Urban design manuals

Urban design manuals contain standards, guidelines and reference material that implements design objectives contained in the city's official plan.

On this page

  1. Urban Design Manual refresh
  2. Urban Design Manual (city-wide)
  3. Design guidelines for West Side Employment Lands

Urban Design Manual refresh

The City of Waterloo is working on an Urban Design Manual refresh to:

  • align with the City of Waterloo Strategic Plan
  • incorporate relevant urban design documents adopted since 2009
  • incorporate new practices and innovation
  • simplify and eliminate redundancy
  • improve ease of access and usability through digital platforms

Feedback and project updates

Visit the Urban Design Manual Refresh page on Engage Waterloo for project information, updates and feedback opportunities.


Urban Design Manual (city-wide)

Developers and city staff use the manual in the review of specific types of development applications, including official plan amendments, zoning by-law amendments and site plan applications.

Urban design is an evolving discipline focused on the design and analysis of the city and its related built form and spaces. Good urban design is about creative city building and the art of creating great places for people. 

In some cases there are site or area specific urban design guidelines. Please reach out to our Planning Division for more information. 

Download summary (PDF)

Download digital version

The full Urban Design Manual is broken down into five sections:

Purchase a print copy

You can purchase the full document from the IPPW counter on the second floor of city hall. It's $96 for a colour copy and $43 for black and white. We accept cash, cheque and debit.


Design guidelines for West Side Employment Lands

Published in 2021, these guidelines apply to the West Side Employment Lands (WSEL).

Located in the southwest corner of city, these lands represent a strategic area for growth and future economic development and investment.

Download WSEL guidelines