Edmonton Design Guidelines Modelling Project

Client City of Edmonton
Location Edmonton | Alberta | Canada

O2 Planning + Design, in conjunction with Urbsworks, were engaged by the City of Edmonton to undertake Phase 4 of the Designing New Neighbourhoods project. Phase 4 entailed performing due diligence by modelling the draft Outcomes and Principles of the City’s 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 approval of a neighbourhood structure plan, and could be applied during the Neighbourhood Structure Plan (NSP) preparation, review and approvals process with clarity and consistency. 

O2 had several responsibilities. The first was to help identify ‘gaps’ in the design document to date, and to provide recommendations to the city team as to potential solutions. O2 then designed a modelling process for testing the guidelines. This process employed a set of quantitative and spatial models designed to represent the guidelines, which were then applied to three hypothetical neighbourhood plans. Results of these models described the performance of each scenario according to their achievement of the guidelines, framed within a Triple Bottom Line scorecard. This process provided insight into where the Outcomes and Principles of the Design Guidelines provided ambiguous or conflicting instruction, or where trade-offs in achievement of principles might likely occur. Overall, the exercise enabled an understanding of the breadth of flexibility in neighbourhood design that the Outcomes and Principles might facilitate.