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Planning System - Our Story


How did we get here? How is it that The City undertook the one of biggest planning processes transformations in our history? The information you'll find on this page details the extensive stakeholder engagements and workshops that have happened over the past few years to reach where we are now: the execution of the City of Calgary's Planning System. Learn our history, be part of our present and help us to imagine the future.

Planning System

2016 - Production

This is us now! We haven't simply dropped the 'new' from our name. We have begun to realize the work done over the past few years. Our teams are consistently working to improve on the projects we've launched in 2015. You'll be hearing more about these over the coming year. Check out these project pages to find out more.

Currently in production
  • Explore
  • Concurrent Submission
  • Planning and Development Map
  • Notice Posting
  • Workflow
  • E-services
  • Research and Development
  • Urban Design Review Framework

New Planning System

2014 to 2015 - Testing

The New Planning System (NPS) took the numerous recommendations that came out of Transforming Planning and worked to develop processes to make them a reality. Staff were trained and retrained. Stakeholders were engaged and asked to help on how to make the new systems work. A huge amount of consultation at all levels of The City worked with one goal: the successful implementation of NPS projects.

Everyone started to approach land use planning differently. NPS values and principles became the cornerstone of land use planning culture in Calgary and learning was identified as a critical piece of the NPS, so that processes and policies stayed current and constantly improved.

Transforming Planning

2012 to 2013 - Research & Engagement

Transforming Planning was an initiative launched in June 2012 and ran until December 2013. The City of Calgary partnered with the development industry, community groups and citizens to collaboratively design a new land use planning system that would improve the outcomes and experience of everyone involved in Calgary's development: the result was a blueprint for a New Planning System that had clear and predictable roles, was more collaborative, more transparent and more focused on achieving desired outcomes.

The concept that Transforming Planning created for the New Planning System was driven by the vision set for Calgary by imagineCALGARY. This informed the development of the Municipal Development Plan and Calgary Transportation Plan, which guide all the land use planning decisions in the city.

Culture & people

Attitudes and approaches that communities, developers and City staff bring into the planning process has more of an impact on the planning system than the process itself.


How we make decisions

  • We're clear about who has decision authority and who influences
  • Roles of all key players in the planning process are known and respected
  • There is an explicit code of conduct with commitment towards the vision outcomes of the process
  • Innovation is rewarded
  • Decision criteria is transparent
  • Every decision moves us closer to our goals

Approval process - clear roles

Approving Authority

Approving Authorities (City Council, Subdivision and Development Appeal Board or Calgary Planning Commission) are responsible for approving or rejecting development proposals. They also make sure the planning process lives up to City values and the vision created by imagineCALGARY.


Applicants (property owners, developers or consultants) propose, explain and refine developments based on stakeholder input. Applicants should be transparent in their proposals and engage stakeholders early, before decisions about the proposal have been made.

City Staff

City staff are responsible for processing development proposals and making recommendations on whether the development should be approved. Recommendations are based on a variety of factors such as whether the proposal matches The City's existing goals and policies, if it is technically feasible and how stakeholder input was incorporated.


Citizens become engaged in a development proposal through their community associations, official events, or online forums. Community members provide relevant local context, helping applicants and Approving Authorities understand the needs and goals of people who live near a proposed development.