Planning Committee approves new design guidelines for high-rises

This week, the City’s Planning Committee approved new urban design guidelines for high-rise buildings. The new guidelines replace an earlier set and reflect local, national and international best practices.


The City developed these guidelines to improve high-rise building design for new developments across Ottawa. While the document does not dictate where high-rises are permitted, these guidelines seek to improve compatibility, livability and public spaces. They are organized into three categories:

  • Context, which covers views, landmark buildings, transition in scale, lot conditions for infill development and heritage.
  • Built form, which guides design and exterior illumination.
  • Pedestrian realm, which aims to provide public spaces, connectivity and a safe and appealing pedestrian realm.


The Committee also approved a zoning amendment to increase opportunities for live music and performance venues, in line with the recently adopted Ottawa Music Strategy. Music venues happen across a wide range of locations and are critical to a city’s cultural scene. With this amendment, live music and theatre would be permitted uses in any place of worship or assembly across the city, as well as permitted accessory uses in commercial stores and restaurants.


All items approved at this week’s Planning Committee meeting will go to Council on Wednesday, May 23.