Why do we need a Regional Growth Plan?

    When the needs of the region are addressed as a whole, we can better identify opportunities and efficiencies to reduce the costs of growth, attract investment to the region, and realize sustained prosperity.

    As municipalities continue to grow, urban and rural development areas are converging and boundaries between municipalities have become blurred. As the region adds another million people, greater cooperation among all the municipalities that make up the Calgary Metro Region (CMR) will be needed to create a resilient and globally competitive region.

    Some of the benefits to a regional approach to growth include:

    • Reduction in duplication or redundancy in infrastructure resulting in costs savings and less tax dollars used to support growth;
    • More strategic investments for new infrastructure and possibly a deferral of costly infrastructure upgrade projects;
    • Higher levels of service in key areas from more collaboration between municipalities;  
    • More efficient use of tax dollars; and
    • Enhanced coordination and mitigation of impacts to the region's natural systems which do not follow jurisdictional boundaries.

    What’s included in the draft Regional Growth Plan?

    The draft plan is based on a core belief that successful places – whether neighbourhoods, towns, urban districts or metropolitan regions – must be diverse in uses and users, must be scaled to the pedestrian and human interaction, and must be environmentally sustainable. 


    These values were matched with input from the public and municipal administration to arrive at a draft Regional Growth Plan that includes these two key features:



    Click on each feature name to see more detail about what’s included in the draft plan and why it was included. Together, these features create a draft plan that prioritizes the following approach to growth for the Calgary Metro Region:


    • Reinforcing the role of core urban areas as economic, cultural and social centres;

    • Conserving agricultural land and resources; and

    • Having fully serviced neighbourhoods and employment areas where people will be able to walk to everyday needs or take transit for longer-distance trips.


    The map below shows the Regional Growth Structure that’s proposed in the draft plan (click on the map for a larger version).


    What are Preferred Placetypes and how might they affect me and my community?

    The Preferred Placetypes are types of development that have significant positive impacts in environmental and financial outcomes as well as create opportunities for efficient infrastructure and servicing. Their use is key to the draft plan and should be used in all Preferred Growth Areas


    Each placetype reflects a variety of buildings, streets, and amenities, and represents a different type of development with different levels of density for residential and employment use. Placetypes provide a sense of the quality and experience, and include consideration for both people and jobs.


    What might this mean for me and my community?

    Having Preferred Placetypes as a key feature of the draft Regional Growth Plan means that there will be more efficient use of infrastructure and services because of increased density, which is likely to decrease infrastructure and servicing costs, which is likely to save future infrastructure and servicing costs.

    However, prioritizing only three Preferred Placetypes means that parts of the region that aren’t well suited to higher density and mixed-use development, such as rural communities, are unlikely to see this type of development occur. This means that some communities that have been hoping for, and planning for, and investing in new developments will not see those developments take place as planned.

    Having more mixed-use and infill development with interconnected street networks means that communities are likely to be more vibrant with increased access to local services and amenities as well as high quality parks, trails, and open spaces.

    The Preferred Placetypes in the draft plan are:


    Additional placetypes that are included in the draft plan are:

    • Rural and Country Cluster;
    • Employment Area; and
    • Residential Community.


    These six placetypes are described below. You can also find more information about the specific way in which Preferred Placetypes should be developed in section 3.1.1 of the draft Regional Growth Plan


    When we talk about densities, we use the term “dwelling unit per acre” (or du/ac). Densities for placetypes is subject to interpretation because the number depends on the area of land you’re talking about within the community, but here are some regional examples of communities and their approximate densities as a reference point:


    • New communities in the City of Calgary, like Seton or Sherwood, are about 10 - 12 du/ac
    • New communities in the City of Airdrie, like Windsong and Southwinds, are about 8-9 du/ac
    • The community of Brentwood in the City of Calgary is about 5 - 6 du/ac, including the apartments (this community is more like 4 - 5 du/ac without the apartments)
    • Communities in older parts of High River or Okotoks are about 4 - 5 du/ac
    • The built area of the Harmony development is about 6 du/ac, while the overall community is around 3 du/ac
    • Communities like Springbank or Elbow Valley are about 0.5 du/ac


    Infill and Redevelopment Placetype

    The infill and redevelopment placetype describes development that takes place on parcels of land that are vacant and within existing built-up areas, or that are occupied by structures or uses that are planned for replacement by more intense development. Similar placetypes in the Calgary Metro Region are:

    • Currie Barracks in Calgary; 
    • Parks of Harvest Hills in Calgary; 
    • Creekside Crossing Neighbourhood Concept Plan in Airdrie; and
    • Downtown Cochrane redevelopment.


    Masterplan Community Placetype

    A greenfield development characterized by its comprehensive and integrated approach to land use. It will typically include a mix of housing types and land uses, including retail, commercial, civic, and recreational amenities located within walking distance of residences. This placetype includes community or neighbourhood commercial centres. It requires safe and direct pedestrian and bike access between uses. Medium density employment is encouraged along with community or neighbourhood commercial centres in this pedestrian friendly area. These communities should be designed to evolve over time to higher densities and a greater mixture of uses. They can be inclusive of the Mixed-use TOD placetype.

    The draft plan includes the following minimum average residential densities for Masterplan communities:

    • Hamlet Growth Areas: 6 du/ac
    • Other Urban Municipalities and Joint Planning Areas: 8 du/ac; and
    • City of Calgary: 10 du/ac.

    Some regional examples of Masterplan Communities include:

    • Panorama Hills;
    • Royal Oak; and
    • Cornerstone.




    Mixed-use/Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Placetype

    A greenfield and infill development characterized by mixed use development with many day-to-day services within walking distance of residential. These areas have a variety of housing types, employment types, and commercial / retail land uses mixed within them. When supported by existing or planned transit, this placetype is called Transit Oriented Development. It will provide frequent safe and direct pedestrian and bike access between uses. Higher density office development is encouraged along with regional, community or neighbourhood commercial centres in this pedestrian friendly area. This placetype may be located within an Infill and Redevelopment placetype. 

     

    The draft plan includes the following minimum average residential densities for Mixed-use/TOD:

    • Hamlet Growth Areas: 12 du/ac;
    • Other Urban Municipalities and Joint Planning Areas: 15 du/ac; and
    • City of Calgary: 20 du/ac.

    Some regional examples of Mixed-use/TOD developments include:

    • Marda Loop;
    • The Bridges in Bridgeland;
    • Seton Urban District; and
    • Brentwood Village.


    Rural and Country Cluster Placetype

    A rural development characterized by larger lot sizes, lower density, and single-detached housing. This placetype can include Country Cluster patterns that configure housing development in a focused area and preserves remaining land for open space. 


    The draft plan includes a cap of 80 units per development with a maximum density of 0.5 du/ac for this Rural and Country.


    Employment Area Placetype

    An employment development is characterized by a variety of industrial and commercial land uses that may include office complexes, research parks, warehousing, and manufacturing. The area may also include supporting uses for workers, such as food and business retail but does not include regional commercial centres. Where possible, they should be used as workplace destinations easily accessible by surrounding residential development and transit.


    The draft plan generally directs Employment Areas to be developed in Preferred Growth Areas where there is servicing and access to transportation. Some types of employment are allowed in other areas. See section 3.1.5.4 of the draft plan for more information about Local Employment Areas, and section 3.1.10.1 for more information about how unanticipated employment opportunities will be addressed.


    Residential Community Placetype

    A greenfield development that is predominantly residential. Single detached homes are the dominant housing type with other housing types possibly included. This placetype is generally auto oriented as the development pattern may have limited amenities and destinations that can be conveniently accessed via walking or biking. 


    The draft plan allows for new Residential Communities to be developed in Preferred Growth Areas only, with varied density standards for these communities across the Region.

    What are Preferred Growth Areas and how might they affect me and my community?

    The draft Regional Growth Plan says that all development in the Calgary Metro Region should happen in places called “Preferred Growth Areas”. These include three types of areas that are defined in the draft plan:


    • Urban Municipalities;

    • Joint Planning Areas; and 

    • Hamlet Growth Areas. 


    The main reasons for naming specific parts of the region where urban development will happen are to have better cooperation between municipalities, more efficient supply of services, and to make the sharing of municipal responsibilities more fair and equitable.


    What might this mean for me and my community?

    Having Preferred Growth Areas as a key feature of the draft Regional Growth Plan means that future Employment Areas and jobs will be located in areas close to population centres that can provide opportunities for shorter commutes, thereby reducing the number of cars on the road and the emissions and cost that come with longer commutes.


    However, focusing growth and especially employment opportunities in only some parts of the region means that those areas that are not “preferred” (which are all in rural municipalities) are not likely to see the development that municipalities and community members may have been hoping and planning for as the next million people come to the region.

    Locating new development in Preferred Growth Areas with existing or planned community services and facilities means that there will be more sharing and cooperation between municipalities to service those developments, translating to more efficient use of infrastructure and supply of services, likely leading to lower costs for ratepayers and taxpayers than would otherwise have occurred.

    You can also find more information about Preferred Growth Areas in section 3.1.2 of the draft Regional Growth Plan, or check out the table below for more information about specific types and location of development.


    What are Hamlet Growth Areas and Joint Planning Areas and how are they used in the draft plan?

    Hamlet Growth Areas

    Hamlet Growth Areas (HGAs) are defined parts of the region where new development can take place. They are one of three Preferred Growth Areas outlined in the draft plan and are shown in green on the map below. HGAs are meant to enhance the rural character of the Region by having strategically focused areas for new development where there isn’t easy access to urban municipalities.


    The draft plan includes HGAs which are outlined in green on the map below, and include:


    • At least three HGAs in Rocky View County, such as Harmony, Bragg Creek and Langdon within Rocky View County;

    • At least three HGAs in Foothills County, location to be determined at a later date, subject to Board approval; and

    • At least one HGA in Wheatland County, such as Cheadle within the portion of Wheatland County located inside the Calgary Metro Region.


    New HGAs that define a boundary for new development may also be proposed in the future and will be subject to the approval of the Board.


    New developments within HGAs will still need to align with one of the three Preferred Placetypes outlined in the draft plan (Infill and Redevelopment, Masterplan Community, or Mixed-Use or Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)). The minimum densities for these placetypes, though, are lower in HGAs than in the City of Calgary and other Urban Municipalities in recognition of the significant differences between a community like Cheadle and the Beltline community in Calgary. 


    See section 3.1.6 of the draft Regional Growth Plan to learn more about Hamlet Growth Areas.


    Joint Planning Areas 

    Joint Planning Areas (JPAs) are another one of the three Preferred Growth Areas defined in the draft plan, and are outlined in purple on the above map. JPAs offer the chance for neighbouring municipalities to work together in areas where growth impacts multiple municipalities and where a high level of municipally provided services will be necessary to support the full potential of the area.


    Focusing new development into areas that connect urban municipalities is an important way that the Calgary Metro Region can manage growth and have more efficient use of land and infrastructure within the region. All new growth in JPAs will need to align with one of the three Preferred Placetypes outlined in the draft plan (Infill and Redevelopment, Masterplan Community, or Mixed-Use or Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)).


    The municipalities within a JPA will have to prepare a background report, called a Context Study that will inform new Area Structure Plans and development in the JPA, the Growth and Servicing Plans, as well as Municipal Development Plans. The Context Study will include elements such as:


    • A vision for the area;

    • A servicing strategy and strategies to equitably share costs and benefits associated with services such as fire, police, recreation, transportation (including transit) and utilities;

    • A transportation and mobility plan;

    • Strategies to address intermunicipal environmental issues; and

    • A general land use plan and sequencing of developments.


    See section 3.1.7 of the draft Regional Growth Plan to learn more about Joint Planning Areas.

    What does the draft plan mean for rural areas?

    The rural areas surrounding the region’s Preferred Growth Areas (cities, towns, Hamlet Growth Areas and Joint Planning Areas  play an important role in supporting an agricultural economy, natural resource economy, rural character and lifestyle.


    To achieve the positive outcomes of regional planning, the draft Regional Growth Plan includes a different approach to development than rural areas have seen in the past. This is concerning for some, as it means that large-scale, urban-style development is supported in specific locations in our region, but not in other locations.


    • The location of all new communities in rural areas will be reviewed and approved by the Board. The form of new communities must also be consistent with the policies of the plan for mixed use development, including minimum densities, and provide a range of services to support the population.

    • Existing area structure plans remain in place and can be built as approved. If approved plans are changed, those changes must align with the policies of the Regional Growth Plan for mixed use and compact development and cannot increase the overall population of the area structure plan unless the area structure plan is within a Joint Planning Area.


    The draft plan focuses new regionally significant Employment Areas to Urban Municipalities, Hamlet Growth Areas, or Joint Planning Areas. This aligns jobs with locations that have a greater potential for public transit, adequate infrastructure, transportation, and services. 


    This means that Employment Areas in rural counties outside Joint Planning Areas will be limited for the most part to support the agricultural economy and resource economy which raises concerns about the potential economic impacts within those communities.

    The draft plan also limits the development of Rural and Country Cluster placetypes by requiring this type of development to occur outside of Preferred Growth Areas, and indeed is the only regionally significant development available in rural areas outside of Joint Planning Areas and Hamlet Growth Areas. The Rural and Country Cluster placetype is included in the plan to preserve and enhance the rural character and economy of the lands surrounding the cities, towns, hamlets and Joint Planning Areas. 


    However, the draft plan says that the Rural and Country Cluster placetype has a maximum of 80 dwelling units in locations where infrastructure and services are appropriate, with a maximum density of 0.5 du/ac (similar to Springbank or Elbow Valley). This limit on the number of lots and density of this nature is not what the region is used to seeing, and there is a concern about the potential economic viability of these types of developments in the region.


    Local residential employment and home-based business development will continue and will not be subject to Board review and approval. No changes are proposed for ‘first parcel out’ subdivisions.  


    Please visit the Discussion Forum about the potential community benefits and drawbacks of the draft plan for rural municipalities to share your thoughts on these choices related to rural development in the draft plan.

    How was the draft Regional Growth Plan developed?

    Over the last year and half, representatives from the ten municipalities in the Calgary Metro Region have been working together to lay the foundation for the Regional Growth Plan.

    The CMRB has selected the internationally-recognized regional planning firm HDR|Calthorpe to develop the growth plan in consultation with member municipalities under the leadership of the Board. HDR|Calthorpe is a pioneer in the development and implementation of regional plans that support diverse, walkable, sustainable, vibrant, environmentally responsible, mixed-use communities across the world. The firm’s long history of high-quality urban design and regional planning give their designers, planners and engineers the skills and vision to build the growth plan for the Calgary Metro Region.

    The Regional Growth Plan process revolves around three main stages:

    • Stage 1: Information Gathering and Visioning

    • Stage 2: Regional Scenarios

    • Stage 3: Policy Draft and Adoption

    We are currently at the end of Stage 3. A draft Regional Growth Plan has been developed and we’re looking to hear from the public about the choices that have been made in the draft plan. Public engagement was an important part of the development of the draft plan throughout Stages 2 and 3. Click here for the What We Heard Reports from Phase 1 and Phase 2 of public engagement.

    How has public input been used in the development of the draft plan and how will public input be used in decisions about the final Regional Growth Plan?

    The first phase of public engagement in the summer of 2020 helped us determine “what” should be included in the Regional Growth Plan because we learned about which outcomes of regional planning were most important to our communities. Check out the What We Heard Report from Phase 1 to learn more.


    The second phase of public engagement in November of 2020 helped us refine “how” the desired outcomes could be achieved through policies and implementation that reflects the unique interests of communities in the Calgary Metro Region. Check out the What We Heard Report from Phase 2 to learn more.


    This third phase of public engagement is for the Board to gather input on the ideas and choices that have been made in the draft plan. This phase of engagement offers the opportunity for the public and all stakeholders to share their thoughts on the plan to manage growth differently than we have in the past.  


    The Board will use what is heard through this process as one of a few considerations in its decision-making process about the final Regional Growth Plan. Along with public input, the CMRB will also consider input from municipal administration, regional planning best practices, and its own vision for the future of the Calgary Metro Region to arrive at a final Regional Growth Plan that will be submitted to the Province by June 1, 2021.

    How will the Regional Growth Plan affect Municipal Development Plans (MDPs)?

    Once the Regional Growth Plan is approved each jurisdiction, either urban or rural will need to update their Municipal Development Plan to accommodate growth in more sustainable patterns and locations, deploying the Preferred Placetypes to create mixed-use environments in a range of contexts.                 

    In the core areas of urban municipalities, infill and redevelopment should reinforce the role of core areas as economic, cultural and social centres of their respective towns and cities. 

    In the Preferred Growth Areas, inclusive of urban municipalities, Joint Planning Areas (JPAs), and Hamlet Growth Areas (HGAs) as shown on the Regional Growth Structure, plans should strive for fully serviced urban neighborhoods and employment areas where people will be able to meet their everyday needs locally, using alternative modes of transportation such as walking or transit more often. 

    In rural areas, plans should seek to conserve agricultural land and resources by clustering growth around community infrastructure, utilities, facilities and services and in Hamlet Growth Areas.

    The graphic below shows the hierarchy of statutory plans based on the Municipal Government Act. To learn more about how the Regional Growth Plan interacts with the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan, check out section 1.2.4 of the draft Regional Growth Plan.


    What does the draft plan say about economic wellbeing?

    The draft Regional Growth Plan recognizes that there is an important connection between economic wellbeing, land use and servicing that will influence the region’s economic competitiveness. The connections include:


    • The ability to attract the talent necessary to serve the future economy will in part be dependent on quality of life in the region.

    • A sufficient supply of employment land with efficient access to markets will help support economic growth in the region.


    The draft plan includes objectives to diversify the economy in the Calgary Metro Region, providing an effective transportation network, ensuring adequate suitable land for emerging market demand, recommends creating a regional economic development plan, and collaborating among municipalities and with industry partners.


    To read more about economic wellbeing in the draft plan, including how agricultural economy and other forms of economic development can be balanced, check out section 3.2 of the draft Regional Growth Plan. You may also be interested in section 2.4.2, which talks about employment trends and driver industries for the future of the Calgary Metro Region.


    Please visit the Discussion Forum about the potential benefits and drawbacks of the draft plan for the business community in the Calgary Metro Region to share your thoughts on the choices and objectives in the draft plan.

    What does the draft plan say about environmentally responsible land use?

    A key goal of the draft Regional Growth Plan is to reduce the footprint of new development in order to protect the natural systems which play an important role in the region. Addressing cumulative effects and protecting and enhancing the natural environment and ecosystems are drivers behind many of the choices included in the draft plan.


    We recognize our responsibility to reduce our impact on the climate, while preparing for the impacts of climate change and other natural and man-made hazards. Steps to create a more sustainable and resilient region will help protect our communities and create a more stable foundation for the region to prosper now and into the future. The draft plan seeks to help reduce our impact on the environment; achieving reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, land consumption, impervious cover, and water demand.


    Two key policy areas in the draft plan that relate to environmentally responsible land use are about flood prone areas and Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs). See sections 3.3.1 and 3.3.2, respectively, of the draft Regional Growth Plan to learn more about how the draft plan addresses flood prone areas and ESAs.


    Please also visit the Discussion Forum about the potential benefits and drawbacks of the draft plan for the environment in the Calgary Metro Region to share your thoughts on the choices and objectives in the draft plan.

    What does the draft plan say about regional transportation?

    Future regional transportation planning is considered in more detail in policies and actions related to Shared Services Optimization. This will be further addressed in the Servicing Plan that accompanies the Regional Growth Plan. 


    The draft growth plan does, however, recognize that regional transportation plans should do the following:


    • Identify strategies to minimize the effects of commuter congestion on important goods movement and trade routes;

    • Identify a network of priority routes for regional goods movement, linking key hubs such as intermodal facilities and the Calgary International Airport with an emphasis on reliability; and

    • Protect the integrity of major goods movement routes by coordinating adjacent land use planning with the provision of adequate truck accessibility.

    What is the mandate of the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB)?

    The CMRB’s mandate is defined in the Municipal Government Act (Alberta Regulation 190/2017).

    The Calgary Metropolitan Region Board supports the long term sustainability of the Calgary

    Metropolitan Region by:

    • Ensuring environmentally responsible land-use planning, growth management and efficient use of land;
    • Developing policies regarding the coordination of regional infrastructure investment and service delivery;
    • Promoting the economic wellbeing and competitiveness of the Calgary Metro Region; and
    • Developing policies outlining how the Board shall engage the public in consultation.

    Click here to view the Regulation.

    How is the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB) working with Indigenous Nations and communities?

    There are two First Nations within the Calgary Metro Region (Tsuut’ina Nation and Stoney Nakoda First Nations) and one First Nation that is right beside the region’s boundary (Siksika Nation). Since mid-2019, the CMRB has been reaching out to local First Nations to better understand the unique experiences and interests of the Indigenous Nations and communities in the region. 


    These initial meetings have been the start of what the CMRB hopes will be strengthened and mutually beneficial relationships among Indigenous and all peoples in the Calgary Metro Region. By understanding the unique interests of the diverse Indigenous Nations and communities in the region, the CMRB is better able to engage with these Nations and communities in meaningful ways.


    To further its own knowledge and understanding, the CMRB’s member municipalities will also undertake a series of workshops in June 2021 with Indigenous and settler facilitators and speakers.

    Who is the part of the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB)?

    The Calgary Metropolitan Region Board is a government corporation made up of elected officials from each of the Region’s 10 member municipalities:

    • Airdrie 
    • Calgary 
    • Chestermere 
    • Cochrane 
    • Foothills County 
    • High River 
    • Okotoks 
    • Rocky View County 
    • Strathmore 
    • Wheatland County (portion)


    From Phase 2 - How was public input used in the development of the proposed approach?

    In the first phase of public engagement, we offered a number of ways for community members to tell us what matters to you in planning for the next million residents to come to the Calgary Metro Region. A full “What We Heard” report will be made available, but the key themes that we heard from the public that informed the proposed approach are listed below:

    • Create more density and decrease sprawl

    • Work with what we have

    • Maintain choice and diversity of options for residents

    • Transit that is well-planned and affordable

    • Stronger collaboration between municipalities while maintaining autonomy

    • Consider environmental implications of development

    • Provide guidelines for developers 

    • Leverage regional scope to promote economic development

    In the Discussion Forum topics, we describe how different elements of the proposed approach reflect key themes from the first phase of public engagement. 

    From Phase 2 - Why should we approach growth differently than we have in the past?

    In the first phase of public engagement, we heard that members of the Calgary Metro Region community want us to manage growth differently than we have in the past. Citizens want to see us grow differently to decrease environmental impact, decrease costs associated with urban sprawl, support vibrant communities, and be generally more efficient with our resources.

    The proposed approach included in this phase of public engagement combines elements of the scenarios that were shared in phase 1 of public engagement, with the most contribution from what was Scenario 3 (Transit Oriented Development or TOD). 

    Based on the analysis of Scenario 3 - TOD against growing the way we always have (Scenario 1 - Business As Usual), we expect to see a number of economic and environmental benefits for our region, shown below. 

    Please fill out the Survey to tell us which of these benefits matter most to you!

    From Phase 2 - What is the proposed approach for managing growth in the Calgary Metro Region?

    Leading regional planning expert Peter Calthorpe and the team at HDR|Calthorpe recommends the proposed approach, which applies a core belief that successful places – whether neighbourhoods, towns, urban districts or metropolitan regions – must be diverse in uses and users, must be scaled to the pedestrian and human interaction, and must be environmentally sustainable. 

    These values were matched with input from the public and municipal administration to arrive at a proposed approach that has three key characteristics: Place Type Allocation, Transit-Ready Corridors, and Joint Planning Areas.

    PLACE TYPE ALLOCATION

    The proposed approach includes a recommended mix of “place types” for each municipality. Each “place type” reflects a variety of buildings, streets, and amenities, and represents a different type of development with different levels of density for residential and employment use.

    “Place types” replaces the more traditional planning focus on density as the key metric for understanding how land should develop. Unlike density, “place types” provide a sense of the quality and experience, and include consideration for both people and jobs.

    The chart below shows the different mix of “place types” that are being proposed. The Regional Growth Plan will help provide direction to municipalities about what can be built, but detailed planning about land uses and location of development will remain the responsibility of each member municipality. The Regional Growth Plan will identify a “place type” allocation for each municipality that will guide land use and development decisions made at the municipal level.

    Visit the Discussion Forum to learn more about the mix of different “place types” that are being proposed, and tell us how your way of life and community would be affected by the proposed increase or decrease of place types in the Calgary Metro Region.

    TRANSIT-READY CORRIDORS

    The proposed approach includes identifying Transit-Ready Corridors supported by higher density development known as Transit Oriented Development (TOD). The first phase of public engagement included a strong interest in planning for and investing in effective and affordable regional transit options. The proposed approach identifies three major Transit-Ready Corridors that cross municipal boundaries (see map).

    By identifying areas for potential future investment in regional transit, the proposed approach encourages municipalities to plan for development with transit in mind. The proposed approach also encourages those municipalities in which Transit-Ready corridors are identified to work together to coordinate planning, investment, and development. 

    JOINT PLANNING AREAS

    The proposed approach recognizes that there are some parts of the Region where municipalities have overlapping interests, such as areas for key transit or industrial development. The proposed approach identifies three “Joint Planning Areas” that encourage municipalities with common interests to work together in sub-regional groups. 

    Specifically, the proposed approach identifies the following sub-regional groupings:

    • Airdrie - Rocky View County - Calgary

    • Calgary - Rocky View County - Chestermere; and

    • High River - Foothills - Okotoks (existing partnership)

    Having proposed Joint Planning Areas, or sub-regional collaboration areas, would be new for some areas of the Calgary Metro Region. Please take the Survey to let us know if you think this is a valuable part of the proposed approach to manage growth in the Region.

    From Phase 2 - What does “infill development” or “higher density development” mean?

    Infill and higher density can mean many things.

    Infill means redeveloping existing areas with new housing and employment. The East Village in Calgary is an example of infill. But replacing a single family home with a duplex is also infill. 

    Infill can happen in both urban and rural contexts. The Watermark development in the community of Bearspaw is an example of infill development in a rural setting. It could also be considered infill when a 20-acre parcel of land is subdivided into five 4-acre parcels.

    Higher density for transit-oriented development means a mix of townhouses and smaller-lot single family homes. Transit-oriented development does not need to be the 25-storey condominium towers we see in Vancouver.

    From Phase 2 - What are "place types"?

    The proposed approach includes a recommended mix of “place types” for each municipality. Each “place type” reflects a variety of buildings, streets, and amenities, and represents a different type of development with different levels of density for residential and employment use. 

    “Place types” replaces the more traditional planning focus on density as the key metric for understanding how land should develop. “Place types” provide a sense of the quality and experience, and include consideration for both people and jobs. The six “place types” that are considered in the proposed approach are described below:

    City and Town Centre or Transit Oriented Development (TOD)

    This “place type” is characterized by medium-density mixed use development with many day-to-day services within walking distance. These areas have a variety of housing types, employment types, and retail land uses within them. New growth in these areas create value while minimizing associated congestion, environmental, and infrastructure impacts. They are designed to create a sense of place and encourage a vibrant pedestrian environment.

     

     Masterplanned Community

    The masterplanned community “place type” is characterized by its comprehensive and integrated approach to land use. This “place type” is often designed so residents have retail, commercial, civic, and recreational amenities conveniently located within a short walk of their homes. It is generally designed to emphasize sustainability, community, and convenience to live, work, shop, and play within the masterplanned community.

     

    Residential Subdivision

    The Residential Subdivision “place type” category represents areas that are predominantly residential and mostly in suburban locations often on the urban edge. Single family homes are the dominant housing type with other housing types sometimes included. This “place type” is generally auto oriented as the development pattern allows few shopping, employment, and open space destinations to be conveniently made via walking or biking. 

     

    Country Residential

    The traditional Country Residential “place type” is characterized by its larger lot sizes (often acreages), low density, and single-family detached housing type. The “place type” is located in rural and suburban areas. 

     

    Office Commercial

    The Office Commercial “place type” is characterized as an area with stand-alone office buildings. This “place type” is typically separated from adjacent uses although it can be located next to residential areas. This “place type” is an employment centre with supporting uses for workers such as food and business retail uses. There are usually no residential land uses in this “place type”.

     

    Industrial

    The Industrial “place type” is characterized by a variety of non-residential, industrial, and commercial land uses. This “place type” includes warehousing and manufacturing uses. There are no residential land uses in this “place type”.

    From Phase 2 - What does a Regional Growth Plan do and what does it not do?

    A Regional Growth Plan builds a framework to help municipalities in the region work together. It includes policy to guide coordinated growth. 

    It does not replace local planning or the authority of individual municipalities to make decisions that consider the needs of local residents and businesses.

    From Phase 1 - How will my input be used to develop the Regional Growth Plan?

    The Quick Poll, Discussion Forum, and Survey questions on this website are asking you to share your priorities and values related to choices for how we approach growth in the Calgary Metro Region. The answers you provide directly relate to specific choices that might be made about growth, like higher density, transit-oriented development, and land use.

    We believe that the Calgary Metro Region is a great place to live, work, and play. We’re trying to uncover common values from residents across the region so that we make informed choices about growth that reflect the values and priorities of our communities.

    The values and priorities shared through this public engagement process will be used by the CMRB to help choose an approach to regional growth as we welcome the next million people to the Calgary Metro Region. 

    From Phase 1 - What is a "scenario"? Will you end up picking one of the three proposed scenarios?

    The scenarios show different results that might happen if we make different choices about how to approach growth in the region.

    The scenarios are not options and we don't need to pick just one. 

    We're asking you to help us understand what parts of the different scenarios you like and what you don't like so that we can make choices that reflect the priorities and interests unique to our communities in the Calgary Metro Region. This feedback will help us to pick parts from each of the scenarios to develop the best plan for the Calgary Metro Region.

    From Phase 1 - What choices are reflected in Scenario 1 (Business-As-Usual)?

    Scenario 1 shows how growth would happen if today’s mix of land uses and densities continue, and there is no major expansion of transit in the region. 

    Scenario 1 illustrates what may happen if we keep doing what we've been doing.

    From Phase 1 - What choices are reflected in Scenario 2 (Compact)?

    Scenario 2 shows how growth would happen if much more of our future growth is infill development, creating higher density development, particularly in urban centres like Calgary.

    The choices reflected in Scenario 2 are about aggressive higher density development in key urban areas, and minimal new development in areas of the region that aren’t currently developed.

    From Phase 1 - What choices are reflected in Scenario 3 (Transit-Oriented Development)?

    Scenario 3 shows how growth could happen in higher density clusters around future transit stations and city or town centres. This scenario would require major regional transit extensions (bus rapid transit or light rail transit) to Airdrie, Chestermere, Cochrane and Rocky View County. 

    The choices reflected in Scenario 3 are about spreading higher density development out across expanded transit networks in the region.