John Lorinc, Corporate Knights
Given that Swedish eco-activist Greta Thunberg has shone a harsh light on air travel, there’s a certain cosmic elegance in the City of Edmonton’s ambitious plans for a 536-acre decommissioned airport site, just minutes from the downtown. Construction crews last year began working on the first phase of Blatchford, a master-planned, mixed-use community that will rise from the sprawling former tarmac over the next 25 years.
What distinguishes this brownfield project isn’t just the size (which happens to be roughly the same as Edmonton’s current downtown). When it’s completed, it will be one of the largest purpose-built sustainable communities in the world, according to municipal officials.
The City of Edmonton, acting as the developer, is rolling out an ambitious low-carbon development strategy that will produce a denser, greener, bike- and pedestrian-friendly community that will feature its own district energy utility, two LRT stops and dwellings built to demanding green-building-code standards. And in a city prone to flooding, the replacement of acres of tarmac with new permeable green spaces (including an 80-acre park) will provide additional benefit. Once complete, Blatchford is expected to be home to 30,000 people (with “homes for all stages of life,” including affordable housing), as well as offices and retail shops in a walkable town centre.