Planning for our shared future: OurWinnipeg & Complete Communities

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Our city is growing and changing. By 2040, our city is expected to grow by more than 160,000 people, add more than 83,000 new jobs, and require approximately 82,000 new housing units. This is equivalent to adding three cities the size of Brandon, MB to the Winnipeg over the next 20 years.

To accommodate this growth, policies, plans and guidelines are being developed and updated to respond appropriately to the changes we face. This website presents two major planning projects and related materials to provide Winnipeggers with an opportunity to learn about how planning shapes our city, and provide feedback on how you would like to see the City grow in the future.

Please take a moment to consider the materials presented. You can ask questions and provide feedback through the tools listed below.


What are we talking about?

OurWinnipeg

This is the City of Winnipeg's city-wide master plan, which guides development through policy.

Complete Communities Direction Strategy 2.0 (CCDS)

Part of the OurWinnipeg master plan, Complete Communities is the primary document for determining how land will be developed as we grow.

Thank you to those who got involved in the virtual events and provided feedback online from July 15 to August 10, 2020. Your feedback is being analyzed and considered to draft the final OurWinnipeg and Complete Communities Direction Strategy 2.0 for Council consideration.

Our city is growing and changing. By 2040, our city is expected to grow by more than 160,000 people, add more than 83,000 new jobs, and require approximately 82,000 new housing units. This is equivalent to adding three cities the size of Brandon, MB to the Winnipeg over the next 20 years.

To accommodate this growth, policies, plans and guidelines are being developed and updated to respond appropriately to the changes we face. This website presents two major planning projects and related materials to provide Winnipeggers with an opportunity to learn about how planning shapes our city, and provide feedback on how you would like to see the City grow in the future.

Please take a moment to consider the materials presented. You can ask questions and provide feedback through the tools listed below.


What are we talking about?

OurWinnipeg

This is the City of Winnipeg's city-wide master plan, which guides development through policy.

Complete Communities Direction Strategy 2.0 (CCDS)

Part of the OurWinnipeg master plan, Complete Communities is the primary document for determining how land will be developed as we grow.

Thank you to those who got involved in the virtual events and provided feedback online from July 15 to August 10, 2020. Your feedback is being analyzed and considered to draft the final OurWinnipeg and Complete Communities Direction Strategy 2.0 for Council consideration.

  • United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Why they matter and what we're doing

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    13 July, 2020
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    OurWinnipeg 2045 recognizes that we need to work together to achieve complex global issues through local leadership and action. OurWinnipeg’s goals, objectives, and policy directions are based on 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and endorsed by the Government of Canada. OurWinnipeg 2045 localizes and condenses the SDGs into six key goals for the City of Winnipeg (see Figure 1 below). This framework provides a basis for achieving sustainable development, respecting human rights and measuring progress.

    Figure 1 - OurWinnipeg Goals

    Moving from Policy to Action

    The revisions to OurWinnipeg 2045 sets the stage for actions and measure progress through strategic policy direction aligned with the SDGs. Policy areas that have been given additional emphasis include:

    • Addressing systemic barriers to participation
    • Integrating Indigenous perspectives
    • Reducing poverty and addressing climate change impacts
    • Understanding the social determinants of health
    • Setting intensification targets for residential development
    • Shifting to more sustainable transportation modes and less reliance on personal vehicles

    The adoption of OurWinnipeg will start the process of creating a Strategic Priorities Action Plan in response to a strong public sentiment about the importance of policy implementation. Taking action on these goals will benefit from collaboration with the community.

    We are using Peg community indicators (OurWinnipeg draft, page 37) as a starting point to understand the current state of the community and prioritize actions that respond to community needs.

  • How we've grown

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    13 July, 2020
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    Like most North American cities, Winnipeg’s urban footprint increased significantly relative to its population in the post-war years. From 1971 to 2019, its settlement area nearly doubled in size (an increase of 92%), while its population only grew by only 37%[1].

    The settlement area includes all urban development used to support Winnipeg’s growth. This definition is similar to that of the Municipal Benchmarking Initiative (MBN) and the map is consistent with the historic 1966 Metropolitan Winnipeg Development Plan ‘Historical Growth Pattern’ map in that it shows all forms of growth by parcel, including golf courses, rail yards, park space, etc.

    Note: This is an informational map only and is not intended to be regulatory or to have any policy implications.

    [1] City of Winnipeg analysis


    At the same time, the population of its Mature Communities declined by 82,000 people between 1971 and 2016[2]. This was largely due to declining household sizes as well as increased economic prosperity allowing people to purchase larger, more land-intensive single-family dwellings with multiple vehicles per household. This decline primarily occurred in the 1970’s and 1980’s and population levels have started to rebound in the 2000’s and 2010’s.

    [2] Statistics Canada



    Our growth patterns have been primarily driven by changing consumer preferences for larger lots and larger homes.

    Source: City of Winnipeg

    In 1918, the average lot size for a single-family detached home was around 4,000 square feet, peaking at around 9,000 square feet in 2000. Recently, average lot sizes have decreased to just over 6,000 square feet.

    In 1918, the average living area for a single family detached home was 997 square feet. This number dropped during the depression and WWII but has been steadily increasing to around 1,700 square feet today.


    These trends have left Winnipeg with an urban fabric that is increasingly difficult to maintain. For example, from 1971 to 2016, Winnipeg’s population grew by 32% but the length of its linear water pipes grew by 131%. With its budgets for both the maintenance and construction of new infrastructure stretched increasingly thin, Winnipeg is struggling to keep up with the needs of a growing city. The 2018 State of the Infrastructure Report estimated its 2018-2027 infrastructure deficit at $6.9 billion, which is exacerbated by limited revenue growth over the previous two decades.

    Source: City of Winnipeg

    Past decade

    Over the last decade, housing preferences in Winnipeg have undergone a dramatic shift, following similar trends in other cities. While single-family dwellings have historically been the preferred housing type going back several generations, the number of multi-family housing starts (semi-detached, row, and apartment dwellings) first exceeded single-family housing starts in 2012. This trend has continued every year since.



    Largely as a result of this market shift, greenfield development has become much more dense than suburbs planned even just ten years ago. Bridgewater Forest, the first phase of the Waverley West suburb, began building in 2007. This area has approximately eight units per net acre (roughly equivalent to Amber Trails or South River Heights). However, more recent developments are planned to accommodate densities between 12 and 15 units per net acre (i.e. between The Maples and Wolseley).

    In contrast to single-family dwellings, the most land-intensive of all dwelling types, multi-family units can be accommodated almost anywhere that is compatible. As a result, intensification has increased, with 45% of all new residential units having been located in the existing built-up area of the city between 2011 and 2018[3].

    [3] City of Winnipeg permit data




    The table below provides a summary of new residential dwelling units by percentage for each area of the existing urban structure from 2011-2018. The urban structure map below the table provides a visual reference to show where these areas as located.



    2011 (%)

    2012

    2013

    2014

    2015

    2016

    2017

    2018

    2011-18

    Existing Built Up Area

    39

    43

    41

    63

    47

    47

    33

    56

    46


    Downtown

    3

    2

    1

    10

    5

    6

    5

    11

    5


    Major Redevelopment Sites

    0

    1

    0

    0

    2

    2

    0

    7

    2


    Corridor frontage

    4

    3

    5

    7

    4

    6

    4

    5

    5


    Areas of Stability (Mature Communities)

    10

    19

    12

    15

    17

    14

    13

    18

    15


    Areas of Stability (Recent Communities)

    21

    17

    22

    31

    19

    18

    11

    15

    19












    Greenfield

    62

    58

    59

    37

    53

    54

    67

    44

    54












    For more information, see the following:

  • Projected growth

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    13 July, 2020
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    After a decade of slow population growth in the 1990s, Winnipeg’s population began increasing steadily in the 2000s as a result of international immigration enabled by Manitoba’s Provincial Nominee Program. Over the 2010s, it is estimated that Winnipeg has grown by more than 95,000 people, a rate of growth more than ten times what was seen in the 1990s.

    This robust population growth is expected to continue over the next 20 years. According to the Conference Board of Canada, the City of Winnipeg will grow by approximately 160,700 people between 2020 and 2040, or about 8,200 people annually. This growth will continue to be driven primarily by international immigration and has been critical in ensuring our workforce can support the needs of an aging population.

    Source: City of Winnipeg Community Trends and Performance Report, Volume 1 for 2020 Budget

    Source: City of Winnipeg Community Trends and Performance Report,
    Volume 1 for 2020 Budget

    As the population increases, so does the need for housing. Based on forecasted growth, Winnipeg will need to accommodate approximately 82,000 new dwellings between 2020 and 2040, or 3,900 new units annually.

    Over the last decade, housing preferences in Winnipeg have undergone a dramatic shift, following similar trends in other cities. While single-family dwellings have historically been the preferred housing type going back several generations, the number of multi-family housing starts (semi-detached, row, and apartment dwellings) has exceeded single-family housing starts every year since 2012.

    The Conference Board of Canada forecasts that the strong interest in multi-family dwellings seen in the 2010s will continue, with approximately 60% of all future units expected to be row houses or apartment units. The City will need to ensure land is continually planned, zoned, and serviced in both greenfield and infill areas to accommodate this growth.

  • What Is a 'Complete Community?'

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    13 July, 2020
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    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.

  • Residential Growth Study - Study area assessment results

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    13 July, 2020

    The 160,000 new residents that are expected to arrive in Winnipeg over the next 20 years offer a golden opportunity to help achieve its city building goals, such as revitalizing neighbourhoods and providing better support to retail, community, and sustainable transportation amenities. However, if managed poorly, their achievement could end up more distant, threatening Winnipeg’s long term sustainability.

    In support of the new OurWinnipeg and Complete Communities 2.0, the Residential Growth Study was undertaken to help determine how Winnipeg could grow in the best way possible. This work consisted of three phases:

    • First, criteria were developed to assess how all areas of the City capable of accommodating significant transformative growth could best deliver upon complete communities principles. These areas included all existing and potential Corridors, Major Redevelopment Sites, and greenfield areas.
    • Second, these assessments were carried out.
    • Finally, three growth scenarios were developed and assessed in relation to complete communities principles.

    Below are the results of the study area assessments. These findings were used to inform key policies in Complete Communities 2.0, including the 50% intensification target, the greenfield phasing plan, and the introduction of Priority Corridors. More detailed information on the assessments can be found here:

    For more information, please see the three growth scenarios.




  • Growth Scenarios - OurWinnipeg Residential Growth Study

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    13 July, 2020
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    The 160,000 new residents that are expected to arrive in Winnipeg over the next 20 years offer a golden opportunity to help achieve its city building goals, such as revitalizing neighbourhoods and providing better support to retail, community, and sustainable transportation amenities. However, if managed poorly, their achievement could end up more distant, threatening Winnipeg’s long term sustainability.

    In support of the new OurWinnipeg and Complete Communities 2.0, the Residential Growth Study was undertaken to help determine how Winnipeg could grow in the best way possible. This work consisted of three phases:

    • First, criteria were developed to assess how all areas of the City capable of accommodating significant transformative growth could best deliver upon complete communities principles. These areas included all existing and potential Corridors, Major Redevelopment Sites, and greenfield areas.
    • Second, these assessments were carried out.
    • Finally, three growth scenarios were developed and assessed in relation to complete communities principles.

    Accommodating 160,000 new Winnipeggers will require about 82,000 new dwelling units, or approximately 1,700 single family dwellings, 400 rows, and 2,000 apartment units a year. The third phase of the Growth Study considered three different ways this housing could be distributed.

    The first scenario considered 60% of all new dwelling units would be accommodated in greenfield areas versus 40% in the existing built-up area. This was considered to be largely status quo, with modest improvements needed to make infill development easier and more desirable to offset the depletion of easier opportunities over the time horizon of the plan. The second scenario considered a 50/50 split, where the greenfield share would decrease slightly over time through a more considerable effort in making infill easier and more desirable. The third considered 40% of new units in the existing built-up area, which would see the greenfield share decrease significantly through a substantial, concerted effort in enabling infill development.

    (It should be noted that the three scenarios were based on the most recent Conference Board of Canada forecast, which contemplated a higher amount of singles-to-multis than what has actually materialized in recent years. Because single family dwellings are difficult to accommodate in infill areas at a significant scale, it will be easier to achieve a more aggressive intensification target if new multifamily units continue to outpace the forecasted rate, and vice versa.)

    The three scenarios were assessed based on their policy and investment implications, conformance with OurWinnipeg sustainable development principles, and other metrics. It was felt that Scenario 2 served as an appropriate target that improved upon a number of City goals, including achievement of the emissions reduction target from the Council-endorsed Climate Action Plan. There was reticence to push hard for Scenario 3, as it was determined that its achievement would require restricting the amount of multifamily units in greenfield areas in spite of a developer’s willingness (keep in mind all three scenarios are working with the same unit type mix). It was felt that this ran contrary to complete communities principles.

    From there, the preferred Scenario 2 was then imported into Complete Communities as the 50% intensification target.

    What do you think – is a 50% intensification target too aggressive, not aggressive, or just right? Let us know!

    For more information, please see the study area assessments.

  • Employment and Commercial Lands Study

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    13 July, 2020

    The City of Winnipeg is forecasted to grow by 160,000 people over the next 20 years. Not only will these future Winnipeggers need places to live, but also places to work and to shop. Understanding how the city’s jobs will change and evolve is a critical piece in planning for growth.

    In support of the new OurWinnipeg and Complete Communities 2.0, an Employment and Commercial Lands Study was undertaken to understand how much land will be needed for industrial and commercial development over the next 20 years. The study also reviewed existing plan policies and provided recommendations to ensure future development best promotes City goals and objectives. The study was led by a consulting team directed by Watson & Associated Economists Ltd.

    Most notably, the study found:

    • The City faces a large shortfall of serviced employment lands to accommodate forecasted growth over the next 20 years.
    • City competitiveness is being compromised by the fact that serviced industrial lands are not sufficiently being brought on-stream and that there is no clear vision or strategy to do so.
    • Capital Region municipalities are becoming increasingly competitive.
    • Existing Complete Communities policy does not adequately protect and manage existing employment lands.
    • There is more than enough vacant commercial land available to accommodate forecasted growth over the next 20 years, and that this surplus will inhibit retail intensification.

    The results of this study were used to inform new Complete Communities policies, most notably found in the Employment Lands and Commercial Areas and Mixed Use Centres sections.

    For more information, please see the final report.