Urban Design Guidelines Review

The Town has completed it's review of the Urban Design Guidelines and the final document is available to the public!

This exciting project will impact how our community grows and develops into the future. Urban design benefits all residents despite age or ability.  For more information on the project and urban design, please use the drop down menus below.

The Finalized Version of the Urban Design Guidelines have arrived!

We are very excited to share our final version of the Urban Design Guidelines!! A copy for review can be found here:

Town of New Tecumseth Urban Design Guidelines

The final version will be going before Council for adoption at the December 11, 2023 meeting.

If you have any comments or questions regarding the draft Urban Design Guidelines please share them at urbandesign@newtecumseth.ca.

Thank you for all your participation and engagement as the Town worked to produce Urban Design Guidelines that focus on sustainable communities with a 'People first' model.


  Engagement Activities

 Share your story of good or bad urban design! - ONGOING

Tell us your stories of good or bad urban design! Please share your comments, feedback, stories and photos to urbandesign@newtecumseth.ca. We will showcase this feedback on our project webpage!


 World Town Planning Day - Local elementary school engagement

Student engagement activity


During the week of November 8th (World Town Planning Day), the Town Planning Department engaged with local Grade 3s on what is Urban Planning and Urban Design. This fits in well with the Ontario Grade 3 curriculum on communities and local governance. During this engagement we asked students how their local urban environment makes them feel, what they see, how they interact, etc. The students provided our team with important insight into how children feel about the community around them. 

We had the students draw their own future community and tell us all about it.


Student engagement activity Student engagement activity

Beeton and Tottenham BIA Local Festival of Lights

On Saturday November 28th and December 2nd, we set up an information booth to heard feedback from community members on local Urban Design. Residents provided us with urban design features in New Tecumseth that they enjoyed, but also with aspects of urban design that they have experienced elsewhere that we could perhaps incorporate into our communities.

Public Information Session #2
  •  Public Information Session #2 - Held Thursday, March 30th


Join our mailing list!

Please join our mailing list to keep updated on project milestones, engagement, and information. To join, please send an email to urbandesign@newtecumseth.ca.


What is urban design and how does it impact me?

 We cannot afford not to invest in good design. Good design is not just about the aesthetic improvement of our environment, it is as much about improved quality of life, equality of opportunity and economic growth.” - Sir Stuart Lipton

Urban design is the process and outcome of designing and shaping the physical character of towns, suburbs and cities for residents and visitors. Urban design involves buildings, infrastructure, streets, parks, plazas, entire neighbourhoods and districts, and entire urban towns. Urban design is an interdisciplinary field that uses procedures and elements from urban planning, architecture, landscape architecture, and engineering, among others.

Why is Urban Design Important?

Urban design influences how people interact with each other, how they move around, and how they use a place. Urban design adds value by providing economic, social and environmental benefits:

  • Economic benefits. Urban design can contribute to creating safe and livable neighbourhoods, which attract more customers, residents, and businesses. The economic benefits of good urban design can include: reduced transportation costs; and reduced management, maintenance, energy and security costs.
  • Social and environmental benefits. Urban design can contribute to improved environmental and social-cultural health by promoting active lifestyles, reducing obesity and chronic disease, fostering social interaction, broadening universal accessibility, encouraging inclusiveness, enhancing “sense of place” and community identity, creating more energy efficient and less polluting development, and revitalizing heritage.

Here is a short video that can help you better understand what urban design is and is not. This video is not specific to New Tecumseth, but provides a clear and concise visual representation that may help you better understand how urban design impacts your community and your day-to-day life.

Video source: NYC Department of City Planning 

Project Information


The Town is poised for significant growth over the next thirty years. By 2051, the Town is expected to reach a total population of approximately 81,000, welcoming over 40,000 new residents and over 31,600 total jobs to its communities. Already, Statistics Canada data indicates that the Town was the 7th fastest growing community in Canada, and 3rd in Ontario, between 2016 and 2021.


Future growth will transform the Town’s mainly rural towns into small to medium sized urban centers, while maintaining a thriving rural and agricultural area. During this period of growth, the Town is committed to developing and supporting sustainable neighbourhood and building design, increased opportunities for placemaking, and a diverse economy of entrepreneurs, creative enterprises, and small-and large-scale manufacturing.


That is why, in the Fall of 2022, the Town retained private consultant DTAH to review and update the Town’s Urban Design Guidelines. View the Town's 2002 Urban Design Guidelines.

 Project Timeline

Phase 1: Project Initiation - Q4 2022 - Q1 2023

During this Phase, the Town and its consultant will undertake detailed background analysis, a Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) Analysis and a Public Information Session. The deliverable for this Phase will be a Needs Assessment Report.

Phase 2: Education and Awareness Campaign - Q1 - Q3 2023

During this Phase, the Town and its consultant will develop a set of guiding principles for the guidelines and a draft table of contents. We will also undertake a series of engagement and awareness initiatives to help increase knowledge of Urban Design. This Phase will include another Public Information Session and a Council Working Session.

Phase 3: Development of Draft Guidelines - Q2- Q4 2023

During this Phase, the Town and its consultant will develop a draft set of Urban Design Guidelines for review and feedback by stakeholders, the public and Council. This Phase will include another Public Information Session, a Council Working Session as well as a final Committee of the Whole presentation to deliver the final proposed guidelines.

 What are the objectives of the Urban Design Guidelines Review?

The objective of the Urban Design Guideline Review is to consultant with members of the community and stakeholders to develop a new set of Urban Design Guidelines that help guide the development of our communities with a primary focus on overall resident well-being and a high quality of life.

The new Guidelines will aim to enhance the Town through high quality, inclusive design, ultimately contributing to improved overall community well-being.

Overall, the Urban Design Guidelines will provide clear direction supported by good design

rationale. The Guidelines will be easily implementable by staff and understood by

developers, residents and Council. 

 What will the Guidelines apply to?

The Urban Design Guidelines are for everybody but typically have three primary audiences: developers and landowners who use the guidelines to understand the Town's aspirations and inform their proposals; Town staff and elected Officials to review and approve projects; and the broader community who are interested to know how future private and public development will respond to and respect the local context and character of our Town while at the same advance innovative ideas and best practices. 

How can I get involved?

The Town welcomes all residents and stakeholders to participate in the development of the new Guidelines, despite age or ability. To get involved, you can participate in an upcoming event or public information session (see below). You may also email urbandesign@newtecumseth.ca or call us at 1 705-415-3090.

Resource Corner

What to learn more about Urban Design? We've included articles, infographics, and more below!

 Articles on Urban Design

The Link Between Kids Who Walk or Bike to School and Concentration; Sarah Goodyear for Bloomberg (2013)

Are Girls Being Left Designed Out of Public Spaces?; Dr. Julia King and Olivia Theocharides-Fledmen, London School of Economics (2022)

The Life-Saving Benefits of Street Trees; Robert Steuteville, Congress for New Urbanism (2022)

Forget the conspiracies, 15-minute cities will free us to improve our mental health and wellbeing; Christopher Patterson and Lance Barrie, The Conversation

Walkable Neighbourhoods, Linkages Between Place, Health, and Happiness in Younger and Older Adults; Kevin Leyden, Michael Hogan, Lorraine D'Arcy, Brendan Bunting and Sebastiaan Bierema, Journal of the American Planning Association (2023)

 Videos and Podcasts on Urban Design

Upcoming Webinar Alert!

Great upcoming webinar by Cities for Everyone on April 4th from 11-12pm!

Webinar: Finding Equity in the Low-Car City Guests: Chris Bruntlett, Marketing & Communication Manager, Dutch Cycling Embassy, and Melissa Bruntlett, Communications & Engagement Advisor, Mobycon

Register here (Free!): https://bit.ly/3ZijFNT


Why did kids stop walking to school?

This video was produced by About Here in partnership with the Vancouver Transit Authority, Translink. Hopefully it provides some food for thought when it comes to the urban design of our communities and the habits it supports.


What are complete streets?

During our Council Working Session we were asked, what are complete streets?  Complete streets is a concept that we will be implementing, in part, through the new Urban Design Guidelines. You can learn more about the concept of Complete Streets here:

 Infographics on Urban Design

What is the role of Urban Forests, within the Urban Design concept and out communities?

Here is a great infographic. You can learn more here.


What do we mean when we say, designing for all ages and abilities (mobility)? 

How do street trees benefit our community?

 April Monthly Spotlight - Urban Design and Active Transportation

This Month's spotlight is on Palo Alto, California!

You may know Palo Alto as Silicon Valley or home to Stanford University, but did you also know it has some of the highest walking and cycling rates among school students! 

According to their local school board, 68% of middle school student bike to school! And their elementary and high schools have equally high numbers.

These are phenomenal numbers for a medium-sized, predominately low density community. Why is it so successful? The City of Palo Alto has invested specifically in safe active transportation with a focus on increasing walking and biking to schools. 

You can learn more here:

Article: Palo Alto bicyclists get boost in push for 'safe system'; Palo Alto Weekly

Video: Biking in Palo Alto: A Safe Routes to School History Lesson

City of Palo Alto: Safe Routes to School


Here are some in-person pictures!