Naheed Nenshi, Calgary professor and commentator, announced his candidacy for mayor on Thursday. ((Facebook))

Civic activist and business professor Naheed Nenshi is running for mayor of Calgary in this fall's municipal election, he announced Thursday.

The key issues in this year's race for mayor are greater accountability at city hall, better management of city resources and reducing traffic congestion, said Nenshi, who teaches at Mount Royal University's Bissett School of Business.

"We all know that the transportation system is broken. That's the number one issue for Calgarians. People can't get where they want to go and that robs you of quality of life," he said.

"We really need to rethink all of our transportation investments. Whether it's buses or smart improvements to the road infrastructure, maintenance, or yes, pedestrian bridges."

Unlike other candidates, Nenshi officially kicked off his campaign with a message on Twitter, a social networking site, and shunned a traditional news conference in favour of individual interviews with media outlets.

Nenshi, 38, lost a bid to be the alderman for Ward 3 in 2004.

The Harvard-trained expert in nonprofit management has advised the Calgary Foundation and the United Way, and has been a frequent critic of city council through the Better Calgary Campaign.

Nenshi is a former chairman of the Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts and served as president of the University of Calgary's Students' Union.

There are now seven declared candidates for the city's top job. Others who have launched campaigns are:

  • Former alderman Craig Burrows.
  • Ald. Joe Connelly.
  • Liberal MLA Kent Hehr.
  • Paul Hughes, past president of the Calgary Food Policy Council.
  • Former alderman and Conservative MLA Jon Lord.
  • Ald. Ric McIver.

The race became a wide-open affair after Mayor Dave Bronconnier said in February that he would not seek re-election this October.

With files from the CBC's Scott Dippel