Urban, Suburban, Regional and Wet Growth in Alberta
Post date: Mar 28, 2020 11:43:18 AM
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
• 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
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: