Saskatoon

Student planners take on iconic Saskatoon neighbourhood

Urban planning students at the University of Saskatchewan are using their skills to try and reimagine one of Saskatoon’s most dynamic and challenging neighbourhoods, and they’re asking for help.

Public input phase opens for Rethink Riversdale

Riversdale's 20th Street is the centre of this thriving and rapidly changing neighbourhood. Its varied characteristics make it a perfect topic for young planners at the University of Saskatchewan. (CBC News)

Urban planning students at the University of Saskatchewan are using their skills to try and reimagine one of Saskatoon's most dynamic and challenging neighbourhoods, and they're asking for help.

It's actually really cool and it's kind of fun.- Sarah Adair

They're asking people to rethink Riversdale.

"There is a lot of change that has been going on," said Connor Britton, a member of the planning team.

One neighbourhood, many faces 

Riversdale is a tale of two neighbourhoods. First, it is a newly-cast hipster haven with funky shops, a farmer's market, and chic condominiums. But it's also one of the city's oldest neighbourhoods, and is home to many of Saskatoon's poorest residents.

The dichotomy is what makes Riversdale…Riversdale.

"It's definitely an optimal place to do this kind of project," said U of S student Sarah Adair.  

That project, dubbed Rethink Riversdale goes public today.

"For planners interacting with the public is probably one of the most important things," said Adair.

The U of S project opens today at a gallery on campus. Student planners are asking for public ideas to reimagine Riversdale. (Submitted by Sarah Adair)

Rethink playful 

So the students have set-up an interactive display at the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery that uses a number of platforms including maps and timelines to collect data from people detailing exactly how they use the neighbourhood on a daily basis.  

"It's actually really cool and it's kind of fun. You can get creative with it. It's almost like a kid's play board," said Adair. "You can change the area around; there is a bunch of different props you can work with...You feel like you are in pre-school," Britton added.

The project also has a digital component, asking people to post their vision for the future of Riversdale on social media using the hash tag #RethinkRiversdale.

The display will be open to the public until Friday. The U of S students will use the information they collect from the public to help come up with a Riversdale master plan. 

A group of urban planning students is studying Riversdale to come up with a master plan as part of a school project. From right to left Russell Agnew, Conor Britton, Astrid Nyame, and Sarah Adair. (Submitted by Sarah Adair)

with files from Saskatoon Morning

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