The City of Edmonton is acting as the master land developer of the Blatchford site.
The Blatchford Redevelopment Office directs the planning and design of the neighbourhood, along with the installation of necessary infrastructure like sewers, streets and parks. Contractors put the shovels in the ground. Lots are sold to private builders, who work within customized architectural and green building codes. Residents buy their homes from the builders, just like anywhere else.
While it might not look much different in terms of processes and approvals, the City can take the time to implement design features not found elsewhere. Recognizing the rapidly changing world of energy use, the high efficiency district energy system literally uses energy from the ground to heat and cool homes. In coming years, heat from sewage systems will also be harnessed providing another renewable energy source for the system.
Other differences will be more obvious. Instead of driving up to an entry wall, pedestrians and cyclists will enter Blatchford through a soaring arrival gate that leads to amenities like a skating area and a mini apple orchard. The old air traffic control tower remains a visual reminder of the former city centre airport, one of many distinctive nods to the neighbourhood’s past.
Blatchford will more closely resemble a central neighbourhood, but with innovative features that make it even more inviting. Narrow streets naturally encourage slower speeds, while wider sidewalks, ample boulevards and rain gardens invite residents to get outside. Some homes actually open up right onto pedestrian walkways. The attention to design isn’t an afterthought, it’s the driving force.