District Planning is a multi-year project to build the City Plan’s 15-minute districts—small towns in our big city, where people can meet many of their daily needs locally.
Get Started on Public Engagement
District Planning has released a series of Conversation Starters to help prepare Edmontonians for upcoming engagement on the draft district plans and District General Policy.
District Planning and Communities
Edmonton’s communities are its lifeblood and will continue to provide us with the opportunity to turn our time and attention to things that really matter, like connection with each other and to the greater good. This short video will give you an introduction to the project and answer some of your questions.
How We Got Here
City Plan Direction
District Planning builds off what you and many Edmontonians shared with us through the public engagement for The City Plan. All that input and feedback is summarized in the What We Heard Reports available on Making The City Plan.
The City Plan identifies 15 districts across Edmonton. Each district is a collection of diverse, connected and accessible neighbourhoods, where you can access most of the services and amenities that you need. District plans will highlight the key features, current district conditions and future opportunities based on The City Plan.
Since a plan for every neighbourhood isn’t feasible—Edmonton has over 400 neighbourhoods—each district plan will serve a collection of neighbourhoods. District plans support The City Plan, but don’t otherwise propose bold new directions. Their role is instead to communicate and illustrate how each district is intended to change according to The City Plan.
A Necessary New Tool
Edmonton’s planning system, consisting of hundreds of small plans, many of them more than 30 years old, needs more than just a tune-up. This is why the City is carefully reviewing and analysing older plans to be repealed so that they can be replaced by, or incorporated into, the new tool of district plans.
Replacing our outdated plans with district plans and capturing all the details of each neighbourhood is too much to accomplish at once. That’s why district plans will begin as rather simple plans that provide the essentials.
In time, additional detail can be added to the district plans where needed through conversations with communities and additional analysis.
Nodes and Corridors
The City Plan describesas increasingly densely populated, mixed-use areas accessible by a wide range of mobility options (such as walk, cycle, transit, drive).
Nodes are centres of activity where people live, work and shop and are able to walk, cycle or take transit to reach the node.
Corridors are travel routes as well as destinations where people live, shop or spend time. They provide connections within and across districts. There are two types of corridors: primary and secondary.
Benefits of a Nodes and Corridor Approach
- Integrates mass transit and development across many districts at different scales
- Creates a comprehensive network of intensification opportunities
- Offers communities more certainty about the kinds of future development that their respective communities may experience over time
While all areas of the city will become more densely populated over time, deliberate urban intensification will occur at the nodes and corridors of each district, linked by mass transit—these are places to focus our efforts. Together the District General Policy and individual district plans will provide the necessary guidance for strategic development.
What Happens Next?
The first step involves establishing the District General Policy and the 15 district plans. This will involve bringing together policies from existing City strategies and approved plans that are in alignment with The City Plan.
Communities, residents, organizations and developers will all be invited to provide input to shape district plans in the summer and fall of 2022. Council approval of district plans is targeted for the end of 2023.
Once approved, the district plans will serve all Edmontonians:
- For residents, district plans will show how their neighbourhoods will change and evolve
- For industry, district plans will guide where redevelopment and development are encouraged
- For institutions and community partners, they will help with planning, investing and aligning efforts
- For administration and City Council, they will provide a consolidated source of policies to inform land use, mobility and infrastructure recommendations and decisions
Into the Future
The City Plan imagines when Edmonton will reach 2 million people and includes population thresholds every 250,000 people that will mark that growth. This first version of district plans will guide our growth from 1 million to 1.25 million people.
When we approach that population threshold, the district plans will be updated to guide growth from 1.25 million to 1.5 million people. In the meantime, to stay relevant, district plans will be amended from time to time to reflect land use updates, new historical sites, significant new infrastructure priorities or to provide additional policy direction.
Cost of City Building
Building and maintaining a city is expensive. As a city grows outwards, it adds new taxpayers to help pay for its costs, but it also adds new roads to plow and pave, new pipes to connect, and new parks to mow.
The City Plan seeks to shift how we grow to manage these costs, setting a target of 50% of growth in infill areas. By growing in existing areas of the city, new residents can use existing infrastructure and facilities.
It will take a long time to achieve the goals of The City Plan, but we can take steps now to change how the city will grow in the future.
District plans focus on the first phase of The City Plan—our growth to 1.25 million residents. Over this period, growth will continue in planned communities at the edges of the city, but redevelopment will also be encouraged and supported in the nodes and corridors in existing areas. This builds on the City’s infill strategies and will help us transition from growing out to growing in and up.
District plans will help prioritize specific areas for development, which will, in turn, support vibrant communities and the responsible use of resources.
Cities are complex. They work best when interdependent systems like land use, transportation, and growth management work together. The City Plan is our vision for how and where we want our city to grow. To bring that vision to life, we will guide the evolution of our city through three systems and a number of complementary initiatives:
- The Planning and Design System helps us shape the geographic space of our city. District Planning is one of the networks in this system.
- The City Planning Framework complements District Planning by ensuring Plans are kept up-to-date, that new planning tools are focused, and by ensuring planning tools that have served their purpose are repealed.
- The Zoning Bylaw Renewal Initiative is a comprehensive overhaul of Edmonton’s current Zoning Bylaw that includes rethinking how, what, and why the City regulates development and zoning. It will result in a strategic, simplified and streamlined Zoning Bylaw, enabling all people, places and businesses to thrive and prosper. district plans will serve as the policy link between The City Plan and regulation contained in the Zoning Bylaw.
- The Mobility System shapes multi-modal transportation for people and goods to move safely.
- The Mobility Network Assessment will help identify potential investments that best support the The City Plan’s mobility network.
- The Managing Growth System shapes how and where our city will grow and change over time.
- The Growth Management Framework will support financially efficient and compact city building in priority node and corridor areas using a variety of tools, including policy, incentives, infrastructure investment, and partnerships.