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Guelph plans an innovative new carbon neutral community

The City of Guelph's Guelph Innovation District Secondary Plan is the 2018 winner in the sustainable neighbourhood revitalization and design category of FCM's Sustainable Communities Awards.

Aerial photo of the Guelph Innovation District site.
The Guelph Innovation District will be a sustainable employment-residential community connected to surrounding green space and the larger city. (Photo: City of Guelph, ON)

How can the City of Guelph, ON, meet its target to grow the population to 175,000 by 2031 without expanding the city's boundaries? One significant contribution to this goal is the revitalization of a parcel of land that housed a former correctional institution into a new mixed-use community that will embody the municipality's core environmental, economic social and cultural development objectives. The innovative design aims to be carbon neutral and connected to the natural surroundings, and will provide space for people to live, work, shop, play and learn.

Design sets out an efficient, sustainable live-work community

The new Guelph Innovation District (GID) community will use efficient and sustainable design to support a range of employment, housing commercial and recreational spaces. The village will focus on higher-density housing, such as apartments and townhouses, to accommodate a planned 6,650 people. Residential areas will be separated from the existing heavy industry on the site, which will remain in the new community to provide employment. About 8,650 research, development and green technology jobs will be created in the new community.
The carbon neutral vision includes reducing transportation needs and maximizing green energy sources.

Plan envisions a carbon neutral development

The village is intended to be carbon neutral with a focus on sustainable energy sources. Buildings will be oriented to maximize their potential for solar energy, and efficient building standards and construction methods will be followed. The mix of land uses will encourage a carbon-neutral lifestyle for residents. The village design will favour walking, biking and public transit over cars, and the project will protect, showcase and provide public access to well-loved green spaces to the public.

New village supports City's economic, environmental, social and cultural planning goals

The 436-hectare GID is planned as an integrated mixed-use community, which will connect to the surrounding green space, as well as the downtown and University of Guelph communities. The GID is also closely connected with the City's goals, and plans integrate specific targets that meet the objectives of City plans including the Local Growth Management Strategy, Prosperity 2020 Economic Development Strategy, Agri-Innovation Cluster Strategy and Community Energy Initiative. 

Learn more about this project

Want to develop a similar project in your community? This spring, we'll publish a video of the project team's presentation at FCM's 2018 Sustainable Communities Conference, along with a guide.

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FCM's Sustainable Communities Awards recognize and celebrate sustainability leaders and trailblazers in municipalities of all sizes across Canada.

Page Updated: 01/02/2018