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An international design competition for the redevelopment of Edmonton's City Centre Airport is slated to begin at the end of March. ((CBC))

An international design competition for the controversial redevelopment of Edmonton's City Centre Airport is scheduled to start at the end of March.

The city plans to invite architects and planners to transform the land into an "ecologically-advanced, transit-oriented" community.

The development, which will be home to 30,000 people, will include a mix of medium and high density housing, as well as business and residential developments.

It aims to use 100 per cent renewable energy.

Rick Daviss, Edmonton's manager of corporate properties, said there has already been interest from companies around the globe.

"We have one from Europe, we've had several out of the United States," he said. "They've said, 'This is an area of the future and we would like to participate.'"

He said the city is looking for companies that can push the limits of technology, calling it "a living laboratory."

"We're opening this up and trying to invite interest from across the world … and we really want to be leading edge and try some of those innovative things," Daviss said.

"Will they all work? Probably not. Will some of them work? We hope so. We're looking for a standard that is not today's standard. We're saying, 'What's going to be the leading edge in 10 years?'"

Vancouver-based urban designer Greg Smallenberg, who is currently working on redesigning Jasper Avenue, said Edmonton should have no problem attracting international attention.

"[It] might be an energy guru from Denmark, might be an architect from Toronto, might be a landscaper architect from Vancouver," he said,

"They generally try to put themselves together to tackle projects — complex projects — like the City Centre."

The proposals are expected to be submitted by the end of the year. Each will be judged by a selection committee, which will then choose the successful design.

Edmonton city council decided in July 2009 on a phased closure of the City Centre Airport.

One of the airport's two runways is scheduled to close in August. A timeline for closing the second runway has not yet been established.

Two lawsuits have been launched against the city to keep the airport open — one filed by the Edmonton Flying Club and another by businesses based at the airport. Trial dates have not been set.