Design focus opens opportunity for more sustainable placemaking
Averton enrols first development in Built Green’s Communities Pilot
With health and environmental concerns on the rise, many are searching for ways to enhance wellness and reduce their impact on the environment—while some continue their commitment. A home builder and community developer with projects across Alberta and Ontario, Averton jumped at the opportunity to be the first to participate in a new program for residential developers wanting to create greener, healthier communities.
Averton’s new St. Albert community is called Midtown and is the result of an exhaustive design process, centered on their view of the community as an ecosystem. Underpinning their business philosophy is an inclusive approach that goes beyond aesthetics, to understanding an area’s culture and geography in order to create better places to live.
“Our vision for Midtown is rooted in redefining community: prioritizing experience over volume. It’s about building character instead of sacrificing it for increased density,” says Averton’s President, Paul Lanni. “We see this as an opportunity to introduce a well-planned, designed and integrated mixed-use development.”
A key component of Midtown’s design is sustainable development; inputs and outputs have been considered. It has been designed with physical elements to encourage connections: people-to-people, people-to-nature, people-to-buildings and people-to-community. All of this is to create a place that is healthier, more sustainable and more equitable. It is here that placemaking will be realized.
Located in St. Albert’s southwest corner close to Edmonton city limits, Midtown is a 45-acre, master-planned community that will offer a diverse range of housing types and everyday convenience. From distinct architectural forms, a mix of for sale and rental residences, alongside open-space and street design that prioritizes age diversity, safety, and general accessibility.
Designed to enable a healthy lifestyle and encourage wellness, the community honours people over automobiles. Midtown will feature shared spaces for neighbours and visitors to gather, alongside traffic calming and reduced speed limits. Meanwhile, Midtown’s location allows connection to nature—with the Red Willow Trail system extending in every direction, there are plenty of natural spaces to explore.
Midtown’s location also provides links to existing amenities, such as The Enjoy Centre, and employment areas. Residents will be able to bike or walk north along the trail system to the Sturgeon River and St. Albert’s downtown area, and west to the Lois Hole Centennial Provincial Park. And St. Albert residents can enjoy Midtown Commons, the social heart of Midtown, featuring neighbourhood-scale commercial and co-working spaces.
Midtown Park is a central stop on a main bike trail—just one space in a grander landscape and amenities master plan, which aims to layer artwork within landscaping throughout the community. Strategically placed greenery will protect park areas from the street and offset cold winter winds. Further, space has been allocated to honour the founders of St. Albert and the first residents of Midtown. Cumulatively, these design details reinforce the unique identity of this place.
Midtown is enrolled in Built Green Canada’s Communities pilot program—with Averton as the first company to enrol a project in this new program. Consistent with Built Green’s other sustainable building programs, the Communities program takes a holistic approach, which includes site location, layout and design, energy systems, water management, materials and waste management, health and wellness, and business practices and innovation. Built Green’s key principles have been maintained: ease of use, with achievable objectives that are measurable and verifiable.
“Averton has taken an all-inclusive approach, viewing sustainability as essential to design, as they continually work toward excellence: detail by detail,” says Built Green Canada’s Chief Executive Officer, Jenifer Christenson. “I’ve been in meetings with Averton, and their focus on design has been embraced into their culture; references to the impact of art and design are peppered through their discussions. Reoccurring questions include how this will create vibrancy, improve health, promote walkability, encourage social connections—and, ultimately, how their own choices will enhance the experience for those that will live at Midtown.”
With the focus on all-around sustainable living, Midtown is a good fit for the green Communities pilot program. Built Green Canada welcomes industry input on all programs, and particularly on this Community pilot, as the organization works to maintain its flexible approach, recognizing the diverse nature of a community.
For over 50 years, the Averton Group of Companies has been building communities in a range of markets, developing thousands of acres, and thousands of homes. Uniquely positioned in both the Greater Toronto and Edmonton areas, Averton’s design-forward approach enables its team to create amazing places to live.
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For more information:
Built Green Canada
Kirsty Wilson, Business Manager