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Guidebook for Great Communities

Creating great communities for everyone Guidebook for great communities


The Guidebook for Great Communities supports the future growth and success of Calgary’s communities. It allows for communities to offer people more choice to live, move and gather now and into the future. It balances the needs and wants of current residents, while ensuring our neighbourhoods are appealing to future residents.

The Guidebook is a policy document that combines existing policies, improved policies and new policies all into one document. It makes for a more inclusive and consistent way to plan a community’s local area plan, to make sure it's welcoming for everyone.​

​​​​​​​​​​​Download the guidebook​​


​​Guidebook update

On July 27, 2020, Council directed Administration to revise the Guidebook for Great Communities (Guidebook) and the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan based on feedback received from stakeholders (outlined in the report and attachments found on the Council Agenda at 7.6 and 7.7.) and return back to PUD no later than January 2021.

For the Guidebook, the Urban Form Categories (UFCs in Chapter 2 of the Guidebook) are evolving. They are the most significant change we’re making to the Guidebook. We’re making these policies easier to use and understand, while keeping the outcomes of the Guidebook’s UFC policies the same.

Due to the technical nature of this work and the background understanding that is required, we are engaging with citizens who have a strong working knowledge of the existing UFCs (through the creation of the Guidebook and/or the creation of a local area plan). To make sure the process remains open and transparent, we will update this space on the progress of the Guidebook and evolution of the UFCs, throughout August and the fall.


​​Explore your community with us

A community’s design and evolution should reflect the activity of the people who are there now and those who will be there in the future. Our communities are defined and grow by how we experience them.

Join our conversation on community. Share your experiences and what activities define your community. Planning a great community’s future, starts with these stories.​

Join our conversation

​Applying the Guidebook in real life

The Guidebook is a tool in the local area planning process

The Guidebook is the key tool used by citizens, stakeholders and City planners to create community local area plans. It was used by citizens to develop the draft North Hill Communities Local Area Plan, and it’s currently being used to develop the Westbrook and Heritage​ Communities Local Area Plans.

Citizens and stakeholders work with City planners to determine the type of growth that’s appropriate for the different areas in a community. This growth is based on people and their activities in a community. The “Urban Form” categories and “scales” in Chapter 2 are customized for each local area plan, so future growth respects and builds on a community’s unique conditions and environments. If appropriate, the local area planning process can also augment the Guidebook’s policies to better reflect a community’s context.

Developers and industry will also use the Guidebook to develop sites. It provides them consistent policies and community design elements (built form) to keep the community’s long-term best interests in mind.

More details on the Guidebook

​The Guidebook is a better way to plan the success of our communities’ and Calgary’s future. With this new way of planning and new information, we’ve heard a lot of questions from citizens and stakeholders. We’ve summarized and answered a lot of them on a separate web page, to clarify some information and misconceptions. Check it out, to learn more.


Planning for Calgary now and for the next generation

We’re improving the way we plan and develop Calgary, with the Next Generation Planning System (Next Gen.). It is way of planning that is both a more efficient process for planning and ensuring we can invest into the future success of our communities' and city's future. The Guidebook for Great Communities is one piece of Next Gen.

Next Gen. supports Calgary’s new and built-out communities and industrial areas to be vibrant and successful for decades to come. It also allows us to work closer with citizens and stakeholders.

Guided by the Municipal Development Plan (Next20), the ten Next Gen. policy initiatives give us the tools to plan and build a great Calgary:

  • Provides a coordinated and clear system, to plan the whole city
  • Removes outdated and redundant policy
  • Creates a more robust planning tool box

You can find out more information about Next Gen. and where the Guidebook and the other Next Gen. policy initiatives fit in the system at


Contact us

Contact Planning & Development

Robyn Jamieson, Senior Planner​


For media enquiries

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