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Micro-Cities that Shape Future Cities: Blatchford Episode 2: Sustainability

District Energy Sharing System for a Micro-City within a City

Image Credit: FutureCite Inc


As a preview to Episode 2, FutureCite chats with Ian O’Donnell on sustainability in Micro-Cities, and following, with Dr. Godo Stoyke on the technical insights of the District Energy Sharing System in Blatchford.




Image Credit: FutureCite inc


In Episode 2,Tom Lumsden, Development Manager of Blatchford, speaks with FutureCite on the sustainability technology initiatives, specifically the District Energy Sharing System (DESS)and the features and benefits to the residents and businesses in Blatchford.



Blatchford is one of the largest sustainable development projects in the world, spanning 536 acres in the heart of Edmonton. Over the next 20 to 25 years, Blatchford will house 30,000 residents in a sustainable “city within a city”, with a central location in close proximity to the amenities of a vibrant downtown district.  The Blatchford vision to create a carbon neutral community that uses 100% renewable energy through energy conservation, energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources – to minimize the community’s environmental impact and ensure community energy resiliency.


    • Homes will have high-performance building envelopes reducing the amount of energy needed for heating;
    • An onsite District Energy Sharing System (DESS), will provide efficient heating and cooling for all buildings in Blatchford; and
    • The DESS will be connected to renewable energy sources such as geo-exchange and sewer heat recovery.
Image Credit: Blatchford





  • Residents can leave their cars at home with so many amenities right inside the community, and streets designed for walking and cycling;
  • Community park spaces give residents the chance to connect with nature, and the community gardens offer residents the ability to grow their own food.
  • Green buildings will use less heat, power and water, and will reduce its ecological footprint by using renewable energy.
Image Credit: Blatchford

 Blatchford will be a self-contained micro-city with family-friendly housing ranging from townhouses, stacked townhouses and four to six storey apartments with outdoor private areas and pedestrian friendly streets, and a seamlessly integrated mix of affordable housing. What will unify the vision for a sustainable community includes everything from the design of the public spaces, and the streets, parks and plazas, to the construction of the buildings.

Image Credit: Blatchford


Major features of Blatchford will include a town centre for neighbourhood amenities, a large central park within walking distance for all residents, a network of open and public green spaces, spaces and trails throughout the community, and spaces for urban agriculture (communal gardens).


Major community features will include:

  • two primarily residential boroughs (Blatchford West and East),
  • large 80 acre central park with ponds –  with other smaller parks distributed through the neighbourhood,
  • town centre – where shops, businesses, apartments, restaurants, etc. meet,
  • civic plaza – large gathering space where festivals and markets are held, and
  • two planned LRT stations within the neighbourhood – with access to the current temporary NAIT station from day one.

All stages of Blatchford will feature:

  • mixed-use buildings to increase amenities and convenience for residents,
  • separated bike lanes,
  • pedestrian-only walkways, and
  • tree-lined streets.

Stay tuned for Episode 3 on Stage 1 of Blatchford, and insights to why and what attracted builders to the communities of Blatchford.

About Tom Lumsden

Image Credit: FutureCite inc

Tom brings over 25 years of knowledge and experience in land development in the public private sectors. He initially started his career with the City of Edmonton and then moved to the private sector initially with Carma, then with Brookfield Residential, most recently as Senior Development Manager.  Tom returned from the private sector to the City of Edmonton as a Director of Development Coordination in 2016, and recently became the Development Manager of Blatchford in 2018.  Tom is a Professional Engineer and a graduate of the University of Waterloo.  He has extensive experience leading and facilitating land development for major projects in Edmonton.  In the Blatchford role, Tom leads the team responsible for the planning, building and sales for Blatchford


About Blatchford Airport, City of Edmonton

Image Credit: WinterE229 WinterforceMedia

Edmonton City Centre Airport (ECCA), also called Blatchford Field, was an airport located within the city of Edmonton, in Alberta, Canada.

The airport, originally called Blatchford Field, was named for the former mayor Kenneth Alexander Blatchford. It later was known as the Edmonton Municipal Airport, then as Edmonton Industrial Airport, and then Edmonton City Centre Airport (ECCA), finally ending as Blatchford Field at Edmonton City Centre Airport.

Image Credit: Lewasc – Own work, CC BY 3.0,

The airport was closed in November 2013, and as of 2018[update], the land is being redeveloped by the City of Edmonton as a planned community called Blatchford.




About Ian O’Donnell
Ian O’Donnell is the Executive Director of the Downtown Business Association for Edmonton Alberta, and brings with him his passion for building livable urban communities, and his experience as a project manager for architecture firm Manasc Isaac, and as volunteer with the Downtown Edmonton Community League and other boards. Ian’s passion rises from being a downtown resident, a community builder and the fearless leader of the Downtown Business Association.  He wears many hats, and for his series, you will hear, see and feel the sounds, sights and visions of citizens, communities and companies going through the impact of the digital transformation – in how they will live, at work and home, and how they will be spending their leisure time.



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