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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

The Guidebook team has been working with citizens and stakeholders through August, September and October to improve the clarity and usability of the Urban Form Categories (UFCs), within the Guidebook (Chapter 2) through Council’s direction (Item 7.6).

We hosted four working sessions from Sept. 8-10, for citizens and stakeholders, who have helped develop the Guidebook and community local area plans. Their efforts informed the following five items. 

  • Building on Activity Levels as tools that inform how we use the UFCs, rather than embedding them within UFCs
  • Simplifying Neighbourhood UFCs
  • Addressing the function of Parks, Civic and Open Space UFCs
  • Reducing the number of policy modifiers
  • Embedding Industrial Transition as a transition policy

We presented the updates to the Calgary Planning Commission on Oct.1, followed by an engagement with stakeholders and citizens for final comments in our Follow-up Guidebook session on Oct. 7. The Guidebook team is further refining the UFCs and is scheduled to host a Wrap-up Guidebook session with stakeholders and citizens on Nov. 12.

The Guidebook is scheduled to return to SPC on Planning and Urban Development, no later than January 2021.

To find out more information about the work underway with the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan, which is also updating its plan, please visit

​​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​


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