A 30-year regional plan

As mandated by the Government of Alberta, the EMRB is responsible for developing and implementing a regional growth plan. The current plan was developed between 2013 and 2016 with the participation of our member municipalities, and received the province’s approval in 2017. In 2022, it was amended to incorporate the agriculture plan (RAMP). EMRB member municipalities are required to align their statutory plans with the growth plan.

In 2017, the EMRB growth plan received the Award for City and Regional Planning Excellence from the Canadian Institute of Planners.

BEAUMONT Town & Country Chartier
Communities and housing St. Albert Farmers' Market

Key policy areas

Informed by six interrelated policy areas, the growth plan is poised to reshape our regional future by integrating the essential elements of a comprehensive and sustainable community.

Grain head of wheat plant against field background

A thriving agricultural sector and an integrated regional food system

Responsible growth is about creating complete communities for the shared benefit of the Region.

Our growth plan prioritizes integrating land use and infrastructure, creating complete communities, growing in and up, instead of out, and conserving land and resources for future generations. Through responsible growth, the Region is financially sustainable, optimizes public investment, and maximizes the use and value of infrastructure and services to benefit future citizens at a cost they can afford.

Key policy tiers

Recognizing our diversity, what makes the growth plan so unique is that it’s not a one-size-fits-all plan. The Region is large and complex, consisting of diverse communities in terms of size, scale and urban and rural contexts. The growth plan introduces three policy tiers: metropolitan core, metropolitan, and rural.

The policy tiers provide a mechanism to introduce tailored policies and targets to respond to different urban and rural contexts, addressing unique growth challenges in the Region and in some cases, policies that apply to one or more of the tiers. The intent is that each community in the Region will grow in a responsible, compact and contiguous manner, and in a form and at a scale appropriate to the corresponding policy tier.

St. Alberta in the fall
EMRB PolicyTiers MetroCore

Metropolitan core

The contiguous developed area within the City of Edmonton. It has the highest density development and is served by a developed transit system and the highest concentration of regionally specific amenities and services.

EMRB PolicyTiers MetroArea


The area surrounding the metropolitan core, including portions of county lands and urban communities. It features undeveloped areas that are socio-economically tied and that share industry, housing, and infrastructure. It encompasses the highest concentration of future urban development in the Region.

EMRB PolicyTiers Rural


The area outside the metropolitan area within the wider Edmonton Metro Region. It consists mainly of agricultural landscapes, natural living systems and resource extraction areas. Residents within the rural area live in villages, hamlets, farmsteads, acreages, and country residential developments with some local levels of service and community amenities. 

A comprehensive plan

The growth plan also identifies a series of other geographic components including centres (rural, urban, transit-oriented, etc.), 17 major employment areas (e.g., Acheson Industrial Area, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, Edmonton International Airports, CFB Edmonton, etc.) and infrastructure corridors. These components and related policies help plan areas of regional significance and reflect differing roles, levels of service and places to accommodate growth.

Panoramic aerial view of downtown Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

A tool for implementing the plan

Our primary tool to implement the growth plan is the Regional Evaluation Framework (REF), which ensures local planning decisions are consistent with the long-term vision for the Region.

Regional Evaluation Framework
QualityofLife Botanical

Evaluating our plan

Monitoring, evaluating and reporting on changes and progress related to the Region’s growth plan is critical to understanding the effectiveness of our policies and intended outcomes.

How we monitor implementation

You can’t improve what you don’t measure

Built into the growth plan are more than two dozen key performance indicators (KPIs) that the EMRB collects and assesses to evaluate regional trends. 

Key performance indicators
Community Housing Morinville Summer 2022