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Edmonton’s appreciation for quality infill design is growing and we want you to be a part of it.

Five City of Edmonton-owned parcels of land at the northeast corner of 112 Avenue and 106 Street in the Spruce Avenue neighbourhood are up for redevelopment.

The City is soliciting proposals from multidisciplinary teams of architects and builders/developers from across Canada and abroad to design a mid-density, multi-unit housing development on these lots.

This type of medium scale housing, which falls between single family homes and high-rises, is commonly referred to as the ‘missing middle’ because it has been largely absent from Edmonton’s urban streetscapes. 
The challenge is to submit an innovative design that is not only thoughtful of neighbourhood context, but also economically feasible, responds to local market conditions and advances the design ethic for infill in Edmonton.

The winning team will be given the opportunity to purchase the site and build their winning design, conditional upon rezoning approval.

A new City Plan is underway to articulate Edmonton’s future growth strategy for 2 million people. A big part of this change will be about increasing housing choices, particularly how we can welcome more people into our older neighbourhoods by integrating more housing in the ‘missing middle' range.

The competition is part of Edmonton Infill Roadmap 2018 Action 5: Partner to pilot innovative housing. The finished development from this competition will be used to help inspire what’s possible for ‘missing middle’ housing in other parts of the city.

The 2019 competition is endorsed by the Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) and submissions will be judged by an esteemed National Jury Panel.

What is 'Missing Middle' Housing?

The term 'missing middle' refers to multi-unit housing that falls between single detached homes and tall apartment buildings. It includes row housing, triplexes/fourplexes, courtyard housing and walk-up apartments.

These housing forms are considered “missing” because they have been largely absent from urban streetscapes in Canada, including Edmonton.

Encouraging this type of housing is essential for welcoming new people and homes into older neighbourhoods and creating complete communities with a variety housing options for people at every stage of life and income level.

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Get to Know Edmonton

History and Demographics

The City of Edmonton was incorporated in 1904 and became the capital of Alberta in 1905 when the province entered Confederation. From the 1910s through the 1930s, growth in the economy supported an influx in population and development.

During this stage of development, Edmonton began operation of the first licensed airfield in Canada, creating a major distribution base for goods and services sent to Northern Canada and establishing Edmonton as the “Gateway to the North.”

The 1940s and 1950s saw a boom in Alberta oil development, with the first major oil discovery near the town of Leduc, just minutes from the City of Edmonton. With another oil boom in the 1970s and 1980s, Edmonton’s new status as the “Oil Capital of Canada” helped to further increase the City’s population growth and development. 

In recent years, the City of Edmonton has seen rapid development and redevelopment, with new residential developments established along the City’s periphery, and a number of new commercial and residential projects developing in the core and mature neighbourhoods.

As the provincial capital, Edmonton houses a large number of public sector employees. It has 2 universities, a number of colleges, and a technical school that is the largest apprenticeship trainer in Canada. Edmonton has a young population and continues to grow at a rate above the Canadian average, with a population expected to exceed 1 million by 2024.

Climate in Edmonton

Edmonton is the northernmost metropolitan area in Canada and experiences extreme seasonal temperature variations. While summers can exceed 30 degrees Celsius, winters commonly drop below -20 degrees Celsius for extended periods. Winter can last between 6 and 7 months, beginning in mid-to late October and extending into April.

Given Edmonton’s high latitude, daylight varies greatly from season to season. At summer solstice, Edmonton gets over 17 hours of sunlight, but winter solstice sees only 7.5 hours.

Building design and construction must be responsive to the large role that the unique climate and extreme weather conditions play in the lives of Edmontonians. Through a recent City Council approved WinterCity Strategy, Edmontonians are looking to reclaim the joy of winter and embrace the season and its wonder.

Scientists predict that Edmonton will be exposed to higher temperatures, drier summers, more extreme precipitation events, more variable and severe extreme weather events, and an overall warmer and drier climate.

It is important to note that, even though temperatures are expected to increase and minimum temperatures may not be as cold as previously experienced or occur as often, Edmonton will continue to experience periods of cold weather, and will still experience the typical extreme seasonal temperature variations. Learn more about Edmonton’s current and future climate.

Infill in Edmonton

Infill isn’t new to Edmonton, but it’s seen a massive increase in popularity in recent years. At the City of Edmonton, we want to make sure it’s done in a way that’s best for our city, both today and in the future.

In 2013, we launched a project called Evolving Infill. From this, we created our Infill Roadmap: 23 actions that comprise the City’s work plan for advancing infill development. Today, most of that Roadmap has been completed, but there’s still more to do.

In July 2018, we adopted Infill Roadmap 2018, which contains a set of 25 more actions to enable and encourage infill, and welcome more people and new homes into Edmonton’s older neighbourhoods. The Infill Roadmap 2018 takes a more strategic focus on the "missing middle" - multi-unit, medium-density housing such as row housing, courtyard housing and low-rise apartments.

In the coming years, we envision an Edmonton where neighbourhoods and builders collaborate to unveil the infills of tomorrow: sustainable homes, built through smart design, that bring our established communities even closer together. We’re excited to see how the design innovations and best practices that come out of this competition will improve the quality of infill development in Edmonton.

Spruce Avenue Neighbourhood

Why Spruce Avenue?

Spruce Avenue is a neighbourhood poised for redevelopment, as infill continues to grow and medium-density continues to be advanced throughout the area, along with consistent regeneration of amenities, services and community space.

The City of Edmonton’s plans and policies have envisioned and enabled the area as an increasingly walkable place, with access to LRT and meaningful destinations, like the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), the Royal Alexandra Hospital and Kingsway Mall. A multi-unit housing proposal, selected through the Missing Middle Infill Design Competition, will add to a growing list of investments occurring in the neighbourhood, from streetscape renewal to the $354 million expansion of the CapitalCare Norwood Centre to the 30,000-unit net-zero housing development project, Blatchford, less than 500 metres away. 

The property in Spruce Avenue was chosen due to its sufficient size, location, proximity to transit and other services/amenities and developability ー after reviewing and comparing it to thousands of City of Edmonton properties. It has been deemed as surplus land by the City of Edmonton, is well-serviced, and has been determined as immediately sellable “as is” by the City of Edmonton’s Real Estate Advisory Committee. While the market prospects, as predicted by the City of Edmonton, are indeed excellent (e.g. residential condo and townhome median assessed values have increased by more than 4% compared to the city-average, -2.8%), it is the existing community-at-large that have actively endorsed the Missing Middle Infill Design Competition, welcoming positive change and growth in their neighbourhood. Spruce Avenue is ready for transformation ー are you in?

View the Spruce Avenue community profile, history and context analysis for more information on the neighbourhood.

Competition History

Launched in 2016, the Edmonton Infill Design Competition provides an opportunity to encourage productive conversations about infill, help the public and development community envision what’s possible for infill design, and inspire builders and architects to create out of the box designs that enrich our city.

The competition’s overarching goal is to showcase improved aesthetics of the community and how good designs can bring neighbours together.

The 2016 competition sought ideas for low-density residential infill on a hypothetical site, showing how infill could add to the character of our mature and established neighbourhoods.

The 2019 competition focuses on demonstrating how medium-density 'missing middle' housing can be not only thoughtful of neighbourhood context, but also economically feasible, respond to local market conditions and advance the design ethic for infill in Edmonton

A new City Plan is underway to articulate Edmonton’s future growth strategy for 2 million people.

As we grow into a city of over 1 million people and towards a metropolitan centre of 2 million, we must contemplate the kind of urban places that are needed for us to stay prosperous, healthy and climate resilient.

A big part of this change will be about increasing housing choices, particularly how we can welcome more people into our older neighbourhoods by integrating more housing in the ‘missing middle' range.

The 2019 competition is an opportunity to test innovative new 'missing middle' housing forms that will be integral to the future of Edmonton. We are excited to see what builders, developers and architects come up with together, pushing the envelope for design and building creativity.

Competition Adjudication

Judging will take place in 2 stages: a preliminary review by the Technical Committee and a final review by the National Jury, as outlined in the Competition Brief.

View the Spruce Avenue community profile, history and context analysis for more information on the neighbourhood.

The 'Missing Middle' Infill Design Competition criteria were created and supported by the Spruce Avenue Community League and Spruce Avenue residents.

View the submissions and winning entries from the 2016 competition.

For More Information




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