In 2018, the first year I was involved it was a 24-hour challenge where the students from three institutions participated at both Mount Royal University and at The City of Calgary Innovation Lab. The students working with our partners at Civic Innovation YYC, students are challenged to imagine and creatively utilize light as a protagonist in social innovation projects.  Student teams may start revolutions of place, use light as motivators of people or in ways that affirm, evoke, allude, and defend the natural and human environments we live, love, and work in.  Projects will be practical, social, cultural, promote well being and have impact for our city, work spaces, gathering places, families and friends.  They will enhance quality of life, city resilience, and have the potential for economic diversification in Calgary. 

In 2019, the second year I was involved it was ran as a Civic Innovation class. The students working with our partners at Calgary Public Library, Civic Innovation YYC and Calgary Arts Development Authority, this semester we have students registered from three universities exploring how a resilient and smart city can build a vital and sustainable creative and cultural economy. Over the next few months, students teams will be working with some of Calgary's most creative and talented artists as they build their knowledge about four of our city's creative clusters; performance, written and literary works, visual arts, music & film. Student teams will be inspired to create citizen experiments for each creative cluster aimed at capturing the imagination of Calgarians and creating a space where everyone can learn more about our city's creative and cultural industry and its significance to the New Economy.

What is Vivacity?

Vivacity is an inter-institutional collaboration between six post-secondary institutions and Calgary Economic Development (CED). Vivacity engages interdisciplinary teams of students in the re-imagination, design and implementation of creative solutions to challenges facing the city of Calgary.  


The city needs young people. Vivacity deepens student engagement in urban issues and empowers young people to lead an active civic life. CED has identified ‘brain drain’ and the exodus of young people from Calgary as a major concern. Vivacity gives young people a voice and a venue to contribute their ideas to the changing urban landscape.

We need new ideas. At this time of economic downturn, Calgary is looking for opportunities to reimagine itself as a city. Through learning models based on design thinking, social innovation and community dialogue, students work with faculty and community partners to develop, refine and bring new ideas to life.  

We can go further together. Vivacity helps break down institutional and disciplinary silos to foster deeper collaboration and open knowledge sharing. The complex challenges of our time demand that we find new ways of working and learning together.  

Our Story

Vivacity started in 2013 as a 24 Hour Challenge event for business students led by Design4Change. Initially called the “Making Waves Challenge”, the project realized immediate success in bringing together students in an intensive, creative learning environment to address real-world challenges.  

In May 2015, representatives from MRU, Design4Change and The City of Calgary attended The Art of Cities Conference hosted by CityStudio Vancouver to learn more about an innovative and award-winning inter-institutional model for urban collaborations.  

Building on the foundation of the previous successful 24 Hour Challenge events and inspired by the CityStudio model of inter-institutional collaboration, Vivacity has evolved and expanded to include multiple disciplines and participation from other post-secondary institutions in Calgary.  

With funding and support from the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, the Alberta Real Estate Foundation and the Institute for Community Prosperity, Vivacity has grown to include ongoing student learning opportunities through a social innovation curriculum, ongoing mentorship from experts, project implementation support and community engagement events.