Exceptional Lifestyle within a Sustainable Development
Just north of the County of Leduc, at Edmonton’s southwestern boundary, are the Windermere and Heritage Valley Areas. Encompassing over 4400 hectares (approximately 10,872 acres) and conveniently located at the halfway point between downtown and the Edmonton International Airport, these areas were primarily home to agricultural activity and larger estate homes prior to development.
Development began in earnest after the adoption and approval of the “Heritage Valley Servicing Concept Design Brief” in 2001[i]. This document laid out the major themes of this development where the guiding principles of the 14 neighbourhoods were laid out in detail. Heritage Valley will eventually be home to over 90,000 people on approximately 2000 hectares of land[ii].
The guiding idea behind the development of the 14 neighbourhoods of the Heritage Valley Area is the concept of New Urbanism[iii]. This concept focuses on human-scale urban design, with emphasis on creating opportunities for people to live, work and attend school within or near their own neighbourhoods. Application of this concept has lead planners of Heritage Valley to create commercial and convenience nodes that can be accessed easily by more than one neighbourhood on paths and routes that do not necessitate motor vehicles.
This new design paradigm differs from older neighbourhoods where strip malls and schools are accessed primarily by vehicles on major roadways and/or connector roads. New Urbanism stresses walkability, community paths, recreational areas and centres that allow for interaction of neighbours in common areas. Recreational opportunities in the form of community gardens, rinks, playgrounds, splash parks and extensive networks of paved pathways are integrated to allow for gathering points and meeting places between and among the neighbourhoods.
These meeting places will be interwoven with the Blackmud and Whitemud Creek Ravines, passive and active parks, landscaped features, and other designs to highlight and celebrate the geological features found in Southwest Edmonton. The ravines are home to a diverse population of flora and fauna including over 170 vascular plant species, 70 species of birds including the Great Horned Owl, Bald Eagle and Hawk. There are also large and small mammals including coyotes, fox, moose, deer, hares, squirrels, mice and voles – among others[iv].
The Heritage Valley area will have at its core a Town Centre. This area will be served by an LRT station and have paths and transit to get residents in and out of their neighbourhoods and into the heart of the development. Heritage Valley Town Centre will be home to a high school, commercial developments and parks and will act as a hub for the community. The Town Centre will be modeled after a small town’s downtown: “The Town Centre design is inspired by the imagery of a lively small town main street with unique architecture, pedestrian oriented streetscapes, canopies and decorative lighting”[v].
The emphasis on sustainable living and living in concert with, and in celebration of, the natural landscape are primary goals of this development. Gathering places, green spaces and recreational opportunities, paths and parks of all sizes bring residents together. Landscaping and streetscapes add to the value of these developments.
Planning and development of the Heritage Valley Area marks a departure for the City of Edmonton in terms of how development is considered. This large-scale approach to the planning of Heritage Valley allows for growth and sustainable development far into the future. Emphasis is on placing higher value on land and being more aware of our impact on the environment while providing citizens areas for recreation and community building. Heritage Valley and its embrace of New Urbanism allows for development, higher quality of life and better health outcomes[vi] while controlling sprawl and the consumption of our natural environs and habitats[vii].
Edmonton and its focus on sustainable neighbourhoods and developments contribute to its reputation as being a great place to live, work and play. The addition of these exciting, modern and sustainable neighbourhoods that offer such a high quality of life give substance to these perceptions.
Call Sean today @ 587-986-9545 to start your search in these contemporary and sustainable neighbourhoods of Southwest Edmonton:
Blackmud Creek Hay Ridge
Callaghan Heritage Valley Town Centre