Undergraduate Studio Project Summaries

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 Neal LaMontagne).

On this page, you can read summaries of the projects our students have completed in recent years.

2022 Project Summaries

107 Avenue Design Strategy

Project Sponsor: North Edge Business Improvement Association
Project Team: Annette Mellado, Christian Jaggernauth, Kevin Guo, Kristen So

107 Avenue, historically known as the Avenue of Nations, is a major east-west commercial street in central Edmonton. Working with the North Edge BIA and the City of Edmonton, currently leading a local area revitalization effort for the street, the student studio team identified a series of design interventions and planning strategies to improve business visibility, coordinate improvement efforts, and create opportunities for expanded public space along an auto-oriented corridor. Key issues that the team had to address were identifying design strategies that balanced a desire for unifying themes with the diversity of the businesses and the community and improvements which enhanced business viability without accelerating gentrification and displacement. 
In response, the student team developed a multifaceted strategy with evaluative criteria for prioritization, strategies for public and private realm, enhanced multimodal connectivity, design guidelines (in response to client request), and design prototypes. 

124 Street Corridor Plan

Project Sponsor: 124 Street Business Improvement Association
Project Team: Athea Volpe, Jordyn Olthuzien, Clarissa Gu & Forrest Wells

124 Street is one of Edmonton’s most lively and successful local commercial streets. However, like many, it has had to work through pandemic setbacks and was looking for a long range planning strategy to assure sustainable success in the future. Working with the business improvement association, the student team completed a comprehensive analysis of issues and opportunities and developed a corridor plan focused on the pedestrian experience, placemaking, connectivity, and strategy. Addressing the challenge of a long and sometimes disconnected retail corridor, the team developed specific strategies for segments of the street as well as design interventions to connect the segments experientially. The final product was a broad based plan organized around near term, mid term, and long term interventions and policies with the goal to make 124 Street a place to spend a whole day wandering and mixing with fellow Edmontonians. 

City of Edmonton “Zoning In On Equitable Engagement”

Project Sponsor: 124 Street Business Improvement Association
Project Team: Caitlyn McDonald, Shannon Hogan, & Saffron Newton 

The City of Edmonton engaged the planning studio for support developing a public engagement strategy for the City’s Zoning Bylaw Renewal Initiative (ZBRI) that engaged a diverse group of stakeholders and aligned with the project’s ambitious equity objectives. In response, the student team researched barriers to engagement and best practices in meaningfully engaging equity seeking groups, with a special emphasis on engagement strategies that could accommodate remote participation. Following, the team developed a forward-looking strategy that including a series of fun and interactive activities designed to be more accessible and more inclusive than typical zoning related public engagement processes. Sample materials were developed to facilitate the City’s planning as well as a series of engagement principles. 

Oliver Community League “ImagineOliver” Public Engagement

Project Sponsor: Oliver Community League
Project Team: Veerinder Paul, Shaylin Sharpe, Elias Ziff, and Jason Day 

Oliver is one of the most urban and centrally located neighbourhoods in Edmonton and the Oliver Community League approached the Planning Studio with the goal of being more proactive in coordinating different development proposals and an anticipated City Neighbourhood Renewal Process. Understanding that the first step was to establish a distinct platform for the League to engage its residents and get input on community priorities and values. The student team developed a graphic identity and working with an online engagement company, launched a live digital platform ‘ImagineOliver’. The student team engaged residents in person and online, presented their own analysis of issues and opportunities, and gathered insight and input for the League. More than just an engagement process however, the student team provided the client with a platform that could be used on an ongoing basis. 

2021 Project Summaries

Zoning Bylaw Renewal GBA+ and Equity Toolkit Audit

Project Sponsor: City of Edmonton

The City has undertaken an ambitious update of its zoning bylaw following the adoption of a new City Plan, including the use of an equity toolkit and Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+). The student studio team was tasked by the City to review the equity approach and to test the toolkit for effectiveness in advancing the goal of a more inclusive and compassionate city. The studio team developed a performance management framework to evaluate the toolkit and tested it themselves and with internal stakeholders. using participant observation, process testing and user surveys. Beyond providing a series of recommendations, the project was a unique shared learning and reflective experience with the client and studio team.

A Bike Share Vision for Edmonton

Project Sponsor: Tomorrow Foundation and Paths for People

A partnership between Tomorrow Foundation and Paths for People was interested in understanding the potential, and developing a vision for a public bike share for Edmonton. The student studio team scanned for and studied relevant precedents and best practices and reviewed the policy context in Edmonton, mapped the City and the region to understand a cost-effective and equitable service area, and developed a series of recommendations based on estimated costs, technology requirements, equity concerns, and safety considerations. The result was a compelling and pragmatic vision for the City to invest in and develop a bike share system that serves all.

Building Tall Wood

Project Sponsor: City of North Vancouver

With a remote studio, there was an opportunity for a client outside of the Edmonton region. In response, the City of North Vancouver, BC came forward with a policy challenge: does the potential for ‘tall wood’ (mass timber construction between six and twelve storeys) merit consideration for new regulations or incentives to encourage their adoption. The student studio team did a deep dive on mass timber, its relative performance and environmental benefits, its carbon lifecycle, and the potential to support local industry and employment. The student team prototyped different approaches on a sample site and developed a series of recommendations for the City to encourage tall wood construction to advance the City’s ambitious climate and urban design objectives.

2020 Project Summaries

Integrating Climate Resiliency into Edmonton’s Zoning Bylaw

Project Sponsor: City of Edmonton

The City of Edmonton is in the process of redeveloping its land use bylaw. The project team was tasked with delivering recommendations for Zoning Bylaw regulations that incorporate climate resilience, as a part of the Zoning Bylaw Renewal. It was necessary to align the new Zoning Bylaw with the City of Edmonton’s goals of adaptation and mitigation, set out in the Climate Resilient Edmonton Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan, and the Energy Transition Strategy, respectively. The project team first undertook a jurisdictional review of cities with a similar climate context to Edmonton. Following this, the project team developed a Development Point System that could be integrated into Edmonton’s Zoning Bylaw.

Edmonton Urbanist Coalition

Project Sponsor: Representatives of Urbanist NGO Groups in Edmonton

The purpose of this project was to assist the client in developing a strategy and structure for the formation of an urbanist coalition in Edmonton. The studio team developed a case rationale compiling evidence to support the need for such a coalition. It then undertook a comprehensive environmental scan of potential NGO groups within the Edmonton region that were potential members of such a coalition. Following engagement with these NGO groups and the client, the team developed an overall strategy, including funding models, timelines, and approaches for the formation of a coalition.

The Gateway/West Ritchie Public Space and Connectivity Plan

Project Sponsor: The Old Strathcona Business Association

Working with the Old Strathcona Business Association (OSBA), the project team undertook the creation of the Public Spaces, Public Life Plan (henceforth, “the Plan”) for the area of Gateway/West Ritchie. The Plan provides direction for placemaking through a 20 year vision, by outlining the improvement of open spaces, mobility, transportation connections, and public spaces in Gateway/West Ritchie. The Plan offers recommendations related to the design, development, and programming of the public realm to enable new public spaces to be created with intention, and existing public spaces to be enlivened with more people and activities.

Leduc Green Spaces Plan

Project Sponsor: The City of Leduc

The project team undertook an assessment of existing best practices for green spaces in small cities within Canada and elsewhere. It then undertook a GIS assisted assessment of the existing green spaces in Leduc with a focus on factors relating to health, environmental, economic and winter city design. Considerations of proximity, overall park space, distribution, and density of park space were included. Drawing lessons from professional literature as well as best practices elsewhere, the team developed a series of recommendations for Leduc’s parks planning process, including recommendations for future developments.

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 neighbourhoods, 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:

  1. Housing
  2. Transportation
  3. Accessibility to Amenities and Services
  4. Economic and Community Resiliency
  5. Governance

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:

  1. How might the bus routes be rerouted? Examine networks effects and accessibility measurement from a pure transportation focus.
  2. What other technologies of mass transit are deployable in Red Deer (Bus, BRT, LRT)?
  3. What future technologies (uber-style, self-driving, Personal Rapid Transit, high-speed rail, Hyperloop etc.) are on the horizon?
  4. 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.