Building Better and Smarter Suburbs (BBSS)

Background and Reports

On May 28, 2014, City Council approved the Vision and Principles for the Building Better and Smarter Suburbs (BBSS) study, which established the high-level direction to guide the work of all City departments involved in its related initiatives. The project involved approximately one year of background study, consultations, workshops and technical working group meetings.

On March 10, 2015, Planning Committee approved a report titled Building Better and Smarter Suburbs: Strategic Directions and Action Plan [ PDF 4.52 MB ]. The report addresses the challenge of supporting land efficiency and functionality in new suburban subdivisions, while at the same time improving urban design. The strategic directions, action plan items and implementation strategies establish a work plan for the remaining Term of Council, from 2015-2018.

In the fall of 2015, BBSS was combined with Infrastructure Standards Review (ISR) in order to capitalize on staffing efficiencies and project synergies between the two initiatives. The focus of ISR is to confirm established levels of service and review and implement infrastructure standards that achieve lifecycle economies in construction, maintenance and/or replacement costs for the City while ensuring the ongoing protection of public health and safety. These long-term cost savings helped to inform the Development Charges By-law Amendment 2017. Further details can be found in the BBSS-ISR Update Report, received by City Council on May 24, 2017.

BBSS and ISR are now in their implementation phase, with working groups developing recommendations based on the Strategic Directions and Action Plan items in the report.

Completed BBSS Initiatives

Ongoing BBSS Initiatives

  • Contributions to updated 16.5m and 18m right-of-way cross-sections
  • Collector Road Cross-Section Review
  • BBSS Densities, Parking and Planning Implications
  • School site planning discussions with school boards
  • Urban Design Manual for New Neighbourhoods (update to existing Urban Design Guidelines for Greenfield Neighbourhoods)
    • Includes Street Planning Manual for New Neighbourhoods

Completed Infrastructure Standards Review Initiatives

Ongoing Infrastructure Standards Review Initiatives

Technical Bulletins for revisions to the following Standards:

  • Ottawa Design Guidelines – Water
  • Ottawa Design Guidelines – Sewer
  • Standard Tender Documents for Unit Price Contracts

For more information on ISR-related standards, please contact:

BBSS / Infrastructure Standards Review Implementation

BBSS policy directions and working group recommendations are first implemented through Community Design Plans (CDPs), which establish high-level policy and master planning for new communities. The following CDPs have incorporated BBSS directions:

The next stage of implementation is through Plan of Subdivision applications, where City staff and planning and engineering consultants ensure the practical execution of BBSS and ISR policy directions and engineering standards, which may or may not have already been identified in relevant CDP documents. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Improved neighbourhood connectivity for all modes of transportation through short blocks and a modified and/or offset grid street network
  • Traffic calming and pedestrian priority measures along important pedestrian routes as part of initial street design and construction
  • Cycle tracks at sidewalk level on some collector and all arterial roads;
  • Co-location of schools and parks to facilitate shared facilities like parking lots
  • Lay-bys at school sites in the road right-of-way for improved safety, a more consistent streetscape, and more efficient use of land
  • Updated requirements in Geotechnical Reports and Landscape Plans to allow more and/or larger street trees in certain clay soil conditions
  • Strategic mixing of dwelling types and design considerations to increase supply of on-street parking
  • Updated stormwater management standards
  • Potential use of sump pump systems for foundation drainage in new subdivisions.

For more information, please contact:

Peter Giles, MCIP, RPP
Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Department
613-580-2400, ext. 21667