Accessible and Inclusive Playground

The Cause

Horizon Housing builds and operates affordable housing for vulnerable Calgarians. The people we house have diverse backgrounds and we partner with over 35 social agencies to ensure residents have the support they need to maintain stable housing. Our vision is to see all Calgarians, regardless of age, ability or background, living in appropriate homes within integrated communities.

In July of 2020, Horizon completed work on Horizon View, a 210-unit residence in the community of Glamorgan, and one of Calgary’s most ambitious affordable housing projects to date. Horizon View is home to more than 300 residents, including more than 30 families, as well as a pod of children with complex medical needs who would otherwise be living in a hospital. Horizon View was built in consultation with residents, partner agencies and neighbours in the community. This engagement ensured Horizon was responding to the needs of Calgarians while contributing to the vibrancy of the existing neighbourhood.

Through these consultations Horizon identified a recreation desert in Glamorgan, of particular concern to future residents and the 1,000 families who already made their homes here. In 2018, the City of Calgary reported an average per capita rate of one playground for every 209 children aged 0 – 14 years, and the 2016 Census of Canada counted 905 children of the same age residing in Glamorgan. There are at present two playgrounds in the community, each serving more than double the City’s average per capita rate of children. The 2016 Census Report projects that by 2030 Glamorgan will be home to an additional 100 families with children, worsening the already significant shortage of playgrounds in the area.
Horizon also noted a total lack of specialized or inclusive playgrounds in Glamorgan and its surrounding communities, limiting integrated play amongst children of different abilities. Since playgrounds necessarily act as community hubs for families and youth, children and caretakers with different abilities are barred from many formative interactions that arise during play in one’s neighbourhood.

To demonstrate our commitment to fostering integrated communities, our buildings must evolve to meet the varied needs of residents and the neighbourhoods in which we operate. Horizon Housing proposes installation of an accessible and inclusive playground at Horizon View. This playground will be a safe and welcoming space for thousands of families and children for decades to come.

Who Will it Benefit?

This project will directly benefit the more than 300 residents living at Horizon View, including more than 30 families with young children and 5 youth with complex medical needs, in addition to the family members, friends, guests, support staff and fellow residents that frequently visit and interact with residents of this building.

According to the 2016 Census of Canada, more than 6,000 people live in the community of Glamorgan and 1,000 of the households are couples or lone-parent families with children. 15% of this population is ages 0 - 14 years and more than 900 children would directly benefit from this playground, not to mention the family and friends who would accompany these children to the playground.

In terms of sustainability, the Census Report estimates the Glamorgan community will experience 10% population growth every 12 - 14 years, indicating this playground facility will not only serve more and more youth and families, but also act as a draw to families who are looking for affordability without compromising amenities and active lifestyle opportunities for their children.

Due to a shortage of accessible and inclusive playgrounds in Calgary (Calgary Play Strategy, 2018), Horizon expects this playground to become a popular destination and community hub for people of all ages and abilities. While we cannot estimate the exact impact across the city, we know this playground will continue to serve Calgary’s families for decades to come.