October 29, 2018 12:00 am
Updated: October 29, 2018 11:13 am

Saskatoon’s Aspen Ridge neighbourhood a model for smart urban planning

Saskatoon Land


In Saskatoon’s Aspen Ridge neighbourhood, connecting with nature is as simple as a walk in the park.

The newly-established community (located near the Northeast Swale – a grassland ecosystem) is the latest in Saskatoon’s University Heights sector to connect mixed housing options with green spaces.

Sitting at approximately 2,800 hectares, the swale is an ancient river channel that’s home to several species of plants and animals including the crowfoot violet and the northern leopard frog.

“We’ve done a great job protecting this natural area that exists within our growing city, and that’s what makes Aspen Ridge unique.”

It’s a ribbon of endangered prairie and natural wetland that’s visually stunning and brimming with years of natural and cultural history.

Saskatoon Land

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According to Frank Long, director of Saskatoon Land, Aspen Ridge has been carefully planned so that green spaces and urban pockets can co-exist.

“A lot of the natural grasslands that have been present in Western Canada simply don’t exist anymore. Having one of the largest pieces of unbroken prairie adjacent to Aspen Ridge is fairly rare and special,” Long says.

Long says that Saskatoon Land worked closely with the Meewasin Valley Authority to ensure the ecologically-sensitive region is protected with a sustainable strategy for growth.

“We’ve done a great job protecting this natural area that exists within our growing city, and that’s what makes Aspen Ridge unique.”

To do this, a transitional park called The Greenway was built. Situated between the edge of the neighbourhood and the swale, it acts as a separation between the ecosystem and new developments. It also allows people to walk alongside without disturbing it.

It’s all about connecting people, wildlife and natural green spaces together in a harmonious environment, according to Long. “I don’t think I’ve been in the area too many times without encountering a deer or another animal native to this area.”

Saskatoon Land

The close proximity to green space was the allure for Connie and Brian Shank, who recently moved to the Aspen Ridge area with their young children.

“Being in a neighbourhood with lots of walking and biking paths will help us get exercise as a family. Our kids are already enjoying lots of safe paths to ride on.”

But what makes Aspen Ridge truly remarkable is the fact that it’s a modern community with ecological preservation at its core. It’s a model of sustainable urban planning that is cutting edge.

To learn more about Aspen Ridge, click here.  

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