IFLA: Cultural Landscapes Committee

best practices > sample project summaries

Hamlet of Benalto

Cultural Landscape Type: Evolved Continuing

Project Name: Benalto Area Redevelopment Plan

Project Type: Documentation Project, Cultural Landscape Assessment; Planning Project, Area Redevelopment Plan and Urban Design Guidelines; Management/Stewardship/Legal Elements, Landscape Management Systems, Laws/Ordinances for Cultural Landscape Protection, Urban Structure Plan, Open Space Plan, Street Tree Strategy, Urban Design Guidelines, Land Use Guidelines and Policies

Location: Benalto, Alberta, Canada

Cultural Landscape Size: 2006 census recorded population of 385 living in 163 dwellings and a land area of 0.67 sq. km (03 sq mi)

Property Owner/Steward: Hamlet within Red Deer County

Funding: Red Deer County, $25,000

Relevant Historical Dates: Established in 1912 as a townsite on the Alberta Central Railway, ACR
abandoned by 1980, four grain elevators lost by 2002

Historic Landscape Architect, Designers: N/A

Project Team: The Urban Lab, Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary (Dr. Bev Sandalack, Francisco Alaniz Uribe, Blair Marsden, Kristina Meehan‐Prins, Nathalie Woodhouse, Natalia Zoldak)

Award: National Honour Award ‐ Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, 2006

Contact: Dr. Bev Sandalack, Professor and Research Leader, the EVDS Urban Lab, University of Calgary. sandalack@ucalgary.ca

Project Description:

Benalto is a small hamlet located west of Sylvan Lake in Central Alberta. It has a traditional railway town form, however with obsolescence of the railway and related infrastructure, the structure and function of the town have changed. The proximity of Benalto to Sylvan Lake and the City of Red Deer make it desirable as a place to live that combines small town living with big city convenience, and the hamlet is likely to experience growth. The population of the town and region is now composed of a diverse mix, including many artists and artisans in addition to the original agricultural community, and there is the expectation that as the hamlet evolves, it will retain its small town character and qualities and offer economic opportunities and a high quality of life. However, recent development has been more typical of generic suburbs, and the quality of life, character and sense of place of Benalto were thought to be threatened.

A plan for this growth was required that would provide guidance for sustainable development, revitalization of the town core, and plans for open space and other land uses. The Urban Lab at the University of Calgary prepared an innovative Area Redevelopment Plan that illustrates a comprehensive way of addressing sustainable small town planning and design, and was presented in a highly graphic and user-friendly poster format.

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. . .deterioration or disappearance of any item of the cultural or natural heritage constitutes a harmful impoverishment of the heritage of all the nations of the world.

World Heritage Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 1972