Your community is a place in which you live, grow and enjoy your city. It’s a place a lot of us feel connected to socially, emotionally and financially.

When we plan a community’s future, it can support our city’s economy and economic recovery, provide a choice of homes we want to live in throughout our life, and offer social equity so you feel welcome regardless of your income, cultural background or stage in life. The goal is to build on what makes your community great now, so it can continue to be great for both you and others who will move there.

The Guidebook for Great Communities is used by citizens and City Planners, when we plan future growth in communities, as part of the formal local area planning process.

We’d love to hear about your community- what you love about it and what’s missing. It could be housing, amenities, services, parks, transportation options, places to learn, or others. We’ve provided more information about the six principles and forms of growth (Urban Form Categories) to help you share your ideas.

Your participation will give City Planners, Councillors, and your Community Associations perspective on what’s important to you in your community and how we can better plan for its future.


There are six principles for great communities (you can read more on pages 12-13 in the Guidebook):

  1. Opportunity & Choice
  2. Health & Wellness
  3. Social Interaction
  4. Natural Environment
  5. Economic Vitality
  6. Identity & Place

Great communities are made up of great places where people gather, eat, shop, work, move, and play. Add a marker to the map below. Show us a place or places you love in your community or in an area you visit and tell us why you love it.


The six principles mentioned above support the physical characteristics of your community – or Urban Form Categories (UFC) in Chapter 2 (page 26) of the Guidebook. Placed in the right areas of a community, the different UFCs shape the overall growth, stability, and vibrancy of your community’s future. Local area planning considers how they relate to and support each other within communities and among communities that border each other. It’s a responsible way to plan our city, as we grow to 2 million people.

  • Residential

    Referred to as Neighbourhood in the Guidebook.

    This UFC type plans for different types of housing; such as, single-detached homes, semi-detached homes, row houses, apartment, etc. The goal is to support redevelopment so that there can be different housing choices in every community, and more people can live closer to more amenities.

  • Commercial

    This UFC type plans for places where people go to shop, gather or use services. People can live in and around these areas. We plan these areas to accommodate more people moving and gathering along the street.

  • Recreation

    This UFC type plans for areas that provide a range of opportunities for people to play, relax, recreate and connect. They can be natural or built, public or private. These areas support individual health and well-being, while also support efforts to address climate change.

  • Industrial

    This UFC type is generally located outside of residential areas. These areas are critical to supporting economic diversity and are a major driver in employment and business investment into our city. It’s important redevelopment considers the ways employees move to and around these areas.

  • Government services

    Referred to as Regional Campus in the Guidebook.

    This UFC type is large sites regulated by the provincial or federal government. Examples include airports, railyards, hospitals and post-secondary institutions. They are important hubs for learning, moving goods and people, and our health care resources.


As you, your family, your friends and neighbours grow, what is your community missing that will keep it the great community you know?

Is it missing more housing options or areas for more housing options that will accommodate our aging population and growing youth? What about more retail or services options so you don’t have to drive somewhere for a few groceries or an appointment? Are there enough places to play and learn?

Using the five UFC types, show how you think the Guidebook could support the evolution of your Community.



You are the heart of Calgary's communities, making them dynamic and vibrant places to live and grow.

Our diverse population - whether it be age, income level, stage of life, culture, needs or wants - is reflected in each of our communities. To support the diversity of people living in our communities now and in the future, it is important to provide a broad range of housing types and choices. With choice, people an choose to stay and grow in their neighbourhoods, regardless of age, income, stage of life or cultural background.

It allows a community to prosper and be full of life, from generation to generation. A diverse and vibrant community means communities are successful over a longer period of time because they can adapt as people's preferences change over time. They also support schools, community services and local businesses, places to gather and interact, and natural areas to explore and play.


Click on the various red icons on the image below to read stories about people's different housing needs.


As soon as you walk out your door, you’re participating in your community. You may be walking, cycling, driving, or playing and relaxing in a park. The places that we love in our communities - shops, plazas, schools, workplaces, grocery stores and parks - all have one thing in common: they need people to thrive and prosper. These are all examples of activity in which we participate when we experience our community.

Activity is created by people moving in-and-out of buildings and mingling along the street.

The different levels of activity in a community reveal important patterns and clues about how it can successfully adapt in the future. We’re growing our communities, based on different activity levels within communities and between neighbouring communities.


Our communities should support the lifestyles of the people who live there now and be able to adapt to the needs and wants of people who will move there in the future. We want to make sure our communities include buildings, streets and green spaces that offer choice and diversity in which we live, work and play on a day-to-day basis.

Having these places and activities, closer to where you live allows for a variety of mobility choices, no matter how you choose to travel in your neighbourhood or to others. It also encourages investments into our communities to make them even better.


Click on the various red icons on the image below to read more on how we can design spaces for activity and diversity, which keep our communities strong and prosperous into the future.


Learn more about the Guidebook for Great Communities

We are offering four virtual presentations and Q&A forums if you are interested in learning more about the Guidebook.

We’ll cover why the Guidebook is necessary, the changes we made from Council’s direction in July 2020, how we use it with communities to plan for growth and application in community growth:

There are a number of other online Guidebook resources available to you, if you can’t make one of these sessions: