American Society of Landscape Architects

  2004 ASLA Professional Awards

Analysis & Planning Award of Excellence

Downtown Ottawa Urban Design Strategy 2020, Ottawa, ON
Urban Strategies Inc., Toronto, ON
Clients: City of Ottawa and National Capital Commission

Excellent analysis, very comprehensive study. . . Precinct plans and open space recommendations to add squares and plazas are well defined. . . Bridges the macro scale successfully with the micro. . . Excellent graphic presentation.
           2004 Professional Awards Jury Comments

The Downtown Ottawa Urban Design Strategy 2020 was created as a tool to help develop, guide, and implement future development projects and public realm improvements within Ottawa's downtown area. The overarching aim of the strategy is to improve the urban experience of the area by enhancing the quality of the public realm and urban environment, including city streets, parks and open spaces, waterways, and areas of special character. This main goal is supported by three primary objectives:

  • To create a shared vision of 'the downtown' between the City of Ottawa, the National Capital Commission, adjacent neighborhoods, business communities, and development partners;
  • To establish urban design guidelines for area-wide and site-specific cases that will aid the city in setting an urban quality threshold to inform site development applications, public realm improvement plans, transportation, and development initiatives; and
  • To provide an agreed upon strategy and priorities for long-term civic investment.


An introduction to the Downtown Ottawa Urban Design Strategy 2020: The agreed Vision Statement and explanation of the intentions of the document. (Image by Urban Strategies)

The Urban Design Strategy for Downtown Ottawa identifies 41 targeted strategies and four general area wide strategies. This drawing identifies projects numerically across the redefined downtown area (refer to drawing 03). Each of the 41 targeted strategies can be bundled into one of nine geographically defined Precincts. (Drawing by Urban Strategies)

The traditional view of Ottawa's Downtown as being confined to the Central Business District is no longer accurate or relevant. Expanding the definition of Ottawa's downtown provided an opportunity to create a stronger anchor for the city by taking advantage of the authentic urban environments and mixed-use areas that characterize the downtown. This bold move more than doubled the size of the study area. (Drawing by Urban Strategies)

Drawing 04, 05 and 06 provide a small sample of how the design analysis was presented within the Design Strategy. In total, 17 urban layers comprising Ottawa's urban structure were individually identified and illustrated. Drawing 04 highlights Neighborhoods and Heritage Conservation Districts as those areas requiring protection from inappropriate new development. (Drawing by Urban Strategies)

Drawing 05 defines the street network of the downtown. Each of the five street types identified supports a different function and creates different conditions that require specific design solutions. (Drawing by Urban Strategies)

Drawing 06 illustrates the open space network present in the downtown, including a mix of local neighborhood park spaces and regional open spaces. A lack of meaningful small-scale formal recreation spaces was highlighted through this analysis. (Drawing by Urban Strategies)

To help structure the Design Strategy, nine geographically definable Precincts were identified within the study area. Each precinct is capable of supporting carefully directed urban growth and change as long as it respects the existing character of each area. For each Precinct, a cluster of area specific, targeted projects was recommended (see drawings 11 to 13) as well as general built form, streetscape and open space guidelines (see drawings 09 & 10). (Drawing by Urban Strategies)

Drawings 08 through 13 are reproductions of a Precinct Strategy contained within the Downtown Ottawa Urban Design Strategy 2020 document. For each Precinct, key strategic directions were identified and supported by general precinct strategies and targeted strategies that respond to area specific design issues. (Drawing by Urban Strategies)

Reproduction of the General Precinct Strategies pages of the Business Precinct. Includes general guidelines for streetscape infrastructure, parks & open space and built form. (Ottawa Now and Then, visitor's edition by Jacquelin Holzman & Rosalind Tosh. Page 99. Magic Light Publishing (Ottawa), 2000), National Capital Commission, unknown, Urban Strategies, Urban Strategies)

(475-10) As above (Drawing 09). (Photo Credits from left to right. Top Row: unknown, unknown, Urban Strategies, Urban Strategies. Bottom row: unknown, unknown, Urban Strategies, Urban Strategies, Urban Strategies)

Reproduction of the Targeted Precinct Strategies pages of the Business Precinct. Targeted strategies are smaller scale projects that address very specific design issues. Combined, these strategies make a significant positive impact to both the local area as well as the Downtown as a whole. (Drawing and photos by Urban Strategies)
As above (Drawing 11). Targeted Precinct Strategies for the Business Precinct continued. (Drawing by Urban Strategies. Photo credit from left to right: City of Ottawa Archive (Ottawa Now and Then, visitor's edition by Jacquelin Holzman & Rosalind Tosh. Page 99. Magic Light Publishing (Ottawa), 2000), unknown, National Capital Commission, Urban Strategies, unknown)
Street sections to illustrate the Targeted Street Type Standards that should be introduced across the Business Precinct. Standards were identified for each street in the downtown.(Drawings and photos by Urban Strategies)

In addition to the Business Precinct, eight other Precincts were included as part of the Design Strategy. Drawing 14 provides an introduction to the Central Canal Area Precinct.(Drawing by Urban Strategies)
Drawing 15 is a reproduction of the introductory page to the Centretown East Precinct.(Drawing by Urban Strategies)

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