The Guide for Local Area Planning

The Guide for Local Area Planning

Calgary’s success begins with vibrant and inclusive communities that offer residents more choices of where to live, how they can move around the city, and where to gather with friends and family. Whether a community is still being built or has been established for more than a century, it evolves as people move, grow older, and trends change.

The Guide for Local Area Planning is a starting point to discuss what people like about their community and how it should grow and develop over time. It gives us a common language to use when talking about and planning for this growth. We use this Guide with citizens – the experts on their own communities – to build on what’s great about their community now and how it can be successful in the future. 

Read the Guide for Local Area Planning

Using this Guide in local area plans

  • Local area plans lay out a future vision for a community and they are developed through a collaborative engagement process that uses local knowledge from residents, community-based groups, business owners and other stakeholders.
  • This Guide provides tools and policies as a starting point for developing a new local area plan. This ensures that all communities start from the same place and use a similar language when developing local area plans to address each community’s unique context.
  • The North Hill Communities Local Area Plan is the first local area plan to incorporate policies from this Guide. 

June 2021 update

The Guide for Local Area Planning is the starting point when we work with residents on how best their communities should grow. This Guide has been through a number of changes over the past few years. Here’s the latest update and its current status: 

What happened at the Standing Policy Committee on Planning and Urban Development (PUD) on 5 May 2021?

The Guide for Local Area Planning (formerly known as the Guidebook for Great Communities) was considered and accepted as information by PUD.

What happened at Council on 31 May 2021?

Council voted to abandon the bylaw that was originally intended to make this Guide statutory.

What happens next?

Administration will use the document, including the 62 changes accepted by PUD, as an administrative guide containing a common language for planning and best practice policies and tools for local area plans. A revised version of the Guide for Local Area Planning is available online now. This version includes some administrative changes that were required due to the document no longer being statutory.

The North Hill Communities Local Area Plan is the first local area plan to incorporate policies from this Guide. More information on the Westbrook and Heritage Communities Local Area Plans will be shared with stakeholders later this year.

Following PUD’s direction, Administration will create a work plan and schedule outlining which local area plans will be completed in the next budget cycle (2023-2026). Administration will bring this work plan and schedule to PUD no later than March 31, 2022 and expects to begin the next round of local area plans in late 2021 to early 2022.

To ensure that the Guide for Local Area Planning remains a living document, lessons learned will be identified through the local area planning process to inform future changes to the document.

Questions about community growth and development?

Contact us through 311

Media inquiries

Call 403-828-2954


May 31, 2021: May 31, 2021 Combined Meeting of Council – Item 7.3

The direction from the SPC on PUD on May 05, 2021 has resulted in housekeeping amendments to reflect the status of the document as administrative guidelines, as well as some amendments for clarity and consistency in the document.

Guide for Local Area Planning - Amendment Package 2

May 5, 2021: May 5, 2021 SPC on Planning and Urban Development – Item 7

62 amendments developed as a result of engagement following the March 22 Public Hearing of Council. These were presented to the SPC on PUD on May 05, 2021 and accepted as part of updating this as a Guide for Local Area Planning, which are now administrative guidelines.

Guide for Local Area Planning - Amendment Package 1

March 22: Council directed Administration to report to May 5, 2021 PUD

February 3: PUD voted 7-1 to hold a Public Hearing at the March 22, 2021 Combined Meeting of Council.

January 13: PUD voted 7-1 have the Guide team formally present the Guide on February 3 at PUD. 

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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. ​