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Urban Design Review Framework Project


The purpose of the Urban Design Review Framework project is to achieve higher quality urban design through improvements to the review process. The project focuses on refining the timing and effectiveness of urban design review within the application review process to ensure that design comments are consistently provided prior to significant design decisions being made, and to improve clarity and certainty for applicants and decision-makers.

Administration has undertaken work to explore ways to achieve higher quality building, site and landscape design outcomes through improvements to the urban design review process.


On 2015 July 27, Council directed Administration for further consultation with interested parties and with members of the NextCity Advisory Committee, to return to Council through the SPC on Planning and Urban Development no later than Q2 2016."

On 2016 June 20, Council directed Administration to consult with interested parties and report back to Council, by 2017 March, through the SPC on Planning and Urban Development, with an update on the process changes initiated, and recommendations to further improve urban design outcomes.

On 2017 March 8 Council directed Administration to revise the Terms of Reference for the Urban Design Review Panel and provide a more detailed implementation plan, with partner input including the Industry/City Process Improvement Working Group, and return through the SPC on Planning & Urban Development to Council no later than 2017 July.

Partner Involvement

A ten member Working Group was assembled that met bi-weekly between July and December 2016 to explore key issues, analyze the engagement results and to develop the project recommendations. The working group was expanded in March and continues to meet as needed.

Key partner groups included:

  • A twenty-two member subject matter expert group including City of Calgary Community Planning, Legislative Services, external architects, planners, developers, and representatives of BILD (Calgary) and the Federation of Calgary Communities (FCC);
  • Urban Design Review Panel (UDRP);
  • Calgary Planning Commission (CPC).

Each group identified issues, discussed ideas and responded to the preliminary recommendations through discussion sessions. Feedback from each session was used to build subsequent sessions and was used as a key component in drafting the final recommendations.

Project and Engagement Timeline

​Date Activity​
Date: ​Mar. 29 and Apr. 8, 2016 Activity: ​Next City Advisory Committee Meeting
Date: ​May 16, 2016 Activity: ​SPC on PUD Presentation
Date: ​July - Dec. 2016 (bi-weekly) Activity: ​UDRF Working Group Meeting
Date: ​Sept. 28, 2016 Activity: ​Next City Advisory Committee Meeting
Date: ​Oct. 4, 2016 with Partners
Oct. 5, 2016 with UDRP
Nov. 3, 2016 with CPC
Activity: ​Working Session 1: Issues and Challenges

​Oct. 31, 2016 with Partners
Nov. 8, 2016 with UDRP
Nov. 17, 2016 with CPC

Activity: ​Working Session 2: Ideas
Date: ​Nov. 28, 2016 with Partners
Nov. 30, 2016 with UDRP
Dec. 1, 2016 with CPC
Activity: ​Working Session 3: Recommendations
Date: ​Dec. 2, 2016 and Feb 16, 2017 Activity: ​Next City Advisory Committee Meeting
Date: ​Feb. 22, 2017 with UDRP
Feb. 23, 2017 with CPC
Mar. 2, 2017 with Partners
Activity: Working Session 4: Report Back
Date: ​Mar. 8, 2017 Activity: ​SPC on PUD Presentation
Date: ​Mar. 23, 2017 and Apr 21, 2017 Activity: ​UDRF Working Group Meetin
Date: ​Apr. 24, 2017 Terms of Reference, Protocol with all partners
Apr. 27, 2017 Implementation Plan with all partners
May 3, 2017 Report back with all partners
May 4, 2017 Report back with CPC
Activity: ​Working Session 5
Date: ​May 2017 Activity: ​UDRF Working Group Meeting
Date: ​June 14, 2017 Activity: ​SPC on PUD Presentation
Date: June 26, 2017 Activity: ​​Council Presentation

Supporting Documents

Contact Us

Should you have any comments or questions relating to the Urban Design Review Framework Project, please contact:

Dawn Clarke
Urban Designer
Planning & Development

David Down
Chief Urban Designer
Planning & Development


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. ​