Sometimes it’s hard to get excited about urban planning. Even though it affects Edmontonians everyday, when done well, you don’t even notice the hard work that goes into planning. The best design, as they say, is often the least visible. However, when speaking with Kalen Anderson, Acting Director Urban Policy & Analysis, the excitement is contagious.
It’s her passion, and the talent and hard work of the City planners in the Sustainable Development Department at the City, that makes the award announcements from the Alberta Professional Planners Institute so exciting. It’s a chance to celebrate the work of Edmonton’s city builders who sometimes fly below the radar.
Last week the City of Edmonton’s city planners won three Awards of Merit from the Alberta Professional Planners Institute. The three award-winning projects are diverse, but all contribute meaningfully to building a vibrant quality of life for Edmontonians across the city:
- The Neon Sign Museum won an Award of Merit in the Special Study category. The museum was brought about because hard-working Heritage Planners, members of the arts community, the Alberta Sign Association and the Downtown Business Association saw a way to preserve the beautiful neon signs that used to light up our city’s streets. The museum is the first of its kind in Canada; it’s a free, public collection of neon signs. It contributes to a vibrant public realm filled with art and light.
- The McKernan-Belgravia Station Area Redevelopment Plan won an Award of Merit in the Comprehensive and Policy Plan category.This plan provides a clear framework for the design and development of transit-oriented spaces. The work that was done here will help guide and shape growth in these neighbourhoods for many years to come to best enable context-specific change around a key LRT location and foster a growing neighbourhood hub.
- Designing New Neighbourhoods: Guidelines for Edmonton’s Future Residential Communities won an Award of Merit in the Comprehensive and Policy Plan category.These important guidelines came about through intensive community and City collaboration. They provide a new framework for developing creative, innovative and sustainable neighbourhoods in Edmonton’s newly developing areas; and they’re an integral part of our growth plan identified in The Way We Grow.
And finally, a note on public engagement: City planners are only as good as the city’s community members who bring their expertise and insight to the discussion. The success of these projects is not just because of the immensely talented city planners, but because of the collaboration with the community.
It’s a true “one city” effort!