Alberta’s Community Revitalization Levy: Introduction

This is the first part in a three-part series on Alberta’s CRL.

Recently I decided to start learning more about Alberta’s Community Revitalization Levy (CRL), and I was initially struck by how little information was readily available. I searched and searched but didn’t find much. Maybe that’s because what we call the community revitalization levy here in Alberta is known as tax increment financing (TIF) elsewhere. It turns out that TIF has been available as a public financing method for more than 50 years! The State of California first used the approach in 1952, and now Arizona is the only state in the USA without some sort of TIF legislation.

Here’s how Wikipedia describes TIF:

When a development or public project is carried out, there is often an increase in the value of surrounding real estate, and perhaps new investment (new or rehabilitated buildings, for example). This increased site value and investment sometimes generates increased tax revenues. The increased tax revenues are the “tax increment.” Tax Increment Financing dedicates tax increments within a certain defined district to finance debt issued to pay for the project.

The idea is to use the “lift” generated by the increased tax revenues to pay for the debt that financed the project.

Alberta’s CRL

In Alberta, this legislation is relatively new. Bill 28 received Royal Assent on May 10, 2005 and amended the Municipal Government Act (PDF) to include Division 4 under Section 381, which enables municipalities to create a community revitalization levy bylaw (which must be approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council).

Since that legislation came into effect, there have been three CRLs created in Alberta (as far as I can tell): Calgary’s Rivers District, the project for which Bill 28 was created, and the Belvedere (Fort Road) and Quarters redevelopment projects here in Edmonton. You can read more about all three projects in part two.

There are a few key aspects of the CRL to be aware of:

  • The CRL only applies to a very specific area (the CRL boundary).
  • The tax revenue that contributes to the CRL is split between the City and the Province.
  • The maximum amount of time a CRL can exist is 20 years, starting in the year when the bylaw is approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
  • The Lieutenant Governor in Council can approve a CRL bylaw in whole or in part or with variations and subject to conditions.

And don’t be mislead by the name “levy” – the CRL is a tax as defined in the MGA. It’s a funding mechanism, nothing more.

From my read of the Municipal Government Act, there are no rules or restrictions on the type of area that a CRL can apply to. In theory a CRL works best in an area that is “blighted” but the legislation does not enforce this. This was the case in California as well, until it became clear that the legislation was being abused.

What’s the potential impact of a CRL?

I asked Rick Daviss, Manager of Corporate Properties at the City of Edmonton, to help me understand the CRL. He was very helpful and pointed me in the direction of some very useful information.

The first thing we looked was a hypothetical example of the impact of a CRL. Here’s the situation:

  • Current use: 2.0 acre parcel of land improved with a 30,500 square foot warehouse.
  • Proposed use: 2.0 acre parcel of land improved with a high rise residential condo development (proposed density of 265 units (RA9), FAR of 3.0, unit value assessed at $200/square foot).

So we’ve got an old warehouse on some land and we want to replace it with a condo. Let’s look at the assessed value:

  • Current use: $1,525,000 (this is known as the assessment baseline)
  • Proposed use: $44,431,200

Which gives us an increase in value of $42,906,200. Now let’s look at the tax assessment:

  Before After Difference
2006 Municipal Mill Rate 5.7484 5.7484
2006 Municipal Tax $8,766 $255,408 $246,642
2006 School Mill Rate 3.6182 3.6182
2006 School Levy $5,518 $5,518 $0
2006 CRL N/A $155,243 $155,243

The mill rate is used to calculate the property tax, and you can think of it as the amount of tax required divided by the amount of tax available. So if the City needs $2 billion in taxes but only $1 billion can be generated based on the assessments, the mill rate is 2. The property tax is then calculated by multiplying the assessed value by the mill rate, and dividing by 1000. So to get $8,766 in our example above, $1,525,000 is multiplied by 5.7484 and then divided by 1000.

Let’s look at the Before column first. The total tax assessment there was $14,284, and the two bottom rows are N/A because we don’t have a CRL in the before case. Both the City and School taxes are calculated the same way: assessed value multiplied by the mill rate divided by 1000. The province gets $5,518 and the City gets $8,766, all of which goes into what’s known as “general revenue”.

Now let’s look at the After column. The total tax assessment there is $416,169. The City tax is calculated the same as before, but now that we have a much higher assessed value, we end up with $246,642 in increased tax revenue. All of this will go to the CRL. The School tax is broken into two, because only the incremental tax revenue will go toward the CRL. So the $5,518 is calculated the same as in the Before case, and this goes to the province. The provincial part of the CRL is calculated as follows: the increase in assessed value ($42,906,200) multiplied by the mill rate divided by 1000. That gives us the $155,243, all of which will go the CRL.

So now you see why the CRL is such an attractive proposition: it looks like we have $401,885 in new tax that we can contribute to the CRL. And this could happen with all developments inside the CRL boundary. There are a number of caveats, however. The first is that the CRL amount will vary from year to year based on the assessment (which makes the economy and depreciation relevant) and on the school mill rate which also changes from year to year. The second is that the type of development is important – City owned properties are tax exempt, for instance. A third is that the City tax revenues as well as a portion of the School tax revenues are dedicated to the CRL, where they would otherwise have gone into general revenue.

How is a CRL created?

Rick walked me through the process of creating a CRL, and I can tell you it sure doesn’t sound like a trivial task. In the best case, Rick estimates it would take just less than two years from concept through to the start of implementation to make a CRL reality. Here’s a high-level overview of the process:

Those five steps would include, roughly:

  1. Administration conducts background research, identifies the potential boundary, comes up with preliminary revenue estimates, and prepares for and asks Council for approval to make a request to the Minister of Municipal Affairs.
  2. The Minister of Municipal Affairs considers the request and recommends an Order in Council for an establishment regulation. This step also includes some back and forth to establish the area and other parameters.
  3. The Lieutenant Governor in Council considers and approves the Order in Council for the area to be established.
  4. Administration conducts more research, holds public hearings, drafts the proposed bylaw, has it reviewed by all relevant departments as well as the province, and acquires Council approval of the bylaw.
  5. The Lieutenant Governor in Council approves the bylaw.

After all that is done, the CRL can proceed. It makes sense to plan for the Lieutenant Governor in Council’s final approval as close to the start of construction as possible, in order to get the maximum possible time under the CRL legislation.

What are the risks associated with a CRL?

As others have pointed out, a CRL is not a risk-free proposition. There are a number of issues to consider.

What if a project does not lead to an increase in property values and does not result in any new development? In this case, there would be no “lift” to pay down the debt of the project. Rick noted that a plan for this kind of scenario needs to be in place before the province will approve a CRL. It can be as simple as the City swallowing the cost of the project, as long as it can specify how it will be paid for. Another option is for a third party to backstop the plan.

Another issue is the potential shift in taxes. Will the project really result in new development – development that would not have occurred in the city otherwise – or is it merely a shift in development, from areas outside the CRL to the area inside the CRL boundary? How would you know, one way or the other?

A related issue is the decrease in general tax revenue. If the property tax inside the CRL boundary is no longer going into general revenue, what does that mean for the services the City provides? In the worst case, you can imagine the entire City being covered in various CRL projects. That would result in zero general tax revenue and thus no way for the City to pay for the services it provides to citizens. What is the impact of one or two CRL projects? That’s less clear. Same goes for the school taxes. A common concern for many people is that they don’t want their school taxes going toward the CRL instead of schools. Of course, in reality the province doesn’t come up with education programs based on the amount of school tax it receives – tax revenue does go into the Alberta School Foundation Fund, but that money is combined with whatever amount of general revenues the province deems appropriate.

Can a CRL really work?

For a CRL to work, Rick says you need to make two basic assumptions:

  1. The project the CRL would be funding is a good thing, and is worth the risk.
  2. There’s a sound expectation that development will occur as a result.

If you think the project is worth the risk, and you’re confident that development will occur as a result of taking that risk, then a CRL can be a good funding source. Rick highlighted the Belvedere (Fort Road) project as meeting this basic criteria: it’s an area that needs to be redeveloped and it’s unlikely that anything would happen without some initiative by the City, plus there’s a good chance that other development will occur now as a result of the City going in and cleaning things up.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve made it this far, you should now have a better understanding of how Alberta’s Community Revitalization Levy came to be, how it works, and what the potential impacts and pitfalls of the legislation are.

In the next part of this series, we’ll look at Alberta’s three current CRL projects in more detail.

Alberta’s Community Revitalization Levy:

  1. Introduction
  2. Rivers District, Belvedere, The Quarters
  3. Proposed Downtown Edmonton Arena District

State of the Calgary Twittersphere – July 2010

Welcome to the seventh State of the Calgary Twittersphere of 2010, my look at the intersection of Twitter and Calgary, AB. You can see last month’s stats here.

For information on the data, definitions, and other background, click here.

For July 2010:

# of local users: 10501 (a decrease of 125 from June)
# of tweets by local users: 501941
# of tweets by local users containing #yyc: 22956 (4.6%)
# of tweets by local users that were replies: 153421 (30.6%)
# of tweets by local users containing links: 148567 (29.6%)
# of tweets by local users that were retweets: 21291 (4.2%)
# of tweets by local users that were twooshes: 16440 (3.3%)

Here are the numbers above in graphic form:

Here are the top clients used by local users for posting updates:

Some other interesting stats for the month:

  • Just over 50% of all local tweets were posted between 9 AM and 5 PM.
  • Local users posted roughly 11.3 tweets per minute in July (compared to 11.7 tweets per minute in June).
  • The day with the most local tweets posted was July 30 at 19863. On average, 16821 local tweets were posted each day (compared to 16821 in June).
  • Of the 153421 replies posted by local users this month, 47364 or 30.9% were to other local users.
  • A total of 1960 users posted 50 times or more in July. In comparison, 1587 users posted just once.

Here are the top ten most followed local users:

  1. douglasi
  2. calgrasley
  3. izzynobre
  4. NatbyNature
  5. SteveMesler
  6. WestJet
  7. MarkIsMusing
  8. ahhhgolf
  9. StaceZimmerman
  10. PLRNetMarketing

Here are the top ten most listed local users:

  1. biancaquijano
  2. douglasi
  3. NatbyNature
  4. WestJet
  5. VeerUpdate
  6. NHLFlames
  7. izzynobre
  8. CarlaYoung
  9. accruing
  10. uppercasemag

Here are the top ten most active local users (not including bots):

  1. izzynobre
  2. buckshot_yyc
  3. PLRNetMarketing
  4. VaughanBuilders
  5. Kristinnuendo
  6. Victorrious
  7. calgaryplumbers
  8. CarlaYoung
  9. that_angela
  10. Missitalyxox

Here are the top ten most active local users using #yyc (not including bots):

  1. lonnietaylor
  2. ThankASoldier
  3. Hughes4MayorYYC
  4. C_DIG
  5. Reactive_Candy
  6. harperonside
  7. nenshi
  8. petrodude73
  9. QR77football
  10. MsJodyM

Here are the top ten most replied to local users:

  1. that_angela
  2. Kristinnuendo
  3. dantric
  4. nicolesaxton
  5. danellew
  6. yogicrystal
  7. Acdngirl
  8. Darren_Krause
  9. lonnietaylor
  10. twowheelgeek

Here are the top ten most retweeted local users (by other local users):

  1. calgaryherald
  2. calgarystampede
  3. cityofcalgary
  4. CBCCalgary
  5. ChinookCentre
  6. nenshi
  7. 660News
  8. YYCLostPet
  9. AvenueMagazine
  10. that_angela

Final Thoughts

A small decrease in users in July, maybe because everyone was outside doing things! No surprise that the Calgary Stampede was among the most retweeted for the month. Chinook Centre celebrated its 50th birthday on August 1, and made a big push for followers during the month of July which likely explains why it was retweeted so much. With the Calgary election heating up, it’s interesting to see that mayoral candidate Naheed Nenshi was the 6th most retweeted user. I wonder if we’ll see more election-related stats as October 18 draws near.

State of the Calgary Twittersphere – June 2010

Welcome to the sixth State of the Calgary Twittersphere of 2010, my look at the intersection of Twitter and Calgary, AB. You can see last month’s stats here.

For information on the data, definitions, and other background, click here.

For June 2010:

# of local users: 10626 (an increase of 79 from May)
# of tweets by local users: 504633
# of tweets by local users containing #yyc: 22382 (4.4%)
# of tweets by local users that were replies: 156128 (30.9%)
# of tweets by local users containing links: 148101 (29.3%)
# of tweets by local users that were retweets: 22445 (4.4%)
# of tweets by local users that were twooshes: 17296 (3.4%)

Here are the numbers above in graphic form:

Here are the top clients used by local users for posting updates:

Some other interesting stats for the month:

  • Just under 50% of all local tweets were posted between 9 AM and 5 PM.
  • Local users posted roughly 11.7 tweets per minute in June (compared to 11.4 tweets per minute in May).
  • The day with the most local tweets posted was June 17 at 20079. On average, 16821 local tweets were posted each day (compared to 16355 in May).
  • Of the 156128 replies posted by local users this month, 49139 or 31.5% were to other local users.
  • A total of 1978 users posted 50 times or more in June. In comparison, 1600 users posted just once.

Here are the top ten most active local users (not including bots):

  1. izzynobre
  2. VaughanBuilders
  3. dantric
  4. Victorrious
  5. nscafe
  6. ThisMasterpiece
  7. that_angela
  8. a_picazo
  9. PLRNetMarketing
  10. Kristinnuendo

Here are the top ten most active local users using #yyc (not including bots):

  1. calgaryherald
  2. C_DIG
  3. CalgaryBeacon
  4. Hughes4MayorYYC
  5. petrodude73
  6. jillianwalker
  7. CalgaryBeacon2
  8. harperonside
  9. nscafe
  10. that_angela

Here are the top ten most replied to local users:

  1. Kristinnuendo
  2. dantric
  3. that_angela
  4. nscafe
  5. Diegirl
  6. yogicrystal
  7. C_DIG
  8. nicolesaxton
  9. Acdngirl
  10. danellew

Here are the top ten most retweeted local users (by other local users):

  1. calgaryherald
  2. CTVCalgary
  3. cbccalgary
  4. YYCLostPet
  5. cityofcalgary
  6. Calgarystampede
  7. AvenueMagazine
  8. mikesbloggity
  9. CTVdavidspence
  10. that_angela

Final Thoughts

First off, my apologies to those of you who have been waiting for a stats update! I’ve been a little behind this summer.

There was a slight increase in the number of users in June, and a slight decrease in the number of tweets posted. I think that decrease is due to two things: one less day than in May, and the large amount of downtime that Twitter experienced in June (it was their worst month since August 2009).

State of the Calgary Twittersphere – May 2010

Welcome to the fifth State of the Calgary Twittersphere of 2010, my look at the intersection of Twitter and Calgary, AB. You can see last month’s stats here.

For information on the data, definitions, and other background, click here.

For May 2010:

# of local users: 10547 (an increase of 439 from April)
# of tweets by local users: 507017
# of tweets by local users containing #yyc: 21053 (4.1%)
# of tweets by local users that were replies: 152349 (30.0%)
# of tweets by local users containing links: 153152 (30.2%)
# of tweets by local users that were retweets: 22158 (4.4%)
# of tweets by local users that were twooshes: 16966 (3.3%)

Here are the numbers above in graphic form:

Here are the top clients used by local users for posting updates:

Some other interesting stats for the month:

  • Just over 48% of all local tweets were posted between 9 AM and 5 PM.
  • Local users posted roughly 11.4 tweets per minute in May (compared to 11.6 tweets per minute in April).
  • The day with the most local tweets posted was May 27 at 19816. On average, 16355 local tweets were posted each day (compared to 16661 in April).
  • Of the 152349 replies posted by local users this month, 47020 or 30.9% were to other local users.
  • A total of 1959 users posted 50 times or more in May. In comparison, 1610 users posted just once.

Here are the top ten most followed local users:

  1. douglasi
  2. calgrasley
  3. NatbyNature
  4. MarkIsMusing
  5. ahhhgolf
  6. CassieSTROM
  7. WestJet
  8. VeronicaHay
  9. TOMIMWizard
  10. twitty7x

Here are the top ten most listed local users:

  1. douglasi
  2. NatbyNature
  3. VeerUpdate
  4. WestJet
  5. NHLFlames
  6. accruing
  7. CarlaYoung
  8. ProtruckR
  9. izzynobre
  10. uppercasemag

Here are the top ten most active local users:

  1. smoothjazznow
  2. CalgaryBizcaf
  3. MarketingHits
  4. izzynobre
  5. arizonaa
  6. Mariia19
  7. Kristinnuendo
  8. nscafe
  9. that_angela
  10. VaughanBuilders

Here are the top ten most active local users using #yyc:

  1. WeatherCalgary
  2. CgyCa
  3. Calgary_News
  4. C_DIG
  5. CalgaryBeacon
  6. Hughes4MayorYYC
  7. CalgaryBeacon2
  8. lonnietaylor
  9. petrodude73
  10. calgaryherald

Three are clearly bots so here are the next three:

  1. jillianwalker
  2. nscafe
  3. yogicrystal

Here are the top ten most replied to local users:

  1. Kristinnuendo
  2. that_angela
  3. nicolesaxton
  4. yogicrystal
  5. nscafe
  6. dantric
  7. Diegirl
  8. C_DIG
  9. WESTcalgary
  10. twowheelgeek

Here are the top ten most retweeted local users (by other local users):

  1. calgaryherald
  2. CBCCalgary
  3. CTVdavidspence
  4. whlhitmen
  5. YYCLostPet
  6. CTVCalgary
  7. calgarystampede
  8. WESTcalgary
  9. cityofcalgary
  10. X929

Final Thoughts

A decent jump in users and Calgary has finally broken the 500,000 tweets per month mark! There was a noticeable increase in the number of tagged tweets this month too. As with Edmonton, the official Twitter clients are climbing the charts.

State of the Calgary Twittersphere – April 2010

Welcome to the fourth State of the Calgary Twittersphere of 2010, my look at the intersection of Twitter and Calgary, AB. You can see last month’s stats here.

For information on the data, definitions, and other background, click here.

For April 2010:

# of local users: 10108 (an increase of 194 from March)
# of tweets by local users: 499825
# of tweets by local users containing #yyc: 18291 (3.7%)
# of tweets by local users that were replies: 148981 (29.8%)
# of tweets by local users containing links: 147895 (29.6%)
# of tweets by local users that were retweets: 27169 (5.4%)
# of tweets by local users that were twooshes: 16932 (3.4%)

Here are the numbers above in graphic form:

Here are the top clients used by local users for posting updates:

Some other interesting stats for the month:

  • Just under 49% of all local tweets were posted between 9 AM and 5 PM.
  • Local users posted roughly 11.6 tweets per minute in April (compared to 10.6 tweets per minute in March).
  • The day with the most local tweets posted was April 28 at 20061. On average, 16661 local tweets were posted each day (compared to 15259 in March).
  • Of the 148981 replies posted by local users this month, 41125 or 27.6% were to other local users.
  • A total of 1883 users posted 50 times or more in April. In comparison, 1502 users posted just once.

Here are the top ten most followed local users:

  1. douglasi
  2. calgrasley
  3. MarkIsMusing
  4. NatbyNature
  5. ahhhgolf
  6. CassieSTROM
  7. WestJet
  8. VeronicaHay
  9. TOMIMWizard
  10. twitty7x

Here are the top ten most listed local users:

  1. douglasi
  2. NatbyNature
  3. VeerUpdate
  4. WestJet
  5. NHLFlames
  6. accruing
  7. CarlaYoung
  8. ProtruckR
  9. uppercasemag
  10. izzynobre

Here are the top ten most active local users:

  1. ProtruckR
  2. arizonaa
  3. CalgaryBizcaf
  4. izzynobre
  5. Mariia19
  6. MarketingHits
  7. smoothjazznow
  8. nscafe
  9. VaughanBuilders
  10. zampieridiogo

Here are the top ten most active local users using #yyc:

  1. WeatherCalgary
  2. CgyCa
  3. CalgaryBeacon
  4. C_DIG
  5. mtroyaltransit
  6. lonnietaylor
  7. walkerjill
  8. LisaOstrikoff
  9. Calgary_News
  10. Hughes4MayorYYC

Here are the top ten most replied to local users:

  1. that_angela
  2. nscafe
  3. alex_ruiz
  4. C_DIG
  5. WESTcalgary
  6. Kristinnuendo
  7. nicolesaxton
  8. gotkube
  9. twowheelgeek
  10. Darren_Krause

Here are the top ten most retweeted local users (by other local users):

  1. WESTcalgary
  2. cbccalgary
  3. calgaryherald
  4. CTVCalgary
  5. cityofcalgary
  6. NHLFlames
  7. CatchCalgary
  8. alex_ruiz
  9. YYCLostPet
  10. AvenueMagazine

Final Thoughts

Calgary crossed the 10,000 active user mark this month! And came tantalizingly close to breaking the 500,000 tweets per month mark too. User growth was smaller than the month before, at least partially due to improvements I made in my algorithm for identifying local users.

I think the “most retweeted” list is useful for measuring influence, though it alone doesn’t tell the whole story. Just to clarify, the most retweeted list only accounts for standard-style retweets (those using Twitter’s retweet feature or those starting with RT @) made by other local users. I hope to improve this over time.

State of the Calgary Twittersphere – March 2010

Welcome to the third State of the Calgary Twittersphere of 2010, my look at the intersection of Twitter and Calgary, AB. You can see last month’s stats here.

For information on the data, definitions, and other background, click here.

For March 2010:

# of local users: 9914 (an increase of 1724 from February)
# of tweets by local users: 473003
# of tweets by local users containing #yyc: 16273 (3.4%)
# of tweets by local users that were replies: 143512 (30.3%)
# of tweets by local users containing links: 145927 (30.9%)
# of tweets by local users that were retweets: 24607 (5.2%)
# of tweets by local users that were twooshes: 15013 (3.2%)

Here are the numbers above in graphic form:

Here are the top clients used by local users for posting updates:

Some other interesting stats for the month:

  • Just over 49% of all local tweets were posted between 9 AM and 5 PM.
  • Local users posted roughly 10.6 tweets per minute in February (compared to 9.7 tweets per minute in February).
  • The day with the most local tweets posted was March 25 at 17829. On average, 15259 local tweets were posted each day (compared to 13937 in February).
  • Of the 143512 replies posted by local users this month, 39809 or 27.7% were to other local users.
  • A total of 1732 users posted 50 times or more in January. In comparison, 1606 users posted just once.

Here are the top ten most followed local users:

  1. douglasi
  2. MarkIsMusing
  3. calgrasley
  4. TOMIMWizard
  5. WestJet
  6. VeronicaHay
  7. CrazyMechanic
  8. CassieSTROM
  9. NatbyNature
  10. LeeCoates

Here are the top ten most listed local users:

  1. douglasi
  2. VeerUpdate
  3. WestJet
  4. NatbyNature
  5. NHLFlames
  6. accruing
  7. CarlaYoung
  8. izzynobre
  9. ProtruckR
  10. uppercasemag

Here are the top ten most active local users:

  1. izzynobre
  2. nscafe
  3. arizonaa
  4. ProtruckR
  5. MarketingHits
  6. a_picazo
  7. CarlaYoung
  8. CalgaryBizcaf
  9. that_angela
  10. alex_ruiz

Here are the top ten most active local users using #yyc:

  1. WeatherCalgary
  2. CgyCa
  3. C_DIG
  4. nscafe
  5. mtroyaltransit
  6. jcpollock
  7. lonnietaylor
  8. that_angela
  9. donnamct
  10. walkerjill

Here are the top ten most replied to local users:

  1. that_angela
  2. nscafe
  3. alex_ruiz
  4. C_DIG
  5. Ubermoogle
  6. danellew
  7. Eves1
  8. gotkube
  9. Kristinnuendo
  10. JohnCornegge

Final Thoughts

First off, apologies for the late stats this month. I think the increased numbers in March reflect three more days in the month than we had in February, but also some steady growth (and perhaps some modifications I made to my code). More than 11,000 tweets were posted each day in March.

State of the Calgary Twittersphere – February 2010

Welcome to the second State of the Calgary Twittersphere of 2010, my look at the intersection of Twitter and Calgary, AB. You can see last month’s stats here.

For information on the data, definitions, and other background, click here.

For February 2010:

# of local users: 8190 (an increase of 819 from January)
# of tweets by local users: 390224
# of tweets by local users containing #yyc: 11486 (2.9%)
# of tweets by local users that were replies: 116346 (29.8%)
# of tweets by local users containing links: 112937 (28.9%)
# of tweets by local users that were retweets: 20679 (5.3%)
# of tweets by local users that were twooshes: 13422 (3.4%)

Here are the numbers above in graphic form:

Here are the top clients used by local users for posting updates:

Some other interesting stats for the month:

  • Just under 48% of all local tweets were posted between 9 AM and 5 PM.
  • Local users posted roughly 9.7 tweets per minute in February (compared to 7.9 tweets per minute in January).
  • The day with the most local tweets posted was February 28 at 21292. On average, 13937 local tweets were posted each day (compared to 11334 in January).
  • Of the 116346 replies posted by local users this month, 31507 or 27.1% were to other local users.
  • A total of 1434 users posted 50 times or more in January. In comparison, 1319 users posted just once.

Here are the top ten most followed local users:

  1. douglasi
  2. MarkIsMusing
  3. OksanaIrwin
  4. CrazyMechanic
  5. CassieSTROM
  6. TOMIMWizard
  7. VeronicaHay
  8. StevenDownward
  9. LeeCoates
  10. WestJet

Here are the top ten most listed local users:

  1. douglasi
  2. VeerUpdate
  3. jwatson68
  4. WestJet
  5. NHLFlames
  6. NatbyNature
  7. izzynobre
  8. uppercasemag
  9. CarlaYoung
  10. strategicsense

Here are the top ten most active local users:

  1. ProtruckR
  2. izzynobre
  3. CalgaryBizcaf
  4. arizonaa
  5. nscafe
  6. that_angela
  7. a_picazo
  8. MarketingHits
  9. alex_ruiz
  10. VaughanBuilders

Here are the top ten most active local users using #yyc:

  1. WeatherCalgary
  2. CgyCa
  3. harperonside
  4. calgaryherald
  5. a_picazo
  6. paulinate
  7. lonnietaylor
  8. C_DIG
  9. jcpollock
  10. CalgaryNetworks

Here are the top ten most replied to local users:

  1. that_angela
  2. alex_ruiz
  3. nscafe
  4. C_DIG
  5. alexflint
  6. gotkube
  7. carmenincalgary
  8. lonnietaylor
  9. craftygirljen
  10. Darren_Krause

Final Thoughts

As with Edmonton and Victoria, the busiest day of the month was February 28 at 21292 tweets thanks to the gold medal hockey game. Calgary actually broke the 20000 mark twice this month – the other day was February 12, the day the opening ceremonies took place. It was a pretty impressive month for stats, especially given that it was three days shorter than normal!

State of the Calgary Twittersphere – January 2010

Welcome to the first State of the Calgary Twittersphere of 2010, my look at the intersection of Twitter and Calgary, AB. You can see last month’s stats here.

For information on the data, definitions, and other background, click here.

For January 2010:

# of local users: 7371 (an increase of 249 from December)
# of tweets by local users: 351342
# of tweets by local users containing #yyc: 13259 (3.8%)
# of tweets by local users that were replies: 105309 (30.0%)
# of tweets by local users containing links: 112342 (32.0%)
# of tweets by local users that were retweets: 24998 (7.1%)
# of tweets by local users that were twooshes: 19721 (5.6%)

Here are the numbers above in graphic form:

Here are the top clients used by local users for posting updates:

Some other interesting stats for the month:

  • Just under 50% of all local tweets were posted between 9 AM and 5 PM.
  • Local users posted roughly 7.9 tweets per minute in January (compared to 7.3 tweets per minute in December).
  • The day with the most local tweets posted was January 27 at 13935. On average, 11334 local tweets were posted each day (compared to 10472 in December).
  • Of the 105309 replies posted by local users this month, 28981 or 27.5% were to other local users.
  • A total of 1274 users posted 50 times or more in January. In comparison, 1182 users posted just once.

Here are the top ten most followed local users:

  1. douglasi
  2. cristinereyes21
  3. MarkIsMusing
  4. OksanaIrwin
  5. CrazyMechanic
  6. TOMIMWizard
  7. VeronicaHay
  8. CassieSTROM
  9. LeeCoates
  10. WestJet

Here are the top ten most listed local users:

  1. douglasi
  2. cristinereyes21
  3. VeerUpdate
  4. jwatson68
  5. WestJet
  6. NHLFlames
  7. izzynobre
  8. uppercasemag
  9. dayhomemama
  10. ThankASoldier

Here are the top ten most active local users:

  1. CalgaryBizcaf
  2. ProtruckR
  3. nscafe
  4. izzynobre
  5. MarketingHits
  6. a_picazo
  7. alex_ruiz
  8. opiatedsherpa
  9. that_angela
  10. BoldlyBeautiful

Here are the top ten most active local users using #yyc:

  1. WeatherCalgary
  2. alex_ruiz
  3. nscafe
  4. C_DIG
  5. a_picazo
  6. JohnCornegge
  7. lonnietaylor
  8. that_angela
  9. jcpollock
  10. paulinate

Final Thoughts

Slight increase in the number of active users this month, no doubt thanks to the holidays ending and everyone getting back to work. The number of tweets posted per day increased throughout the month as well, breaking the 13,000 mark twice. There was also a slight increase in the number of tagged tweets.

#bill44 on Twitter by Edmontonians & Calgarians

A little while ago, Paula told me she was interested in reconstructing the Twitter stream that happened last year around Bill 44 (PDF and if you want a summary, Ken has a great one). She tried using Twitter Search but quickly found that it only goes back so far, so she asked if I could help. With a few caveats, I said I could.

The first caveat is that the tweets I have are only from people in Edmonton and Calgary (with their profiles set to one of those at the time). I’m sure other Albertans were taking part too. The second is that it’s pretty hard to find all the back-and-forth tweets for the various conversations, so the ones I pulled out all contain the #bill44 hashtag.

I looked at the data for May and June of 2009. Here’s what it looks like:

I was initially surprised by the double peaks, but Paula helped make sense of it:

The first peak is the night debate went until 3:38 AM and the amendments were defeated. The second spike is the night (and early morning) of the final vote. Debate started the evening of the 1st, and ended at about 3:20 AM on the 2nd. The Twitter chatter continued like mad on the 2nd and 3rd, as people bemoaned the result.

Here are the top ten most active #bill44 users during those two months: KenChapman46, Sirthinks, taudette, DebraWard, robertmcbean, AllieW, ChrisLaBossiere, davecournoyer, Paulatics, bingofuel.

After removing #bill44, #ableg, and RT, this is what the word cloud of the tweets looks like:

And here, in chronological order, is all 2406 tweets:

I have archived that spreadsheet here or you can get the full version here. That means you can download the data set and do your own analysis, if you like!

I agree with Paula and all of the others who have said this: Bill 44 was a landmark moment in Alberta’s social media & political history. I’m glad we were able to preserve a part of it.

As a minor aside, I think this a great example of what could come out of MediaCamp.

State of the Calgary Twittersphere – December 2009

Welcome to the tenth State of the Calgary Twittersphere, my look at the intersection of Twitter and Calgary. You can see last month’s stats here.

The source of the data this month is the same as last, primarily Twitter Search but also from Twitter directly. If a user has his or her location set to Calgary, Airdrie, Okotoks, Cochrane, Strathmore, or matching lat/long coordinates, they are considered a Calgarian.

For December 2009:

# of local users: 7122 (a decrease of 346 from November)

To clarify, that means there were 7122 users who posted at least one tweet in December 2009 with their location set to something that makes them an Calgarian as described above. This number should be treated as a minimum – there are probably many more Calgary users without their location set or that were not captured for some other reason.

Here are the rest of the stats for December 2009:

# of tweets by local users: 324614
# of tweets by local users containing #yyc: 11949 (3.7%)
# of tweets by local users that were replies: 102959 (31.7%)
# of tweets by local users containing links: 89063 (27.4%)
# of tweets by local users that were retweets: 20040 (6.2%)
# of tweets by local users that were twooshes: 12294 (3.8%)

Here are the numbers above in graphic form:

Here are the top clients used by local users for posting updates:

Some other interesting stats for the month:

Final Thoughts

As with Edmonton, there was a drop in users this month, no doubt due to the holidays. Christmas Day had the lowest number of tweets posted, at just 7086, but it picked up again by New Year’s Eve. Very interesting this month to see the jump in tagged tweets, from 2.6% too 3.7% or an increase of about 3900 tweets. Calgary finished 2009 with roughly 2 times as many active users than in March (the first month I recorded stats) and roughly 2.2 times as many tweets being posted each month.

Since March, I have identified just over 18,000 local users. The number above, 7122, is how many of them were active in December.

The 2009 year in review stats are coming soon, stay tuned!