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Developed Areas Guidebook

The Developed Areas Guidebook (Guidebook) is an important tool for Calgary to realize Municipal Development Plan (MDP) goals for community building in the Developed Areas. The purpose of the document is to guide local area planning by establishing a land use framework, expressed through building blocks, and by consolidating common local area planning policy into a single-source document. The goal is to establish a consistent planning approach for the developed areas, while enabling local area plans to be more concise and community specific.

Current work

Administration is working on the Guidebook in a number of policy areas to ensure that the document is user-friendly and provides guidance for redevelopment in Developed Areas Communities.  Proposed amendments that support on-going local area planning work will be presented to Council at a Public Hearing of Council on 10 December 2018.  Additional work has been identified to further improve the Guidebook in alignment with on-going planning initiatives, and to provide a Guidebook that is effective and applicable throughout all communities in the Developed Areas. 
Proposed amendments going forward to Council on 10 December 2018 include:

  • A new building block, Employment – Industrial Flex to support light industrial, residential and commercial uses together.  This block is being implemented and tested through the proposed Chinook Station Area Redevelopment Plan;
  • Proposed amendments to heritage policies to provide additional guidance to local area plans for heritage preservation;
  • Amendment to Policy 9.2.3 (b) (ii) of the Guidebook to indicate that the Guidebook prevails when there is a conflict with policy in a local area plan.  Local area plans and the Guidebook should be in alignment, and in the rare event that a conflict is identified, the Guidebook policy will prevail;
  • The addition of the R-CG land use district to the Neighbourhood – Low-Rise building block, and the M-CG land use district to the Neighbourhood – Limited building block within Table 4 of the Guidebook (appendix section that is non-statutory).

More significant changes to the Guidebook are being considered than were originally anticipated following the approval of the Guidebook in 2017.  Work on the Guidebook completed to-date is represented in the Developed Areas Guidebook, Draft: For Information and this document will be further amended and used to engage with stakeholders.  Additional work includes:

  • Document structure, policy clarity, and plain language – the document will be further re-structured to provide guidance for local area plans and common policy, and policies will be refined to provide clarity and plain language;
  • Land use and built form – the document will be further refined to amend the building blocks to provide the right level of policy guidance around transition, interface, streetscape environments, locational guidance, characteristics, height parameters, infill/R-CG guidance, building form, and building block names.  In addition, heritage incentive policies will be refined;
  • Urban design – refinement of policies will ensure that the right level of guidance is provided to address the developed areas context;
  • Parking and mobility – refinement of policies will ensure that guidance is provided on consideration of parking assets in a community during the local area planning stage;
  • Administration will explore the application of the Guidebook throughout all communities in the Developed Areas to enable the Guidebook to be as effective as possible in guiding redevelopment; and
  • Align with on-going City initiatives that includes the Local Area Plan Strategy, Infill and R-CG Development, Established Areas Growth and Change Strategy, the Cultural Plan, the Indigenous Policy, and the Climate Resilience Strategy.

This additional work will be subject to a comprehensive engagement strategy.  More details will be forthcoming in the Fall of 2018, and will be outlined below under “Engagement”.


Phase 1 Engagement (up to September 2018)

Targeted in-person engagement is now complete. Administration met with communities already experiencing change as a result of the Guidebooks to get a better understanding of the impacts:

  • Altadore/South Calgary ARP Information Session: April 19, 2017
  • Rundle Station Master Plan Charette and Open House: July 22 and November 1, 2017
  • Inglewood Ramsay Open House: May 7, 2018
  • Millican/Ogden Open house: May 10, 2018
  • South Hill Information Session: May 10, 2018
  • Chinook (Online): April
  • Bridgeland Riverside CAG Meeting presentation, Open house, CAG meetings: January - June 2018
  • Marda Loop/South Calgary (MS) Streetscape information session and Building Block workshop: June 7, 2017 and February 26, May 8, May 10 and May 12, 2018
  • Bowness (MS) Building block workshop, Open house: April 16 and June 11
  • SE 17 International Ave Land Use Information Café: November 29, 2017
  • Killarney Workshop: April 24, 2018
  • Anderson Station: Email circulation

The information presented for feedback at the in-person engagement sessions noted above can view the boards or provide input via the online engagement link above.

At the 2017 April 10 Combined Meeting of Council, direction was given to administration to return to Calgary Planning Commission, no later than Q3, 2018 with a report regarding the implementation of the Guidebook, with amendments as identified through consultations with Stakeholders, Calgary Planning Commission and pilot communities.


The Developed Areas Guidebook is part of the Municipal Development Plan (MDP). It is the tool that helps create a local area plan, and provides consistent guidance for development and redevelopment in developed communities. It is a how-to guide to be used in the creation of future local area plans, creating consistency in the approach, interpretation and application of common policy across the Developed Areas.

The guidebook facilitates efficiency in the process of creating local area plans, as many of the issues that come up in local area plans are the same – so the guidebook contains these policies in one guiding document. This allows the local area plans to focus on the unique, local area policies developed and contained in the local area plan that cannot be broadly applied to all areas.

The Developed Areas Guidebook is one of three guidebooks that help implement the broad vision of the Municipal Development Plan (MDP). The Developed Areas Guidebook is intended to provide consistent guidance for development and redevelopment, and be used to help create consistency in the Local Area Plan processes.


  • February to April 2018 – Researching, Collaborating, and Drafting Policies
  • May to June – Public Engagement, Targeted on specific aspects of new policies
  • July 30 – Amendments to the Guidebook Document Finalized
  • September 20 – Calgary Planning Commission Report
  • October 1 - Standing Policy Committee on Planning and Urban Development
  • December 10 – Council Public Hearing

Developed Area

The developed areas encompass both the inner city (neighbourhoods developed prior to the 1950s) and the established areas (neighbourhoods built out between the 1950s and 1990s).



Work on the Developed Areas Guidebook began in January 2016, in partnership with the new mixed-use districts and the Green Line and Main Streets community planning teams. City Council adopted the guidebook on April 10, 2017, both CPC and Council supported the Developed Areas Guidebook unanimously.

New districts were also created as part of this process to help implement a better mix of uses and to ensure retail requirements where needed.

It is one of two guidebooks for the Calgary areas that already have established neighbourhoods; the second is the Centre City Guidebook, specific to the communities in the Centre City neighbourhoods and downtown core. The Developed Areas Guidebook is intended to be read in combination with a Local Area Plan.

Related documents


Robyn Jamieson, Senior Planner
Planning & Development

David Galoska, Senior Planner
Planning & Development

For media inquiries, please call 403-828-2954.​​