The City of Calgary and the Calgary Downtown Association partner with Gehl Studio to rethink Stephen Avenue

The City of Calgary and the Calgary Downtown Association are pleased to announce that Gehl Studio has been selected as the design partner tasked with reimagining Calgary’s downtown pedestrian hub, Stephen Avenue.

“Stephen Avenue is a key cultural and economic hub for downtown Calgary and we believe it’s critical to reshape and improve the experience of this iconic and historical avenue. It’s vital that we have the right team and expertise to build an ambitious plan to reshape a unique and sustainable experience,” said Marco De Iaco, Executive Director of the Calgary Downtown Association. “This is not just about creating a beautiful street, it’s about creating conditions that will attract private investment, economic growth, and amenities that can entice residents and visitors for years to come. It’s an important step in our effort to revitalize downtown.”

“We’re very excited to have Gehl Studio bring its decades of experience in creating well-planned public spaces to explore the future of Stephen Avenue,” said Michael Magnan, public realm lead with The City of Calgary. “The current version of the pedestrian mall was created in 1980s and was designed to meet the needs of that era. We have the opportunity to create a 21st century street experience that embraces all modes of transportation and the conditions needed to spur private investment along Stephen Avenue.”

Gehl Studio’s team will work with The City and Calgary Downtown Association to develop a new design for the entire length of Stephen Avenue, from 11 Street S.W. to its terminus at Olympic Plaza. Their work will focus on extending the energy and vibrancy of the pedestrian mall westward; creating a program for increasing private investment and redevelopment; and creating short and long-term improvement strategies that can be implemented by both the City and private investors to make Stephen Avenue better for Calgarians and visitors. Gehl Studio’s work begins this month and will include a robust public engagement program, culminating with a new concept for Stephen Avenue in spring 2020.

Gehl Studio is an internationally renowned urban design and research firm and a leader in the fields of architecture, urban design, landscape architecture, and city planning. Their team brings global city planning best practices to this project, while utilizing the local knowledge of design team members in Stantec’s Calgary office. Gehl’s approach to strategic planning design focuses on how people use public space and analyzing this behavior to shape this space to allow for public life and related activities to flourish.

Investing in the future of Stephen Avenue is a fundamental piece of The City’s Downtown Strategy – the effort to support and incentivize private investment, generate visits and spending, and provide amenities and services to enhance the quality of life for people living and working in Calgary’s downtown. Updating our historic pedestrian hub goes beyond designing an improved physical streetscape. It involves developing strategies to encourage economic investment and redevelopment of private space, while creating a plan for programming the public space to ensure residents and tourists are drawn to Stephen Avenue for years to come.

For more information about the future of Stephen Avenue please visit our website at

Calgary is a dynamic and resilient city and The City of Calgary and its partners are committed to our economic recovery to make life better every day for citizens, customers, communities and businesses.