There’s more that goes into planning a new neighbourhood than just laying out streets and building lots. A successful community needs to offer its residents a feeling of connection – to the neighbourhood and to each other.
Mattamy Homes is aiming for this by developing the new community of Southwinds around Osborne Park, a two-and-a-half-acre oasis.
“Osborne Park was designed to be at the true heart of the community,” says Joe Case, manager of land development for Mattamy. “It’s designed to be what we consider public space in the purest sense in that there’s no perception of private ownership. Every square inch of it is inviting for all the residents of Southwinds … and from all over southwest Airdrie.”
The park features amenities such as a public plaza, picnic tables, playground, and even a toboggan hill. “It’s designed for four-season use,” says Case. “The bottom of the [toboggan] hill can be flooded as a puddle rink in the winter. In the summer, that same hill we use as an amphitheatre for movie-in-the-park [events].”
Osborne Park is named after the Osborne family, the area’s original landowners. “They were one of the original homestead families of the Airdrie area,” says Case. “They’ve farmed the land since the early 1940s and they still farm just to the south of us … they had an input into what the community would look like.”
Southwinds also features a reconstructed environmental reserve. “We harvested 10,000 cuttings from the original wetland,” Case explains. “We preserved the native soils and, when the earthwork was completed we put it back, and it’s going through its second growing season.”
Located south of 40th Avenue, Southwinds opened for sales in 2014 and is now selling its sixth phase. Case describes it as a masterplanned community, as is Mattamy’s previous Airdrie development, Windsong. Mattamy is also developing the neighbourhoods of Cityscape and Carrington in Calgary, and Case attributes the company’s growing list of local success stories to the work it’s done in Airdrie.
Our success in Alberta stems from our success in Airdrie,” he says. “Everything we’ve done in Calgary has been modelled off our Airdrie experience.”
For example, Case says, Cityscape continues Southwinds’ theme of having a community hub by building around a 115-acre environmental reserve that connects to the Rotary/Mattamy Greenway pathway system that now encircles Calgary.