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Why City Planning? Building Great Communities for Everyone

Why City Planning?

Planning, building and implementing great communities for everyone.


Getting ahead of the change

We're making a change to the way we plan our city through what we call the Next Generation Planning System:

  • positions The City to operate more fiscally responsible, with better value to citizens, over a longer period of time
  • supports built-out communities to be vibrant and successful for decades to come
  • allows for closer working relationships with our citizens

Initiated in 2019, the Next Generation of Planning system improves the way we plan Calgary's future.  It's the foundation and framework for how we plan our city for the citizens who live here now and the next generation of citizens.

Currently made up of nine initiatives, the Next Generation of Planning helps us implement and realize the Municipal Development Plan and Calgary Transportation Plans​ and their policies:

  • provides a coordinated and clear planning system for the whole city
  • removes outdated and redundant policy
  • creates a more robust toolbox to enable development and investment in Calgary

Planning & Development Department’s mission

To plan and enable building a great Calgary


Our Department's 2020 Plan

Our 2020 Planning & Development Accountability Plan​​ aims to provide an internal view of how the Planning & Development department governs and manages its business, which ultimately provides value to Calgarians. While this plan is designed to be a reference and information tool for Planning & Development staff, it is published externally to align with our focus on transparency.


Next Generation of Planning- Initiatives

1. Municipal Development and Calgary Transportation Plans: update to policy

The MDP and CTP are The City's long-range land use and transportation plans that look upwards of 60 years into the future, when Calgary's population is expected to reach over two million people.

Implement policy to PLAN A GREAT CALGARY.

2. Guidebook for Great Communities: new policy

The Guidebook for Great Communities ensuring communities in Calgary can offer more housing, shops and service choices, while simplifying the planning process with consistent city-wide classifications for the urban form. It will be used to guide and shape Local Area Plans in the new Local Area Plan program. ​​​

3. Local Area Plans: new program

The new Local Area Plan process uses a multi-community approach to local planning, by grouping communities based on shared connections and physical boundaries. This approach makes stronger connections between communities and to key amenities and infrastructure, better identification of common issues and opportunities, and removes duplicate and irrelevant policies and plans.

4. Heritage: new policy

The Heritage conservation incentives program provides new policy tools and financial incentives to increase conservation of heritage resources.

5. Renewed Land Use Bylaw: update to policy

The renewed Land Use Bylaw aligns land use by laws with the Guidebook for Great Communities and the Local Area Plans so they can directly link policy with the Bylaw. A renewed Bylaw will focus on regulating the aspects that impact a person's experience at street-level. 

Enable growth and development to BUILD A GREAT CALGARY.

6. Citywide Growth and Change Strategy: new strategy and implementation plan

The Established Areas Growth and Change Strategy coordinates public investment, while supporting existing communities through their growth. It links to current policy efforts and supports developers to help build our city.​

7. Off-Site Levy Bylaw Review: update to policy

The Off-Site Levy Bylaw Review will make changes to align with legislation to ensure functionality of capital project costs. ​​

8. Main Streets: next phase of program and implementation/construction

Main Streets are a continuum that goes from changes to land use that will support development opportunities to a streetscape master plan that is designed to support these changes and can be constructed in a coordinated fashion.

9. Transit Oriented Development: next phase of strategy and implementation

The next phase is to carry out the Transit Oriented Development Implementation Strategy​. It supports higher-density, mixed-use buildings and public realm design that prioritizes walking and cycling and maximizes the use of transit services. The result is residents can live, work, play, shop and learn close to rapid public transit.

Planning and building great communities for everyone

Together, these nine initiatives will work together with existing polices. The goal is to plan a great Calgary with programs that will enable growth and development so we can continue building a great city.

Next Generation Planning System 


Change is inevitable for all cities including Calgary. City governments plan for change by working to adapt to growing populations, changes in the economy, outlining aims for a sustainable future, and creating great communities for everyone.

As Calgary grows, we want to build our city in a way that is mindful of the future, promotes sustainable ways of living, encourages a variety of housing choices, is respectful of community character, and balances the interests of neighbourhoods with the interests of Calgary as a whole.