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A capital city takes a comprehensive approach to reinvigorating its downtown

Edmonton, Alberta


In the past 12 years, Edmonton’s Downtown has undergone dramatic growth and has matured significantly. A variety of new residential and mixed-use projects have allowed the downtown population to double. The growing retail and office sectors, the relocation of post-secondary institutions to the downtown core, the growing provincial economy, and the burgeoning student population, are helping downtown become increasingly vibrant and livable. The Capital City Downtown Plan is part of an effort to renew its vision and respond to the needs of residents, students, workers, business owners, and many other downtown stakeholders. The vision aims to create a Downtown that is sustainable, vibrant, well-designed, and accessible.

Built on the success of earlier plans

The plan builds on the achievements and momentum provided by the successes of the 1997 Plan. The new plan sets out a number of new policy directions specifically geared toward making the downtown sustainable, vibrant, well-designed, and accessible. It capitalizes on other major projects, and includes its own new bold initiatives and key catalyst projects that will be used to further spur and encourage development.

A plan for the foreseeable future

The plan will guide development for the next 10 to 15 years by providing updated policies, an urban design framework for downtown streets, and zoning that raise the standard of design and encourage sustainable development in the downtown.

Facilitating bi-law updates

Using custom designed consultation methods with representatives from the development industry, the team succeeded in turning industry opposition into endorsement while raising the overall quality of urban design through a user-friendly bylaw. The updated Zoning Bylaw was approved by Council in the fall of 2010.

Project facts

Completed: 2010
Collaborators : ISL, G.P.Rollo & Associates, BTY, HB Lanarc, Urban Plans Consulting, NBBJ
Client: City of Edmonton

Achievements & Awards

Award of Excellence, Edmonton Urban Design Awards

Merit Award - Planning, International Downtown Association

Award of Merit, Alberta Professional Planners Institute

Emerald Award for Architectural Excellence, Government Institution Category, Alberta Emerald Foundation

Canadian Institute of Planners Award of Planning Excellence – Honourable Mention, Neighbourhood Planning