Share this page Print

Urban Design services

The Urban Design team provides a range of services including designing, advising, guidelines, and information to help The City meet their objective of achieving urban design excellence in Calgary.

Urban Design Projects

The Urban Design Team will assume the role, through approval of the Urban Design Framework, as the primary group responsible for coordinating the conceptual design and ensuring a consistent approach to the overall improvement of Calgary’s public realm, as well for the provision of specific design guidance and direction on individual projects, policies, and applications as required.

The initiation of and/or involvement in design coordination of public realm improvements such as streetscapes, public spaces, gate-ways, accent lighting strategies, way-finding, street furniture pro-grams, and pageantry is part of the Urban Design Team’s ongoing responsibility.

13 Avenue Heritag​e Greenway​

The 13 Avenue Heritage Greenway runs from MacLeod Trail SE to 17 Street SW passing through four distinct character districts and combining a rich collection of historic buildings with high-rise apartments and condominiums, parks, institutions and commercial districts. This project sets the framework for shaping unique and vibrant public realms and complete streets within existing inner city neighbourhoods, and creates an Emerald Necklace to downtown Calgary by closing the pedestrian loop between the Bow River and the Elbow River.

Development Application and Urban Design Review

As a CPAG (Corporate Planning Applications Group) specialist group, the Urban Design Team reviews and provides formal comments on commercial and residential Development Permit/Development Liaison/Land Use Applications in any area of the city.

Urban Design Guidelines and Policy Review

The Urban Design Team is tasked with the production of a number of urban design guideline documents as directed by Council. These non-statutory urban design guidelines will be considered by the development authority during the review of planning applications. The following are completed or currently underway:

  • Citywide Large Commercial Urban Design Guidelines (applied by City Administration): providing comprehensive urban design guidance for all new retail oriented commercial areas larger than 3 hectares in The City of Calgary.
  • Centre City Urban Design Guidelines (applied by City Administration): consolidates various existing guidelines; focusing on policy gaps/ongoing development issues; provides practical guidance for both internal and external audiences; and engages building industries.

  • Downtown Underpass Urban Design Guidelines (Adopted November 2010):  establishes urban design principles and design solutions which address pressing issues related to Calgary’s downtown underpasses: safety, connectivity, accessibility, context, vitality, greenery and beauty.

  • Bird-Friendly Design Guidelines (Adopted March 2011): this guideline offers urban design strategies for reducing bird-building collisions.

  • Centre City Illumination Guidelines (Adopted March 2011): providing a comprehensive urban design based lighting guidance for the Centre City in the form of principles, guidelines and solution-based case studies.

Design Advocacy and Outreach

Advocating for great architecture and urban design throughout the city, both internally and externally, is an important part of the Urban Design Team’s core responsibilities. This will occur through a number of initiatives, both currently underway and proposed: 


For more information regarding Urban Design & Heritage please contact:

David Down

For media requests please call 403-828-2954.​​