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Calgary’s growth and development

Growth strategy describes the process The City uses to provide Council with high quality information about the costs, timing and locations for future growth in Calgary.

A growth management analysis reviews the capacity of transportation, water and fire infrastructure required to support development. For unbuilt infrastructure, the analysis addresses the funding of City infrastructure and services that might be needed to support new urban growth.

Our goals to help implement our vision for growth include:

  1. Provide a tool for Council to enhance decision making around growth.
  2. Promote the goals and objectives of the Municipal Development Plan (developing communities with complete services sooner, and reach the overall population growth goals).
  3. Set priority areas to align future capital and operating budgets.
  4. Provide greater certainty for the development industry. By communicating infrastructure plans over the short, medium and long term, critical information is available to developers.
  5. Provide the appropriate level of serviced land for all development types.

Implementing the MDP

As a visionary document, the Municipal Development Plan guides the general development objectives of The City of Calgary. All departments are accountable to ensure their work aligns with the vision of the MDP.

Guiding strategic decisions

The MDP provides direction for growth and change, prioritizing corporate initiatives and public investment. The MDP helps to coordinate between departments to achieve objectives.

Facilitating private sector investment

Buy-in and investment from the private sector is critical to achieving our vision of growth. The MDP provides direction and certainty to both business and communities, in support of private sector investment in housing, commercial and industrial developments.

Supporting community-based initiatives

To support community-based planning initiatives, the MDP provides city-wide context. It provides guidance on smaller, local initiatives that support neighbourhood and community development.

Local area plans

Local area plans align with the Municipal Government Act (MGA) regulations and are usually prepared at a community level. Examples include Area Redevelopment Plans (ARP) and Area Structure Plans (ASP). These plans must align with the MDP.

Outline plan process

Through the outline plan process, The City undertakes detailed planning and design of new communities and redevelopment of existing ones. This involves design details that preserve environmental areas, open space locations and reserve dedications, development patterns, land use mixes and local street networks.

Land use amendment applications

Not all areas experiencing development pressures have a Local Area Plan to provide guidance to a community or specific application. In such cases, the MDP should be used to provide guidance on the application of an appropriate land use district, or identify appropriate land uses. In areas where an approved Area Structure Plan or Area Redevelopment Plan is in effect, the specific policies and design guidelines of that plan will continue to provide direction.

Development permit applications

The MDP provides direction and context to support the Approving Authority for when they review development permit applications. The MDP policies may be used to guide discretion on land use or design. The MDP also provides guidance within long term urban intensification areas and temporary uses.

Urban design

Urban design policies set out the overall urban design vision for Calgary. The policies and guidelines inform a level of decision-making including Local Area Planning, outline plans, land use amendments and development permits. They are also relevant to city-initiated design projects for public realm improvements, street corridors, open space plans and transit station area planning.

On-going sustainment

The City provides support to internal and external stakeholders around interpretation and application of the policies, thresholds and MDP targets. The MDP is a living document that The City will keep current through regular review, updating and amending it over time. The City will also monitor implementation of the MDP and bring forward amendments from time to time to clarify interpretation issues, policy gaps, implementation processes and corporate decisions.

Progress to Date

A high-level report on Calgary’s progress towards the goals in both the Municipal Development Plan and the Calgary Transportation Plan are completed prior to each business plan cycle. This information shows areas where the city is making progress and where we need to improve. View the 2018 monitoring report​.


Calgary’s Municipal Development Plan has been recognized both provincially and nationally for its contribution to the future of our city. Two significant awards received are:

  • Award of Merit from the Alberta Professional Planners Institute (received October 2011)
  • Sustainable Community Award in Planning from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (received July 2011)


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