Modeling Edmonton's Design Guidelines for New Neighborhoods


City of Edmonton


O2 Planning and Design, with Urbsworks


Edmonton, Alberta, Canada




Urban Planning, Urban Design, GeoDesign

O2 Planning + Design, in conjunction with Urbsworks, were engaged by the City of Edmonton to undertake Phase 4 of their 'Designing New Neighbourhoods' project. This entailed performing due diligence by modelling potential approaches to using their proposed Design Guidelines, then under development by a multidisciplinary consulting and city stakeholder team. The intent was to ensure that the new guidelines being developed allowed for a wide range of neighbourhood planning and design approaches, spoke directly to real considerations and scales relevant to the planning approval process, and could be applied with clarity and consistency.

I had several responsibilities:

  • identify ‘gaps’ in drafts of the design guidelines
  • design a modelling process for testing the guidelines: this included creating a set of quantitative and spatial models designed to represent the guidelines, which could be applied to hypothetical neighbourhood plans.
  • create three hypothetical neighborhood plans, representing a range of contemporary approaches to neighborhood design.
  • evaluate and report on plan performance, within the context of understanding whether or not the guidelines provided the desired flexibility.

This process provided insight into where design guidelines provided ambiguous or conflicting instruction, or where trade-offs in achievement of the guidelines might be acceptable.