Griesbach demonstrates urban design success at many levels, creating a new community unlike anything else in suburban Edmonton. It raises the bar for quality of the public realm in Edmonton.
Redevelopment of the 620-acre former Canadian Forces army base, designed for 13,000 people, is about 25% built and will be completed over the next 10 years. Given its context, it is primarily residential, but includes a village centre and transit-oriented mixed-use centre. The builders are upper scale including Homes by Avi, Dream Homes by Krisner, Landmark Classic & Legacy Homes and Coventry Homes.
Tree-lined roadways focus on a central man-made hill. Paths integrated into the overall green system and adjacent neighborhoods accompany a waterway system. This design, combined with traffic calming, heritage interpretation, and the dispersal of parks makes it very people-friendly.The neighborhood names program is based on regimental history, peacekeepers, famous battles, war heroes, military nurses, and Victoria Cross winners.
Griesbach’s guidelines promote diversity, with an eclectic mix of housing forms and styles from garage suites to apartments; homes for families, seniors, and a veterans’ centre. Subdivisions have been designed around existing housing; some were relocated on new foundations. Right in the community is the Major General Griesbach Elementary School from Kindergarten to Grade 9.
Saving and relocating existing vegetation creates the feel of an established community; plans are to integrate evergreen rows into ‘green streets.
Various design elements pay homage to the Griesbach neighborhood military heritage. William Griesbach, Edmonton’s second mayor, First World War hero, MP and Senator, is honored with an equestrian statue. A pedestrian crossing of Patricia Lake replicates a Bailey Bridge, a prefabricated bridge used by combat engineers.