Calgary’s International Avenue Wins National Award

Great communities don’t just happen. They are the result of countless hours of planning as well as input from residents and businesses to form a joint vision of the future.

Calgary’s International Ave. is well known to Calgarians for its diverse shops, eateries and transit-friendly development. Now, it seems the rest of Canada is taking notice of this homemade gem with a Canadian Institute of Planners Award for Planning Excellence. The awards took place last week in Ottawa with Calgary taking home the prize in the City and Regional Planning Category.

Crossing through four separate communities and threaded together by the vibrant 17 Ave. S.E. corridor, the bustling district runs from 26 St. to 61 St. The area is serviced by the newly introduced MAX Purple lane and has undergone major infrastructure upgrades over the past three years.

In awarding Calgary the honour, the jury for the Canadian Institute of Planners pointed to the multi-departmental cooperation by The City as a key to the project’s success.

The jury wrote: “This plan envisions International Avenue as a multi-modal urban boulevard, a thriving residential neighbourhood with multi-functional hubs at key intersections, and a commercial destination. The jury was particularly impressed by the City of Calgary’s ‘One City, One 

Voice’ approach in bringing together different departments to combine their projects and present as one voice to the community and Council for engagement purposes and approval of the plan.”

By cutting through multiple development plans for the separate communities of Forest Lawn, Albert Park/Radisson Heights, Southview and Penbrooke Meadows, the City was able to bring a coordinated vision to the area, something the jury pointed to in awarding the honour.

“This approach offered clarity to stakeholders and communities along International Avenue, as well as being more economical, which led to the successful adoption of the plan. The plan involves a comprehensive and integrated policy approach supported by the communities along International Avenue, business owners and their associations, and City Administration. It is an excellent example of the integration of transportation planning with land use planning to achieve mixed-use, pedestrian, and transit-oriented development.”

City of Calgary Planning Lead Jihad Bitar said The City is proud to have had such strong input from the communities to help realize the International Avenue Area Redevelopment Plan.

“Our goal was to build on all the great urban design and goals that the community had put forth in 2010,” said Bitar.

“The aim was to create a visionary plan for all of International Avenue. This is really a comprehensive and integrated policy approach and we are so excited to be recognized on a national level for this project and to showcase our community partnerships and Calgary’s One City, One Voice initiative.”

The plan outlines the evolution of the popular area for years to come. Click here to learn more about the International Avenue ARP.

Source: City of Calgary