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Centre City Guidebook


The City is in the process of creating guidebooks that set out a framework for development and common policies to guide growth and change for developed areas in Calgary. The Centre City Guidebook is one of a set of three guidebooks envisioned for the Municipal Development Plan (MDP). The proposed Centre City Guidebook will join the New Community Guidebook that was adopted in 2014 and is intended to be followed by a Developed Areas Guidebook which will apply to the remainder of developed areas outside the Centre City.  The guidebook approach is intended to streamline policy, reduce repetition, and establish the basic building blocks for neighbourhood development. It is intended to be the starting point for new local area plans or plans undergoing significant amendment.

The Centre City Guidebook implements the vision for the Centre City - a vibrant and livable community with mixed-use neighbourhoods surrounding a thriving Downtown commercial core and with amenities and services to meet the daily needs of residents, workers and visitors. By providing a consistent framework for how the Centre City is planned and developed, the Centre City Guidebook establishes a policy foundation that supports mixed-use development, communicates clear expectations, and acknowledges the flexibility needed to achieve The City’s corporate policy objectives within high density areas.

Policies in the proposed Centre City Guidebook build on MDP objectives and Council direction for the Centre City. It is comprised largely of approved Council policies that have been consolidated from existing local area plans, including the Beltline Area Redevelopment Plan, East Village Area Redevelopment Plan and Centre City Plan. Where new policy is included, the intent is to improve policy alignment city-wide or advance corporate policy direction at the community level.

Centre city map


The Centre City Guidebook is being created to update and streamline content across policy documents. By using plain language and a common policy approach, this guidebook will provide clear and consistent policy direction. This allows local area plans to focus on neighbourhood-specific issues and opportunities. Read together with an Area Redevelopment Plan, these two documents provide comprehensive policy direction for each Centre City neighbourhood.

Centre City Guidebook – sets out the land use framework and common policies to minimize repetition and ensure consistency for Centre City neighbourhoods. Policies for land use categories and building blocks are outlined in the guidebook and will be implemented through an area redevelopment plan.

Area Redevelopment Plan – outlines neighbourhood-specific policies for items like high streets and open spaces. A local area planning exercise will describe how land use categories and building blocks area arranged in a neighbourhood to achieve specific goals and objectives outlined in an area redevelopment plan. 

Once approved, the Centre City Guidebook will form Volume 2, Part 2 of the MDP and it will apply to areas where a local area plan states that it does. Development applications will be evaluated against the Municipal Development Plan, the Centre City Guidebook (MDP, Volume 2 Part 2), the respective area redevelopment plan and applicable land use district. Projects that have already been approved will not be retroactively affected.


Date Activity
December 2014 to Fall 2015 Review of citizen and stakeholder input, and development of the draft Centre City Guidebook.
Spring 2016 Draft Centre City Guidebook available online for review.
November 22, 2016 Proposed Centre City Guidebook available online for review.
December 15, 2016 Proposed Centre City Guidebook presented to Calgary Planning Commission.
February 13, 2017* Proposed Centre City Guidebook presented​​ to City Council. 
*Date may be subject to change.

Supporting Documents


Juliet Pitts
Planner, Community Planning