A benefit of UAlberta's Urban and Regional Planning Program is students have the opportunity to engage in practical, hands-on study of community planning and development by taking on contracts with actual clients (under the supervision of Dr. Sandeep Agrawal and Dr. Bob Summers).
On this page, you can read summaries of the projects our students have completed in recent years.
2019 Project Summaries
INFILLtration: Exploring Opportunities for Well-Designed Infill Project Sponsor: City of Edmonton
Currently, the City of Edmonton has some regulations about infill housing, particularly in mature neighborhoods, but was looking for ways to improve infill design. The students first performed a theoretical literature review and then examined existing conditions in Edmonton. They soon realized, however, that ideas about good design are very subjective. They focused on outcomes of design, such as walkability, interaction between neighbours, and cohesion within the existing community character. After interviewing five City planners, and conducting 3 case studies, they produced 16 recommendations for their clients, from the design regulations, to communicating with developers, to implementation.
Beaumont Tactical Urbanism Project Sponsor: City of Beaumont
As one of Alberta's fastest growing municipalities, Beaumont officially became a city on January 1st 2019, and is in the process of implementing significant planning policies, exercises, and goals. These changes provide opportunities for Beaumont to attract new residents, investment, and diversify the amenities and services available. To capitalize on the excitement, the City of Beaumont sought to use tactical urbanism as an on‐the‐ground way to celebrate the city and its public realm; showcasing the potentials of an increasingly urban environment.
A team of planning students from the University of Alberta was tasked with determining tactical urbanism principles, to create a basis for Beaumont’s tactical urbanism strategy. Students worked alongside the municipality and interested stakeholders, hosted workshops, and implemented their own tactical urbanism installation in mid-March to kick-off public participation.
A large turnout reinforced assumptions of a hungry and welcoming appetite for tactical urbanism installations in Beaumont, and provided feedback to help shape takeaways. The student team presented their findings and recommendations to Beaumont’s planners and City Council in April 2019
Commercial Recreation Strategy in Provincial Parks Project Sponsor: Alberta Parks
This project was completed in cooperation with Alberta Parks, and involved studying the processes related to private commercial investment into publicly owned lands. This research was used to generate viable commercial recreation strategies and options that could be used to assist in establishing mutually beneficial partnerships with private investors. The primary issue that the client faced was that the existing framework was extensive and complicated, which made it difficult for investors to navigate and produce viable project proposals. The project team was tasked with simplifying this process. The result was a Commercial Recreation Assessment that standardizes the process and makes expectations obvious to potential investors. This assessment was accompanied by an Assessment Guide and Commercial Recreation Strategy, which are documents that function as a distillation of the research that was conducted. The combination of these three documents effectively streamlines the evaluation process and will help to encourage private investment into publicly owned lands.
Best Practices Analysis on Complete Communities Project Sponsor: Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board
Complete Communities are communities that provide a variety of residents with a variety of suitable options to live, work, and play. Municipalities that are complete communities are able to be self-sustainable, and allow residents to continue living and working within them as they age and their economic circumstances change. Drawing on Local, Provincial, National, and Global examples, the project team synthesized a Complete Community evaluative framework that is based on five (5) components:
3. Accessibility to Amenities and Services
4. Economic and Community Resiliency
A rural complete community will differ in comparison to metropolitan or urban complete communities, and this framework is structured to incorporate the unique opportunities and constraints of the three tiers of municipalities. The evaluative-framework was applied to the thirteen (13) municipalities, utilizing built-form observations, policy research, and available Census and Housing data.
The findings were then condensed into a summary report for each of the three tiers. The final section of is a ‘Community-Lookbook’ which describes rural, metropolitan, and urban complete communities in a narrative format that is based on Edmonton-Region constraints and real-world examples.
2018 Project Summaries
Centre Line LRT Concept Plan Project Sponsor: City of Edmonton
The City of Edmonton is in the process of developing a long term plan for the Centre Line LRT, which will act as a circulator between Downtown and Old Strathcona. Concept planning is needed to lay the groundwork for the long term development of the line which is envisioned to service the most transit-supportive areas of the City of Edmonton. The project team was tasked with creating concept plans for the line between the University of Alberta Hospital, south along 112 Street to Whyte Avenue, then eastward to Bonnie Doon Mall. The concept plan had many iterative components which built towards a strong conceptual plan that would effectively decide the preliminary and comprehensive design of the system between these two locations.
Leduc Wildlife Corridor Study Project Sponsor: City of Leduc/Leduc County
The City of Leduc and Leduc County engaged the project team to evaluate the feasibility of creating a wildlife corridor and trail system between the east shore of Telford Lake and the west shore of Saunders Lake. The wildlife corridor will connect areas of demonstrated biophysical diversity and environmental significance. The open space allocated for the wildlife corridor also has the potential to be a recreational use, allowing hikers to travel from Telford Lake to Saunders Lake.
Analysis of Site Acquisition, Funding and Joint Use Agreements Project Sponsor: Edmonton Public School Board
This project was completed in partnership with the Edmonton Public School Board, and involved study into the processes of school site acquisition, funding, and Joint Use Agreements in Edmonton, and other Canadian municipalities. Joint Use Agreements are being increasingly integrated into school planning processes throughout North America, however there has been limited research conducted in Canada to determine how agreements are structured, and how they function in different jurisdictions. This study contributes to existing literature by providing initial review and comparison of school site planning in Canada, in order to help inform the evolution of comprehensive and efficient systems of school planning.
Regional Emergency (Fire) Services Report Project Sponsor: Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board
The Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board (EMRB), formerly known as the Capital Region Board (CRB), is a collaborative growth management board made up of 13 diverse municipalities. The project team was tasked by the EMRB to create an Emergency (Fire) Services Report. This report serves to analyze the level of emergency (fire) services delivered by member municipalities today, the level of fire services required for full implementation of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Growth Plan (EMRGP), and the opportunities to promote coordinated planning between member municipalities that enables the optimization of shared services and funding.
Beaumont Urban Agricultural Policy Project Sponsor: Town of Beaumont
This report examines the strategic implementation of urban agriculture in the Town of Beaumont. It includes an extensive background review and analysis of urban agriculture, an analysis of Beaumont's legislative framework, a summary of engagement results, and policy and bylaw recommendations that will enable the Town of Beaumont to move forward.
2017 Project Summaries
Regional Agricultural Master Plan
Project sponsor: Capital Region Board
The Capital Region Board (CRB) region includes 24 member municipalities including the city of Edmonton. The CRB’s 2016 Edmonton Metropolitan Region Growth Plan recognizes the importance of a viable agricultural sector as a key asset, economic sector and strategy for enhancing local food security. The students were tasked to review and analyze local, regional, national, and international agricultural land use policies to inform a regional agricultural master plan that ensures the wise management of prime agricultural resources in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.
Transit Services in an Automobile Dependent City
Project sponsor: City of Red Deer
The City of Red Deer has a target to move from the current 3.8% of all trips by bus alone to 10% over the next decade. Likewise, the goals are to move Red Deer’s active transportation mode share to near 7% by providing safe and convenient alternatives to car use through a combination of urban design and compact land-use planning. The Project team was asked to answer the following questions:
How might the bus routes be rerouted? Examine networks effects and accessibility measurement from a pure transportation focus.
What other technologies of mass transit are deployable in Red Deer (Bus, BRT, LRT)?
What future technologies (uber-style, self-driving, Personal Rapid Transit, high-speed rail, Hyperloop etc.) are on the horizon?
Which transit technology available now and in the future will help Red Deer achieve their local and regional goals?
Strathcona Neighbourhood Active Transportation Concept Plan
Project Sponsor: Strathcona Centre Community League
The Neighbourhood of Strathcona Centre will be undergoing physical renewal of all of its streets, sidewalks, lighting and related infrastructure in 2018. The project team produced a comprehensive active transportation concept plan for the community and created a strategy for the Strathcona Centre Community League to lobby the City of Edmonton to incorporate elements of the Active Transportation Concept Plan into the renewal process as opposed to replacing 'like for like' which is the standard policy of the City of Edmonton. The team conducted a literature review, a neighbourhood audit, and held multiple community consultation events as part of the project.
Principles for Shopping Centre Redevelopment
Project Sponsor: City of Edmonton
Edmonton has a large number of aging suburban indoor malls that have become underutilized or closed. These large parcels of land are critical opportunities to capitalize on redevelopment that better meets the needs of the surrounding neighborhood and city as a whole. The project team was tasked with creating a document to provide guidance to the City of Edmonton on how to take advantage of opportunities that may arise during the redevelopment of large scale commercial sites in Edmonton. In doing so, they created both a demonstration site project plan for an existing aging mall as well as a policy document to guide the development of principles and tools that can be used to influence the redevelopment of shopping centre sites in Edmonton
2016 Project Summaries
Capital Region Board
The Capital Region Board (CRB) region includes 24 member municipalities including the City of Edmonton. CRB requires that statutory plans such as Inter-municipal Development Plans (IDP) and Municipal Development Plans (MDP) of municipalities within the CRB region must be consistent with the Capital Region Growth Plan. The students were tasked by the Board to analyze all the IDPs and MDPs within the membership of the CRB, provide a methodology and framework for regional spatial analysis, and make recommendations for a consistent regional view.
Town of Beaumont Parking Study
The Town of Beaumont has created a new vision for a walkable, vibrant urban downtown outlined in their Downtown Urban Design Concept Plan. That concept plan is not viable with current parking regulations. The project team investigated current parking usage, the needs of businesses, the goals of the Town, and alternative approaches to parking such as the development of shared parking lots in their study. The team made parking strategy recommendations that could have a major impact on the success of the downtown development of Beaumont.
University of Alberta District 9 Sector Plan
The province’s Post Secondary Learning Act allows the University of Alberta to prepare a Long Range Development Plan (LRDP). The LRDP provides a flexible set of strategic planning principles that support the growth of new research, teaching and support facilities, as well as upgrades or replacement of existing structures, within the context of University lands. Sector Plans are a part of the LRDP developed to guide development on University land, zoned Alternate Jurisdiction under municipal designation. Eleven sectors are identified within North Campus. Sector 9 consists of primarily operational facilities and students’ residences, but is in close proximity of major institutions such as Cross Cancer, Jubilee Auditorium and ECHA. The students were asked by the Facilities and Operations Unit to prepare a plan for sector 9, which currently does not have an existing plan.
Westmount Architectural Heritage Area Protection
The Westmount Heritage Area was designated with voluntary guidelines for the protection of the aesthetic provided by a cluster of homes built between 1900 and 1925 in the Craftsman and Arts and Craft styles. In recent years, redevelopment pressures have resulted in the loss of heritage homes and the guidelines have been ineffective in ensuring that new homes contribute to the character of the area. On behalf of the City of Edmonton, the project team has analysed the changes in the area, drafted new development regulations and created a strategy to advance those protections forwards through the rezoning process.