Designing the Emerald Crescent
for the Decoteau Area Structure Plan
The City of Edmonton engaged Ryerson University Master of Planning students to help imagine the development of a new community that builds around a parks and open space system. As the city continues to grow, the Urban Analytics department is focusing on a proactive approach to community-building that protects the landscape’s unique rolling topography and ensures safe passages for wildlife movement alongside development.
This project, Designing the Emerald Crescent for the Decoteau Area Structure Plan, presents an opportunity to apply the Breathe: Edmonton’s Green Network Strategy (the “Breathe Strategy”) vision and principles to an area of Edmonton expecting future urban development. Leading with landscape in Decoteau presents possibilities and opportunities to challenge the way plans for future communities arise.
The Studio Team developed a vision for the Emerald Crescent, an interconnected network of parks and open spaces in the Decoteau Area. This vision is: “The Emerald Crescent will be Edmonton’s newest and best connected parks and open space system. A hidden gem in the Decoteau neighbourhood where water, wildlife, and people will flow seamlessly across the rolling terrain.”
The Ryerson Team’s project was informed by a mixed-methods approach to research that benefited from the opportunity to visit the site in March 2018 and to connect directly with City staff and identified stakeholders. This vision draws on the unique topography and significant environmental features found on the site – a natural gem in Decoteau. Building off the strong foundations of the Breathe Strategy and the Open Space Policy (C594) framework, the site visit, interviews with local stakeholders, and survey results from the Insight Survey platform, three mutually inclusive perspectives were created to help realize this vision. They are: a place to breathe, a place to connect, and a place to explore. All three perspectives help to illustrate to Edmontonians the possibilities for what the Emerald Crescent can be for the projected 75,000 future residents across the 1,960-hectares neighbourhood.