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Urban, Suburban, Regional and Wet Growth in Alberta

posted Mar 28, 2020, 4:43 AM by Action for Agriculture
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 
Sub(urban) growth, or “sprawl” as it is often described, elicits various emotions among elected 
officials, policy-makers, planners, land developers, and residents. The phenomenon is either well 
supported or categorically rejected, although for some people a comfortable middle ground 
emerges. Despite the fast pace of growth in Alberta, however, misconceptions, questions, and 
assumptions remain regarding the impact of sprawl on the urban form. 
This research had several goals: 
•  to systematically explore the concerns about suburban development within the existing 
literature 
•  to examine them within an Alberta context—specifically the sub(urban) forms in the major 
cities of Calgary and Edmonton 
•  to identify factors responsible for various settlement forms, through empirical analyses; and 
•  to make policy recommendations 
This report will help inform policy decisions at the local and provincial levels in Alberta. We 
also hope the findings will contribute more broadly to the current national, province-wide, and 
local debate on urban form. The report makes the following broad assertions: 

1.  The provincial government should consider using water as a tool to manage regional growth 
across the province and integrate it with the “efficient use of land” strategy in the Land Use 
Framework. 

2.  Strategy 5 (efficient use of land) in the Land Use Framework should be made a legally 
binding regulatory component of the regional plans. 

3.  Alberta cities will have to design their model of development charges and/or any other form 
of levies to ensure that the cost of new developments can be fully covered. The Municipal 
Government Act should allow municipalities to charge developers for other forms of 
infrastructure such as community facilities for recreation, library, police stations and others. 

4.  For metropolitan areas such as Calgary, Red Deer, Lethbridge, and Medicine Hat, the 
provincial government should consider creating mandatory growth management boards, like 
Edmonton’s Capital Region Board. 

5.  The provincial government should establish regional governance structures to manage each 
region as identified in the Province’s Land Use Framework. 

6.  The provincial government should allow these regional bodies to not only devise policy 
framework with respect to land use, transportation, and housing, but also provide services 
such as transit, police, fire, water, and others as per individual municipal needs, along the 
lines of British Columbia’s regional districts. 

7.  The provincial government should work with the municipal governments—both urban and 
rural—to encourage and facilitate various components of the Transfer of Development 
Credits (such as sending area, receiving area, and the credit transfer system), enabled by the 
Alberta Land Stewardship Act. 

The full report can be downloaded from Alberta Land Institute: 
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