MainBannerUp Home Donate Contact Us MainBannerLow TDCs 101 Policy and Legislation Community Engagement TDC Conservation Area TDC Development Areas Credit Systems Fitting the Pieces Title Restriction Resources Miistakis Institute

In this section ...

TDC101 Putting the Pieces Together

Establishing a Program Purpose

Establishing the program purpose is arguably the single most important step in structuring a Transfer of Development Credits program. It is vital to remember that TDCs are simply a tool to help accomplish a conservation/development goal – the purpose, of course, is not simply to establish a program.

Three matters, at a minimum, should be taken into account when determining and articulating a goal for a Transfer of Development Credits program.

Clear articulation

Because every aspect of program design and administration comes back to the purpose, the more clearly the goal(s) is articulated, the more direction the program participants will have. Clarity should not be confused with an detail – simple goals may be best for a tool that is intended to be flexible and evolve.

Because TDC programs are put in place to address a land conversion problem (if nothing is changing, there is no need to ‘conserve’ it), the goal should reflect what sorts of activities or pressures are leading to that landscape change, and what conservation action is needed.

Connection to goals already in place

Municipalities already have goals in place, outlined in their Municipal Development Plans and elsewhere, and operationalized in various policy initiatives; the TDC program purpose should relate directly to these. These previously-stated goals are the result of significant consultation with the community, and therefore represent another way to ensure goals have the support of the community.

It may be that the creation of a TDC program provides the opportunity to clarify an existing municipal goal. Regardless, municipalities will need to be cautious not to unintentionally create a goal specific to the tool, rather than one that addresses an existing challenge.

Consideration of potential conflicts between goals

Because of their flexibility and their connection to both conservation and development planning, Transfer of Development Credits offer an opportunity to address a broad set of goals. These can range from conservation of environmentally significant areas, to protection of agricultural land, to the promotion of affordable housing.

However, municipalities will need to look closely at the potential for specific applications that may represent a conflict in goals. Examples could include agricultural operations with a significant ecological footprint, or natural areas sensitive to recreational traffic. Parcels such as these may be offered as potential conservation areas in a TDC program whose goals are “agricultural and environmental conservation” or “conservation of natural recreation areas,” but may represent inherent conflicts in meeting the stated goals.



What is a TDC Program?

The Why, What, How and Who's of TDCs

Miistakis Reports

Government of Alberta


Papers and Reports

Web Resources



Support Organizations and Consultants

American Examples

Did we miss an important resource? If you know of a publication, web site, or other resource that should be here, please contact us.

Also, check out our full list of TDC Resources.