craft beer cul­ture and bring some­thing down­town that is very youth­ful, hands-on and in­ter­ac­tive,” said Sara McMul­lan, a busi­ness stu­dent at MRU and team leader of Forge, the project’s brew-it-your­self busi­ness.

“We know that peo­ple will go to work in cities where there are unique at­trac­tions nearby, where it’s a neat en­vi­ron­ment,” said McMul­lan.

By build­ing a niche busi­ness that’s only avail­able down­town, she says mil­len­ni­als may lose the per­cep­tion that the down­town only caters to cor­po­ra­tions and is in­stead a hub for ac­tiv­ity.

At the same time, these small, spe­cialty busi­nesses may make Cal­gary more at­trac­tive to cor­po­ra­tions look­ing for vi­brant cities and mar­kets to ex­pand into.

Au­tumn Fox/For metro

MRU stu­dent Sara McMul­lan

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