Growing Smarter

A little density, a lot of sustainability.

In the past, Calgary’s population bursts have sometimes felt like a mad scramble as housing struggled to keep up. Luckily, Calgary has always had vast spaces to grow into while maintaining our renowned river pathways, abundant parks and burgeoning industry within existing city limits.

Until recently, that planned expansion outward was believed to be the best thing for both housing affordability and infrastructure efficiency. Now, governments and the building industry agree that in order for growth to be sustainable, we must also include redevelopment of existing communities.

Over the past decade, Calgary’s urban expansion has shifted to include a balance of increased density in both established and new communities. Innovative approaches to development are making the most of Calgary’s urban footprint.

While gains in population have remained relatively steady, our consumption of new land has dropped dramatically.

Read more about increasing suburban density at

Increased density in urban areas often has a positive impact on the economic, social and cultural health of their community, in part because residents value the local shopping experience.  A study of Canadian downtowns by the Canadian Urban Institute found:

“…promising trends for downtown retail are emerging... In the same way that retailers followed residents out to suburban areas in the postwar era, so too are retailers following people back into the core.

Kensington is a great example of a main street shopping area making a comeback. The current densification plans could result in a 25% increase in Kensington’s residential population over 10 years, and for a lot of people, that’s enticing. 

New developments often incorporate main streets and boast increased density, creating more Calgary communities where residents enjoy socializing, walking and working in a relaxed atmosphere.

September 27th, 2014
Updated: September 14th, 2017

We've gotten much better at making the most of our land.