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

2019 Infill Design Winning Entries

Check out the overall 2019 Infill Design Competition winner and the Peoples' Choice winner.

Endorsed by the Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) , the competition drew 30 proposals from teams of architects and builders/developers from across Canada and as far away as London, UK. Their task: design a multi-unit, ‘missing middle’ housing development that was not only thoughtful of neighbourhood context, but also economically feasible and well-designed to work in Edmonton.

An esteemed National Jury Panel from across Canada reviewed the proposals and awarded first, second and third place honours to the top finalists. The winning team has acquired the right to purchase five parcels of City-owned land at the northeast corner of 112 Avenue and 106 Street in the Spruce Avenue neighbourhood and build their winning design, subject to rezoning approval.

The Infill Design Competition is one of many ways the City is working to help encourage more and better infill in Edmonton. The competition is part of action five on the Edmonton Infill Roadmap 2018, the City of Edmonton’s work plan for welcoming more people and homes into Edmonton’s older neighbourhoods to help keep these neighbourhoods vibrant and healthy.

The City Plan, which will be completed in 2020, will set out the choices that will help our city grow to a city of two million people, and reach the goal of creating vibrant urban communities. A big part of reaching this goal will involve increasing housing choices, particularly how we can integrate more housing in the ‘missing middle' range.

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

Infill in Edmonton

Over the last forty years societal and economic challenges have driven people away from core and mature neighbourhoods to settle on suburban fringes. This slow loss of people in central neighbourhoods has cost Canadian cities billions in new infrastructure and servicing.  However, this shift in population has also inspired many municipalities, including Edmonton, to develop strategies to curb urban sprawl and nurture a more compact urban form.  

In 2013, the City launched a project called Evolving Infill that engaged more than 3,000 Edmontonians. From this engagement, the City created its first Infill Roadmap: 23 actions that comprised the City’s work plan for advancing more infill development within close proximity to quality public transit, amenities and services.

This plan undertook significant regulatory and policy changes to help enable and encourage more affordable, diverse, and well-designed housing in Edmonton's older neighbourhoods. Today, most of that Roadmap has been completed, but there’s still more to do.

In July 2018, the City adopted Infill Roadmap 2018, which contains a set of 25 more actions to 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.

The City Plan, which will be completed in 2020, will set out the choices that will help our city grow to a city of two million people, and reach the goal of creating vibrant urban communities. A big part of reaching this goal will involve increasing housing choices, particularly how we can integrate more housing in this ‘missing middle' range.

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.

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.

Competition History

Infill development isn't new to Edmonton, but it has seen a surge in popularity in recent years.  This increase in infill development has sparked significant discussion around the look of new housing and how it fits within existing neighbourhoods.

Launched in 2016, the Edmonton Infill Design Competition provides an opportunity to encourage productive conversations about these questions and help the public and development community envision what's possible for infill design. 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. This year's competition turned its gaze to medium density, or 'missing middle', housing and how to make it both economically feasible and well-designed to work in Edmonton. As the initiative advanced, what was most interesting was the relationships that formed between builders, developers and architects, and the proposals they came up with together that push the envelope for design and building creativity.  

This year's competition also shifted from an ideas competition to a design-build competition, with the winning team has acquiring the right to purchase five parcels of City owned land in Spruce Avenue and build their winning design (conditional on rezoning approval). The finished development will be used to help inspire what's possible for 'missing middle' housing in other parts of Edmonton.

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.
 

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 winning entries from the 2019 competition.

For More Information

Telephone

311

Email edmontoninfilldesign@edmonton.ca

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