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Calgary's greater downtown plan

The future of Calgary’s downtown Calgary's Greater Downtown Plan

Downtown is the economic and cultural heart of Calgary. It’s our central hub for business, innovation and creativity. What happens downtown has a direct impact on all Calgarians. Calgary needs a strong core to grow our economy, create jobs and fund the City services we rely on every day. 

Downtown is central to Calgary’s economic recovery

This is an updated version of the Plan with changes recommended at the April 7, 2021 Standing Policy Committee on Planning and Urban Development meeting.

The challenge

We’re facing a long road to recovery, but there is no looking back

We must focus on the future. Calgary’s downtown will not go back to the way it was before the pandemic, let alone five to ten years ago because of changes to our energy industry and how and where people work. We must take bold steps now, implement necessary changes and make decisive moves quickly in order to transform and reinvent downtown for decades to come. 

What is the Greater Downtown?

The Greater Downtown is made up of six communities that surround the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers. 

  • Downtown Core
  • Downtown West
  • Eau Claire
  • Chinatown
  • East Village
  • The Beltline

The vision

Calgary’s bustling centre of commerce and a 24/7 destination

Our future success relies on downtown being a place where people want to live, visit and set up businesses. We need to move beyond the traditional 9 to 5 business district towards a vibrant city centre people enjoy 24/7 with a balanced mix of residential, office, retail, entertainment, tourism and culture. 


Exciting opportunities are in store for businesses and shoppers.


We’re encouraging more people to live near where they work downtown.


We’ll shift from vacancy to vibrancy through office space innovations.


More festivals, events, sports and reasons to visit downtown are coming.


We’re building a world-class tourist and tier-one conference destination.


Calgary’s growing arts community shares our unique perspective with the world.

The 10 principles for Greater Downtown

Greater Downtown is a resilient and vibrant place for everyone, with welcoming neighbourhoods, active streets, and well-used public spaces.

Economic vitality and innovation

Create exciting places that attract businesses and talent.

Identity and place

Design neighbourhoods that Calgarians are proud to call home.

Opportunity and choice

Give everyone access to housing options and neighbourhood amenities.

Health and wellness

Ensure everyone has access to health care, medical services and more.

Social interaction

Build gathering places for events and neighbourhood get-togethers.

The green network and natural environment

Protect and restore the green network and natural areas.

Mobility for all

Provide options that address mobility needs for all ages and abilities.

Climate mitigation and adaptation

Support the transition to a low-carbon economy and adapt to extreme weather.

Quality urban design

Connect buildings, streets and places to meet the needs of people and businesses.

Resilient and prepared

Adapt, survive and thrive in the face of chronic stresses and acute shocks to our city.

The roadmap

The Greater Downtown Plan is our way forward

We have a vision, roadmap and commitment to build a thriving, future-focused downtown. The Downtown Strategy team, comprised of The City of Calgary, civic partners, community partners and business improvement areas, is focused on near-term actions. Ongoing monitoring of progress and results allows us to course correct and remain nimble.

Short-term wins

We’re running short-term pilot projects with the potential to have a major impact five to ten years into the future, such as: welcoming temporary patios on Stephen Avenue that boost restaurant capacity; closing streets in the East Village for events; incentivizing office conversions and residential development; and supporting Calgary’s tech sector through our Living Labs program.

Long-term view

The City and our partners have developed a plan to help businesses, developers, investors and citizens understand the direction Calgary’s downtown is headed over the next decade. We’re creating incredible opportunities for everyone along the way.

Strategic moves

2. A green network for a healthy environment

Build a green network by connecting parks, natural spaces and river frontage with downtown’s main streets.

How we get there:

Strategic move 2

3. Streets for people

Design streets for walkers and wheelers first, with regional pathways stretching along the riverbanks and underpasses, and bridges and on-street mobility tracks connecting to neighbouring communities.

How we get there:

Strategic move 3

4. Transit for all

Make transit the quickest, safest and most cost-effective way to travel to and through downtown.  

How we get there:

Strategic move 4

5. Future-proof and innovate for the next generation

Attract the global technology sector, utilize our highly educated workforce and leverage our head office concentration to prosper in the new economy.

How we get there:

Strategic move 5

Our best days are still ahead

There is no easy fix to downtown Calgary’s challenges, but we’re committed to coming back stronger using our grit and determination. The solution will require collaboration between all levels of government and our business and community partners.

Contact us

Contact Planning and development

Julie McGuire, Planner

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This information has no legal status and cannot be used as an official interpretation of the various bylaws, codes and regulations currently in effect. The City of Calgary accepts no responsibility to persons relying solely on this information. Web pages are updated periodically. ​