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Unimplemented Urban Design Plans-Award of Merit

Architect: ONPA Architects
Landscape Architect: EIDOS Consultants Inc.
Designer: Jessica Roder, Dana Bao, Daryl Procinsky, Darren Radbourne, Ernst von Meijenfeldt
Artist: Darren Radbourne
Project owner: City of Edmonton

Location: The Quarters area extends east from 97 Street to 92 Street, and south from 103A Avenue to the top of the river valley (approximately 40 hectares or 100 acres). It currently houses about 2,400 residents and has abundant room for growth and redevelopment to accommodate up to 20,000 people.

Project Description

The Quarters Downtown will be made up of five distinct districts or precincts. There will be four “quarters” each having their own unique character and design; at the centre of The Quarters will be a linear park corridor known as The Armature.

The City of Edmonton’s vision for The Quarters is a neighbourhood that is well-connected to the downtown core and river valley, yet has a distinct image that identifies it as a unique place in the city. Streets are improved with limited through traffic, making the streets safe and inviting for pedestrians and bicyclists. Large city blocks are broken into smaller, more inviting and walkable pieces. Activity abounds.

There is a mix of parks, shops, employment, services, and housing. There is a diversity of ages, incomes, and cultures. Open space is surrounded by businesses and housing, creating a safe and inviting amenity year round. The Quarters is a place where community is important and pride and investment in the neighbourhood is evident.

Community density is the key to success in the Quarters for small service business longevity, with lively, safe streets.
Innovative strategies to initiate development include: density enhancement, building and streetscape greening development, energy solutions, source resource use reduction, accelerated permitting, infrastructure improvement, community enhancement rezoning, and carefully integrated landscape inspirations. 

Over the next 15-20 years the area will be transformed into a vibrant, diverse and inclusive community that is well connected to the central business and cultural district as well as the river valley. Once completed, The Quarters Downtown will be an environmentally-sustainable, walkable, diverse community with appealing design, inclusive housing, and green spaces.

Jury’s Comments

  • The project is compelling in its scale, vision and use of green space as a connector. This is a huge step forward for Edmonton’s Downtown East. 
  • Green spaces are used as a connector on a traditional grid.  Nicely done.
  • This is a visionary plan. As the redevelopment proceeds, it may be helpful to specifically identify heritage properties and areas on a plan.
  • The awkward intersection with Jasper Avenue is dealt with nicely in this project.
  • Better illustrations for the existing context and the proposed interventions could have helped the jury review process.

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