The City of Calgary partners with Gehl Studio and Stantec Calgary to redesign Stephen Avenue for the future

The City of Calgary is pleased to announce that Gehl Studio and Stantec Calgary have been retained as the design partner to continue their work to reimagine Calgary’s downtown pedestrian hub, Stephen Avenue.iStock-541847720

“Stephen Avenue is a key cultural and economic hub for downtown Calgary and we have the opportunity to create a street experience that is more people focused, embraces all modes of transportation and helps support businesses in our downtown,” said Thom Mahler, Director of The City’s Downtown Strategy. “Gehl Studio and Stantec Calgary have been shaping the plan for the future of Stephen Avenue for the past several years and will be tasked with working with Calgary’s downtown community to advance a design for our downtown main street that brings vibrancy, economic opportunities and community-building approaches to the heart of our city.”

Gehl Studio and Stantec Calgary’s team will work with The City to develop a new design for the entire length of Stephen Avenue, from 11 Street S.W. to its terminus at Olympic Plaza. In this stage of the project the team will advance design concepts, based on the previously developed Stephen Avenue Public Realm Study, in order to provide a clear blueprint for how a new version of Stephen Avenue will be constructed. The team will focus on the strategic moves outlined in the Public Realm Study to achieve a design that creates a vibrant future for Stephen Avenue: rebranding and repositioning the avenue in the context of the future of Calgary’s downtown, creating connections with other areas of the downtown, activating public spaces and opening up buildings and businesses to the avenue,

Engagement with Calgarians on these design concepts will begin in late fall/early Winter, with a finalized design ready in Summer of 2023 . The project is not currently funded for construction but is being considered for further funding through The City’s Downtown Capital Projects Program.

“We are incredibly excited for this next phase of the Future of Stephen Avenue. In the first phase of this project, we set the stage for delivering a high-quality concept design rooted in the needs and desires of Calgarians and visitors alike, through extensive community and stakeholder engagement,” said Sofie Kvist, project lead with Gehl.  “Now it is time to develop design for the entirety of Stephen Avenue, and with that make sure this important downtown Calgary public space continue to thrive in the future.” 

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.

Stantec, is a global leader in sustainable design and engineering, will provide the local design support and technical expertise to the reimagining of Stephen Avenue. With over 1200 employees in Calgary, the firm’s urban designers, landscape architects, engineers, and project managers work together with Gehl Studio to advance the quality of life, safety, and vibrancy within Downtown Calgary. Whether creating, sustaining, or revitalizing a project - Stantec helps their clients bring diverse perspectives and objectives together, working towards a common vision.

Investing in the future of Stephen Avenue is a fundamental piece of The City’s Downtown Strategy. The Downtown Strategy leverages the collective efforts of The City and its public and private sector partners to respond to economic challenges, and capitalize on opportunities that will create jobs, drive economic recovery, and revitalize and transform the downtown. The City’s priority is to be active and proactive to address problems, seek out solutions and embrace opportunities. 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