What Is a 'Complete Community?'

13 July, 2020

Complete communities are places that both offer and support a variety of lifestyle choices, providing opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to live, work, shop, learn and play in close proximity to one another.

  1. Preservation of heritage sites
  2. High frequency transit
  3. Mixed developments – housing, retail, public space, etc.
  4. Promotion of arts and culture
  5. Local employment options
  6. Connected transit, pedestrian, bike routes
  7. High quality local spaces
  8. Housing options/affordability
  9. Complete streets – cars, bikes, pedestrians
  10. Safe and accessible
  11. Schools
  12. Parking
  13. Parks
  14. Urban forest

Characteristics of Complete Communities

  • Complete communities provide options for accessing services, amenities, and community resources by ensuring that most of the daily necessities of life — services, facilities, and amenities — are readily accessible.

  • Complete communities facilitate a range of transportation options.

  • Complete communities celebrate diversity and provide housing options that accommodate a range of incomes and household types for all stages of life.

  • Complete communities provide options for local employment, while recognizing that not everyone will live close to where they work.

  • Complete communities safeguard natural areas, such as wetlands and urban forests, for the protection of biodiversity and the integrity of ecosystems

  • Complete communities protect, preserve, and promote cultural, built and natural heritage resources to maintain an important connection to history, identity, cultural perspectives, and sense of place.

  • Complete communities support good health, well-being and social interaction through a well- connected built environment that offers many options for active living and interactions between people, including safe, inclusive, and universally accessible open spaces.

  • Complete communities provide access to healthy and affordable food.

  • Complete communities also help us to meet our sustainability goals, which include better air quality, resource efficiency, waste management, and climate change mitigation as well as adaptability to climate change and resilience to natural disasters.

  • Communities are living, dynamic and unique entities that evolve over time. The concept of complete communities is directly applicable to every part of the city, while recognizing the unique aspects that differentiate one community from another. Reflecting on the level of completeness of communities is a key step to developing, exploring, and comparing ideas for improving them.


  • Communities are living, dynamic and unique entities that evolve over time. The concept of complete communities is directly applicable to every part of the city, while recognizing the unique aspects that differentiate one community from another. Reflecting on the level of completeness of communities is a key step to developing, exploring, and comparing ideas for improving them.


Is Cold Weather a Barrier to Complete Communities?

The short answer is no. Whether it’s rain (Portland, Ore. and Vancouver, B.C.), extreme heat (Miami, Fla. and Phoenix, Ariz.) or snow (Montreal, Que. and Ottawa, Ont.) – cities can adapt to their unique climates.

Winnipeg’s cold weather climate creates a host of benefits. However, it also poses challenges that we must overcome to best handle the demands of the weather and to fully embrace the season, while taking care of our vulnerable citizens.

By applying planning and design approaches suited to our unique climate, Winnipeg can mitigate some of the discomfort and inconveniences of winter. This positive approach can also make winter more enjoyable for everyone and bolster our community’s ability to attract new businesses and residents.

Recognizing this, cities such as Minneapolis and Edmonton – whose climates are similar to Winnipeg’s – have also been prioritizing the concept of complete communities in their development plans.

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