Although it may be impossible to specifically imagine the state of Alberta in 200 years, Albertan Ben Gray is asking post-secondary students to do just that.
Gray is sponsoring a competition called Alberta 2205, a contest in which he challenges Alberta students to provide the best description of what Alberta should be like in the year 2205. Even though Gray believes Alberta's growth is somewhat sustainable, he also contends that definite changes needed to improve the province.
"We have an educated workforce, adequate investment capital, excellent technology and a government trying to control taxes and spending," said Gray, a former rancher who has also spent time in the oil patch."Land use can't continue as it is today so we need ideas to give us full enjoyment of our rural areas without continued urban sprawl."
University of Calgary Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Environment Design Program in the Faculty of Environmental Design, Dr. Bev Sandalack, concurs.
"The bubble will burst," said Sandalack. "We cannot continue to maintain the level of urban sprawl. It compromises, among other things, [Albertans'] sense of place."
Gray believes the world will continue to change and Alberta must decide if it wants to lead or follow in this regard.
The Alberta 2205 contest is precisely Gray's method of anticipating certain challenges and subsequently meeting them with an appropriate Albertan response.
"The ideas from this year's contest will be improved in following years," he said. "These ideas may not ever be used directly, but they will contribute to more discussion and planning and definitely play some part in a better future Alberta."