Blatchford Development | ?m | ?s | City of Edmonton

Blatchford: Combining sustainability and urban design
When you look at sustainable communities around the world, each community is unique. They are designed using different technologies and with distinct streets and public spaces based on their individual attributes.

But what will be consistent among them are the principles of sustainable community design.

These are principles that been proven by experts across the globe to be the pillars of creating neighbourhoods that protect our environment and make our communities more attractive, healthier and economically prosperous.

We know that the most sustainable places are those that:
  • are compact with a variety of housing types.
  • have a mix of retail, residential and commercial for their residents.
  • create the opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to walk, cycle or take transit as part of their daily lives.
  • create public spaces that promote people’s happiness and wellbeing (placemaking).
  • preserve open and green spaces.
Last week, the City of Edmonton released the first residential stage plan that showcases how all of these urban design principles will be incorporated into the development.

Stage one rendering: Townhomes along Yorke Mews Walkway

Creating a compact neighbourhood with a variety of housing types is key to sustainability. There will never be another opportunity quite like Blatchford—with 30,000 residents all living sustainably together on 536 acres.
Because Blatchford is about ‘building-in’ and creating a high-density neighbourhood, it will be the first community in Edmonton with only condos, apartments or townhomes (no single family homes). Plus, for the first time in Edmonton, townhomes will be zoned to allow garage suites. In addition to increasing density in the community, the development of these suites will help to create affordable housing options.

Stage one rendering: Mixed-use buildings along one of Blatchford’s main roads

A mixed-use community will have residential, retail, business, educational institutions, and recreational opportunities in close proximity to each other. In addition to contributing to a vibrant street life, a mixed-use development means job creation in the community and convenience for residents.

The first stage of Blatchford will include both residential and retail, and as the community is built out, Blatchford residents will be able to access the majority of their daily needs without leaving the neighbourhood. Amenities like cafes and shops will be close to home, and by carefully considering how people move through the community on foot or by bike, residents will be able to access these local stores without needing a vehicle.

Stage one rendering: Winter skating area/summer lawn event area

Very simply, placemaking is about creating public spaces that promote people’s happiness and wellbeing. Gathering spots in Blatchford will be carefully designed to create places for people to connect. In the first stage, a large open area near the main entrance to the neighbourhood will act as a skating area in the winter and a summer lawn/event area in the summer.

Stage one in Blatchford will include other distinctive placemaking elements like a community fire pit, fruit orchards, community gardens and a playground.

Stage one rendering: Pond and park

With more than double the amount of green space typically devoted to a development (121 acres of parks and open spaces total), the opportunities for residents to walk, picnic, cycle, sit and just hang out will be at every corner and within a few minutes walk of every home.

Multi-use trails will be built throughout the community, including in the 80 acre central park. To increase biodiversity, parts of the first stormwater pond will be designed as engineered wetlands where plants can thrive and where birds and other small animals have a healthy habitat to live.

The stage one plan showcases what a community looks like when urban design principles are put into action, and when places are created that prioritize people!

Find out more about the project, and see the detailed stage one map, at and follow @Blatchfordyeg on Twitter and
Forty per cent of Edmontonians prepared to move to Blatchford
About 40 per cent of Edmontonians would be prepared to call the future Blatchford neighbourhood home and 90 per cent of local builders are willing to build there, according to new survey results.

The city had Leger marketing conduct the survey as it moves closer to opening up the development for construction and home sales.

The company found that 38 per cent of people in the census metropolitan area, which includes outlying communities, would consider the neighbourhood.

It also found up to two thirds of those interested would be willing to pay a bit more to have their heating and cooling delivered through a district energy system.

Full Story (Metro Edmonton)
With the winter months quickly approaching, the 2016 construction season at Blatchford is coming to an end. Over the last several months, crews have been hard at work preparing the site for stage one residential construction by installing select portions of the sanitary and storm sewer mains.

The sanitary sewer line connecting the future stage one residential area to the offsite sewer line is now virtually complete. This sanitary sewer line will eventually service the entire west side.

Work on the first stormwater pond is also now complete for the season with the construction of the storm sewer line as well as the inlets and outlet which allow water to enter into and drain out of the pond. Read more about the construction of the first stormwater pond in the September construction update.

Below are a few photos of the work that took place in October.


Construction crews complete work on the three inlets and one outlet for the stormwater pond. The inlets and outlet regulate the water level.

Construction crews complete work on the three inlets and one outlet for the stormwater pond. The inlets and outlet regulate the water level.

Construction crews work to backfill and compact sand over the sanitary sewer line.


The vertical pipe is a manhole that connects to the existing sewer line. Crews are excavating to tie the new line into the existing combined sewer that currently runs across Blatchford.
Via email:

A new look at a new community!
We recently launched a new website which will show you what life in Blatchford will really be like! Find out more about everything from our energy efficient homes to our parks and green spaces at

Interested in keeping up with the latest news?

Follow us on Twitter (@blatchfordyeg) and Facebook (


What will life in Blatchford be like?

People hoping to call themselves the very first Blatchford residents can now get a better look at what life in Blatchford will be like! The detailed plans and new renderings for the first residential stage and community park are now available. Stage one of the development will be located on the west side of the site and will consist of approximately 250 townhome and condo units.

Some of the elements being built into the first stage include:

  • Incorporation of heritage elements like recycled runway benches and other heritage features that will honour the site's historical aviation significance.
  • Separated bike lanes and custom designed streets that prioritize pedestrians, active modes of transportation and use of public transit.
  • Urban gardens and fruit orchards with rainwater collection systems for watering.
  • Community gathering places including a summer event/winter skating area, playground and public plaza.
  • Enhanced and innovative landscaping features like tree planting cells, landscaped laneways, and treed boulevards.
See the full plan and renderings here.


The results are in...

What's happening on site?

Many Edmontonians are eagerly waiting for the first buildings to be constructed at Blatchford. But before the energy-efficient condos and townhomes can go up, a network of underground utilities has to be installed.

Over the past several months, construction crews installed select portions of the storm and sanitary service connections at Blatchford to prepare the site for development.

Find out more about the work on site!
Edmonton's Blatchford to include 'passive' houses with small heaters
Edmonton is staring at a scaled-back $19-million loan to achieve its green targets in the new Blatchford neighbourhood, and will let some homes disconnect from the heating grid.

Those homes — up to five per cent of the total units in Phase 1 — would be built to a so-called “passive-house standard,” which means they are so energy efficient, they are heated with a small electric heater in the fresh air-exchange system.

They require 10 per cent of the energy of a normal home, said David Dodge, who spoke to council as co-chair of the city’s energy transition advisory committee. “You can heat a passive house with two hairdryers.”
City Council approves District Energy Sharing System for Blatchford

December 9, 2016

The Blatchford project took a significant step forward yesterday in the plan to create one of the world’s largest sustainable communities. Edmonton City Council has
approved the framework for a Renewable Energy Utility for the community as well as $19.4 million to fund the initial stages of the system.

The Renewable Energy Utility is based on a District Energy Sharing System.
The system will deliver heating, cooling and hot water to the buildings in Blatchford and is a critical component in achieving Council’s ambitious goals for a carbon-neutral community that uses 100 per cent renewable energy.

“Blatchford will influence the way the world thinks about sustainable development, but only if our approach to energy usage is ambitious and creative with an ongoing commitment to visionary leadership,” says Mayor Don Iveson. “Building a District Energy Sharing System that is flexible to incorporate future technologies and that will eventually serve 30,000 residents is a perfect example of how this neighbourhood will help to position Edmonton as a leader in sustainability.”

The District Energy Sharing System is designed to reduce overall energy requirements of Blatchford. The system is comprised of three main features, including energy sharing between buildings, shallow geo-exchangeharnessing geothermal energy, and sewer heat recovery. The system is part of a larger energy strategy for the community.

District Energy Sharing System Quick Facts:

  • While district energy systems exist across the world, the scale and size of the system at Blatchford make it first of its kind in North America.
  • The heating, cooling (air-conditioning) and production of hot water are provided to buildings through a centralized system that allows the same unit of energy to be shared. The system can exchange energy between buildings by capturing excess energy from buildings and sharing it with other buildings across the neighbourhood. It can also share energy between seasons by capturing and storing summer heat energy to be used in the winter months.
  • The system was developed by a team of Canada’s leading experts in green energy, and the strategy provides a tailor-made, whole site solution that leverages unique on-site resources.
    • At least 56 per cent of Blatchford’s energy needs will be delivered through renewable means. The investigation for how to provide the other 44 per cent for plug loads (appliances, lights, etc) is underway.
    • Greenhouse gas emissions from the buildings in Blatchford will be approximately 75 per cent less than in a ‘business as usual’ community. In Blatchford, this equates to a reduction of about 42,000 tonnes/year of greenhouse gases, which is equal to the CO2 emissions from burning approximately 20 million kilograms of coal or consuming approximately 18 million litres of gasoline.
  • The system has the ability to potentially incorporate technologies not yet in existence.
The District Energy Sharing System is an extremely energy efficient way to provide heating, cooling and hot water to homes. Combined with the energy efficient building standards that Blatchford will use, the system will make great strides in achieving Council's 100 per cent renewable and carbon neutral goals. Construction of the first stage of residential buildings and a section of the central park will begin in 2017.

For more information:

Media contact:

Cheryl Mitchell
Communications Advisor, City of Edmonton
Edmonton's Blatchford primed to move forward
Blatchford reached a milestone Tuesday, as councillors on the executive committee approved a plan that lets development restart.

The plan, which requires council approval Thursday, could see the city spend up to $19 million to start the first phase of the district energy system, which is planned to distribute energy to multiple buildings via heat from the sewer, ground or sun.

The $19 million would initially come from tax-supported debt, but Mayor Don Iveson said the city expects to recover those dollars through utility fees.

“It would only be an issue for the taxpayer is something goes catastrophically wrong,” he said. “We’re protected against all the risks. This is proven technology … the intent for this is to be self-funding.”
City Council approves District Energy Sharing System for Blatchford!

We know it’s too soon for the next edition of our quarterly newsletter, but this news was just too big to wait until next year!

Blatchford has just reached a major milestone in the project with the recent City Council approval of the Renewable Energy Utility for Blatchford. The utility will be based on a District Energy Sharing System, which is an extremely energy efficient way to provide heating, cooling and hot water to homes and buildings. Combined with the energy efficient building standards that Blatchford will use, the system will make great strides in achieving the community's 100% renewable energy, carbon neutral goal.

In addition to the exciting environmental outcomes that will be achieved with this system, it also means that construction on the first residential stage and section of park can begin in 2017.

Here is how it all works!




Bodes extremely well for denser more integrated communities in the future, particularly for cities like Edmonton where winter energy consumption spikes. This update is all about "energy", but, too, the social impact of such a well-planned community should not be overlooked. This is a very interesting concept to follow. I believe that this community will be one of the most "livable" in North America. Proximity to NAIT makes for very intense town-centre possibilities.
Street names take off: Blatchford development could pay homage to its aviation roots
Edmonton’s little-known aviation pioneers may not be forgotten when streets begin to line the former City Centre Airport.

Though it’s not the final proposal, the city’s Cory Sousa said planners are in ongoing discussions to potentially name streets in the Blatchford development after Edmonton’s first aviation experts and even the runway numbers.

“We’re looking at a unique naming situation,” said Sousa, who manages the naming of streets. “But will still have a lot more consulting to do.”
This is brilliant! Hopefully they can also name lanes and bike paths. I like that bike paths are separated from vehicular streets and from sidewalks (that could also be named). I was unsure of this development when it looked like the City was backing away from the unique character possibilities and the "green" technology aspects. With recent articles my faith is being restored.
I still hope there will be at least a boardwalk or some sort of promenade along the east side of the lake... If they can keep that in, it will still be a great resource for the city.

With the recent approval of the renewable energy strategy for Blatchford, the City of Edmonton can now start major construction at the site. It’s shaping up to be a busy year as crews will be preparing the site for the first stage of residential units as well as the construction of a section of the central park.

Here’s a quick look at the big items planned for 2017!

  • Stage 1 residential onsite servicing. The first stage in Blatchford will include approximately 250 condominium and townhome units. Before our homebuilders can start constructing these energy-efficient homes, we first have to service the area. This includes installing underground utilities like sanitary sewers, storm sewers, and water lines. In Blatchford’s case, this also involves adding special infrastructure to accommodate the District Energy Sharing System, which will provide the heating, cooling and hot water to the homes.

  • Roads and laneways. Once the underground utilities have been installed, roads and laneways (alleys) will start to be built. Blatchford has custom designed streets, including laneways with landscaping and lighting in the areas where garage suites will be permitted. Incorporating these elements will make the lane feel more like a street and will help create a different type of public space.

  • District Energy Sharing System (DESS). The majority of 2017 will be spent finalizing the DESS technical documents for construction tendering later this year and setting up the municipal utility that will run the system. Drilling of the boreholes for the shallow geo-exchange and construction of the energy centre (building which will house the equipment) may begin in late 2017.

  • Selecting our homebuilders. Blatchford will be no ordinary community and that means choosing homebuilders who match our vision and our philosophy about creating a different kind of neighbourhood. Our builders will be selected through a competitive process and we expect to be able to announce them later this year. Once our homebuilders have been selected, they will begin pre-sales in 2018 to allow people to secure their spot as one of very first residents!