Urban design review process

Urban design review process

Urban design review process within the development application.

The City of Calgary encourages the use of great urban design across the entire planning continuum, and has an Urban Design Team (Urban Design + Open Space) and a peer review group (Urban Design Review Panel) to help achieve urban design excellence for development applications that meet specific criteria.

Urban design review participants


Urban Design + Open Space (UD+OS)

UD+OS is a City of Calgary staff team of urban designers within Community Planning which provides architecture and urban design expertise and guidance in a number of ways, including through the review of development applications as part of Development Applications Review Team (DART). They evaluate how projects address City of Calgary urban design policies and guidelines, particularly with regard to the expectations described by the Urban Design Elements in the Municipal Development Plan, and provide comments through the File Manager. Urban Design + Open Space is charged with helping applicants achieve the best possible design outcome, beginning with encouraging design review at the earliest possible point in the design process. As such, they are available to work with File Managers and applicants from project conception through the review process to decision.

Calgary’s Guide to Urban Design Review

Urban Design Review Panel (UDRP)

UDRP is a Council-appointed peer review group of professional architects, planners, landscape architects, and engineers. Through their varied professional expertise, they encourage high design standards by providing independent, “best practice” review and comment on the urban design and architecture of development applications. Urban Design Review Panel may review an application up to two times and may recommend that an applicant continue to work with the Urban Design + Open Space team to resolve any outstanding urban design matters as necessary. Applications are circulated to Urban Design Review Panel according to specific criteria (table following). The Chief Urban Designer, in consultation with the File Manager, will be responsible for the final determination of which applications are referred to the Panel.

 

Urban design circulation criteria


Application Type Pre-application  Enquiry Land Use Amendment with design content Development Permit Outline Plan Development Liaison, M-item
A development which will be referred to CPC for information or decision, including Design Excellence bonus

UD+OS

UDRP 

(recommended)

UD+OS

UDRP

UD+OS

UDRP

 UD+OS

UD+OS

UDRP

Located within a Main Street, TOD area, Centre City, Activity Centre, Entranceway or prominent site

UD+OS

UDRP 

(recommended)

UD+OS

UDRP 

(recommended)

UD+OS

UDRP

 UD+OS

UD+OS

UDRP

Alters half or more of the block face / is not anticipated in local area policy

UD+OS

UDRP 

(recommended)

UD+OS

UDRP 

(recommended)

UD+OS

UDRP

 UD+OS -
Has 40 or more dwelling units

UD+OS

UDRP 

(recommended)

UD+OS

UDRP 

(recommended)

UD+OS

UDRP

 UD+OS -
Residential development that increases the current base density by more than 40%  UD+OS  UD+OS  UD+OS - -
Includes drive-thru

UD+OS

UDRP 

(recommended)

UD+OS

UDRP 

(recommended)

UD+OS

UDRP

 UD+OS -
City of Calgary capital project (significant/civic building; park or open space; streetscape improvement project; infrastructure project) with urban design impact

UD+OS

UDRP 

(recommended)

UD+OS

UDRP 

(recommended)

UD+OS

UDRP

-

UD+OS

UDRP

New/revised urban design guidelines or impacts urban design components of City policies and guidelines - - - -

UD+OS

UDRP

Additional projects of significant complexity may be referred to the Urban Design Review Panel at the request of the Planning File Manager and the discretion of the Chief Urban Designer, depending on the capacity of the Panel at the time.

Urban design review stages


Urban design review is an integral part of the development application process. Applicants are encouraged to work with The City at the earliest possible point in the design process to achieve the best possible outcome. 

* An application that has been discussed with UDRP during pre-application may or may not be requested to return to the Panel for review during subsequent application phases, depending on the merits of the proposal.

UDRP = Urban Design Review Panel
DART = Development Applications Review Team
CPC = Calgary Planning Commission
DTR1 = Detailed Team Review 1


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. ​

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