Chinatown survey results are in

Tomorrow’s Chinatown Discover Phase report now available

Culture can be difficult to define. It can mean different things to different people. The City of Calgary’s Cultural Plan for Calgary defines culture broadly - as anything that describes the unique identity of a community or social group.

Using the Cultural Plan for Calgary as a guide, Tomorrow’s Chinatown is the first project of its kind, creating the first cultural plan for one of Calgary’s most culturally rich and historic communities - Chinatown. We’re also taking it one step further by creating a new local area plan for Chinatown that will be influenced by its own cultural plan. When completed the new local area plan will help guide where and how future growth and development should happen and improve on the now outdated 1986-version.

When we invite our citizens to the conversation, we hear a lot of thoughts about how and why Chinatown is important to our city. Engaging with our citizens is a first step for The City in ensuring Chinatown is a vibrant, culturally-rich place to live, visit, work and do business for years to come. It helps us define the vision and priorities for the community through a cultural lens.

More than 1,200 citizens responded to our Tomorrow’s Chinatown Discover phase survey, which closed in September.

“It’s been a wonderful experience reading the responses to our survey,” says Jennifer Brown, co-lead of the Tomorrow’s Chinatown initiative. “After looking at the responses, we summarized them into five themes, which we’ll use to help create the cultural plan and guide us as we begin work on the local area plan through 2021. We’re excited to share these themes with Calgarians through the release of our Discover phase report.”

The data collected in the Discover phase has been analyzed and summarized into observations, and a report. Here are the five themes that emerged and are included in the report:

  • People, Voices and Experiences
  • Food, Merchants and Tourism
  • Culture, Creative and Learning
  • Housing, Health and Social Purpose
  • Places, Spaces and Natural Environment

These themes will give structure to the Cultural Plan, which we’ll continue working on with citizens over the next months in the Create phase.

The full Discover Phase Report includes a summary of the responses to our 10-question online survey that was open from June to September. It also includes research gathered from talking with community leaders and residents in Chinatown, to help us understand the values, strengths, weaknesses and hopes of the community.

“Our advisory group is made up community members from various backgrounds, ages and experiences,” says Brown. “They’re really an integral part of our project team and give a unique perspective about Chinatown’s culture.”

“My biggest hope when joining the advisory group was to aid in reshaping Chinatown, so future generations can cherish Chinatown the way I do,” says Kasia Nguyen. “I believe the results of the Discovery Survey show Chinatown is a unique community that desires growth and change. “

I’m excited by the responses to the survey,” Nguyen continues. “I see a willingness of the community to voice their opinions on the development of Chinatown. I believe the results of the survey will fuel the beginning of an impactful cultural plan that we’re developing through the advisory group and citizens involved with Chinatown.”

There are three phases to the Tomorrow’s Chinatown project. With the survey completed, we’re moving from the Discover Phase to the Create Phase. In this phase, we will continue meeting with the community to prioritize the most important goals. In the third and final Realize phase, we will work with the Chinatown community to combine all of the goals into the Cultural Plan and a new local area plan.

Continue the conversation!

The University of Calgary is researching how different elements of the built-environment, such as buildings, roads, sidewalks, parks, etc., give a sense of place and identity to Calgary’s Chinatown. If you’re interested in participating in this work, check out their poster for more information.

The University of Calgary will be sharing the results of their research with Tomorrow’s Chinatown to help with the culturally-based, local area plan.

 Please visit to read the report and to learn about the latest news on the project.