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Sneak Preview: Ian O’Moments: Micro-Cities that Shape Future Cities: Blatchford Episode 1

Transforming Municipal Airport Lands into Sustainable Housing Communities

Image Credit: FutureCite Inc

Blatchford has quite the history – development of the former municipal airport with an infamous past as the historic “Gateway to the North”.

In this Episode 1, FutureCite speaks with Tom Lumsden, Development Manager of Blatchford, on how the history of the airport is embodied into initiatives throughout the communities in Blatchford, the key features and its focus to a mixed demographic – from millennials to young families and empty nesters.

Blatchford demonstrates Edmonton’s commitment to achieving a healthier, more sustainable and enriched lifestyle for people.

Image Credit: 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 future “city within a city”, with a central location in close proximity to the amenities of a vibrant downtown district.

Image Credit: FutureCite inc
Image Creidt: IanO’Donnell







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.

Image Credit: Blatchford


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.




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 and trails throughout the community, and spaces for urban agriculture (communal gardens).

Image Credit: FutureCite Inc







Major features 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 2 on Blatchford’s sustainable energy system that will service 30,000 residents and businesses in its communities.

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. Source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmonton_City_Centre_(Blatchford_Field)_Airport


About Ian O’Donnell

Image Credit: FutureCite Inc

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 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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