A national association of planners has recognized Edmonton for its shift away from mandatory minimum parking and for its new City Plan's commitment to compact growth.
On July 15, the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) presented its Award for Planning Excellence in New and Emerging Planning Initiatives to the Open Option Parking project, which removed parking minimums from zoning bylaws in favour of "right-sizing" the number of parking spots according to market demand.
"The jury applauds the City of Edmonton for its leadership on this project and being the first major Canadian city to take such a drastic step away from regulatory parking," the CIP said in its award announcement.
"On-site parking runs anywhere from $7,000 to $60,000 per stall," read the article. "This high cost … has created significant economic barriers to affordable housing development and the ability for new businesses to open in Edmonton."
CIP also presented an award of merit in City and Regional Planning to the Edmonton City Plan for its approach to managing the city's growth, and for the creative community engagement that informed the final document.
"The Edmonton City Plan is a comprehensive document that promoted the means to move Edmontonians forward with focus, boldness, and agility within the global context," the CIP jury wrote.
Howaida Hassan, the city's general supervisor of urban growth who helped develop the City Plan, explained that while it projects the city's population will double within the next 50 years, one of the main goals is to ensure this growth can be accommodated within the city's current boundaries.
"It's about considering all these systems and networks together," she said. "If we grow more compactly, we will have to annex less, and won't have to invest any more land as we welcome the next million residents."