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Award of Merit-Implemented Urban Design Plans

Griesbach Neighbourhood
Lead Planner: John Steil, Stantec Consulting Ltd.
Engineer: AECOM, Scheffer Andrew Planners and Engineers
Landscape Architect: AECOM, IBI Group
Project owner: Canada Lands CLC Ltd.

Location: This project is on a former Canadian Forces Base located between 97 and 113 streets and 137 and 153 avenues in north Edmonton.

Project Description

Griesbach demonstrates urban design success at many levels, creating a new community unlike anything else in suburban Edmonton. It raises the bar for quality of the public realm in Edmonton.

Redevelopment of the 620-acre former Canadian Forces army base, designed for 13,000 people, is now 25% built and will be completed over 10-15 years. Given its context, it is primarily residential, but includes a village centre and transit-oriented mixed-use centre.

Tree-lined roadways focus on a central man-made hill. Paths integrated into the overall green system and adjacent neighbourhoods accompany a waterway system. This design, combined with traffic calming, heritage interpretation, and the dispersal of parks makes it very people-friendly.

Griesbach’s guidelines promote diversity, with an eclectic mix of housing forms and styles from garden suites to apartments; homes for families, seniors, and a veterans’ centre. Subdivisions have been designed around existing housing; some were relocated on new foundations.
Saving and relocating existing vegetation creates the feel of an established community; plans are to integrate evergreen rows into ‘green streets.’

Various design elements pay homage to the Greisbach neighbourhood’s military heritage. William Griesbach, Edmonton’s second mayor, First World War hero, MP and Senator, is honoured with an equestrian statue. A pedestrian crossing of Patricia Lake replicates a Bailey Bridge, a prefabricated bridge used by combat engineers.
The neighbourhood names program is based on regimental history, peacekeepers, famous battles, war heroes, military nurses, and Victoria Cross winners, etc.

Jury’s comments

  • This proposal shows a real improvement over what was originally there.  The site visit emphasized that neighbourhood plan demonstrates a better urban design model for Edmonton’s suburban areas. 
  • The levels of urban design thought compared to a basic suburb is like night and day with the town centre, historic pathways, mixed housing forms, etc.  The introduction of lanes, distinct signage and sidewalk patterns is creditable.

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