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Urban Design inspires and facilitates a city of progressive design to help shape Edmonton's physical form. We promote the value of good design through education, influence and acknowledgement.

The mission of the City's Urban Design unit is to advocate and influence. We aim to promote good urban design practices by creating visioning and providing expertise to other disciplines and city departments.

What is Urban Design?

Urban design lies somewhere between the broad-brush abstractions of planning and the concrete specifics of architecture. It implies a notion of citizenship: life in the public realm. Urban Design deals with the human experience of outdoor spaces within the city, including:

  • Spaces enclosed between building facades
  • The building interface with the street
  • Public open space (streets, parks and public plazas)
  • Arrangement of places and their buildings, and urban form

Urban Design addresses the character of these environments and outdoor spaces. Human scale, urban context and connectivity are key considerations of the urban design practice. Our individual perspective and scale defines how we experience these places within their surrounding context.

Urban Design operates at many scales. This includes macro scale, district and neighbourhood scale, and micro scale. Macro scale addresses regional and city structure planning, city-wide transportation and infrastructure planning. In contrast, micro scale deals with street level elements. This includes streetscapes, street furniture, lighting and pedestrian access. District and neighbourhood scale addresses the in between, including:

  • Neighbourhood structure plans
  • Road grids and block sizes
  • Green space
  • Public access to amenities, shopping and transportation

These different scales allow for more flexibility. Implementations can thus be made at various phases during the building process. 

Benefits of good Urban Design

Urban Design helps create vibrant and attractive places for people to enjoy every day. This includes aesthetics, but also includes building useful spaces for people to interact with.

This is achieved by creating pedestrian-friendly, walkable streets and public spaces. As a result, this helps reduce car dependency and encourages residences to walk or use public transportation. In turn, this helps improve people's health, reduces environmental impact and improves sustainability.

What do we do?

"Urban Design inspires and facilitates a city of progressive design to help shape Edmonton's physical form. We promote the value of good design through education, influence and acknowledgement." - 2014 Branch Business Plan, Urban Planning and Environment.

Our team collaborates with professionals within all departments of the City, to envision workshops and review designs. We provide design review of city master planning studies and developments, such as Rossdale and Blatchford. We review area structure plans, area redevelopment plans and major land development applications.

As a team, we develop design guidelines and regulations which help to improve our City. We suggest best practice approaches to public space improvements, and have a vision to promote great spaces for people.

We are also involved in concept design of streetscape improvement projects, in partnership with Road Design and Construction branch and the Office of Great Neighbourhoods. 

Recognizing individuals, organizations, firms and projects that have contributed to urban design and the quality of life in Edmonton.

Designing to improve this busy stretch of public space.
CITYlab supports and creates small, temporary projects, activities and events to test new planning ideas and advance the conversation around urban planning in Edmonton.
Developing a comprehensive vision for Edmonton's Main Street to direct the design of improvements and upgrades.

The report identifies placemaking gaps and opportunities for within the neighbourhoods.

Urban Design Framework

Elevating the practice of urban design in Edmonton.

For More Information

Urban Design




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