The City of Saskatoon is unveiling some of its plans to improve the north downtown area, which includes 240 acres of new development.

Housing will be the biggest component, said Joyce Drohan, director of urban design for the project.

"If you don't have people living here, it's not a real place," said Drohan. "We have too many examples in North America of downtowns that go to sleep at night. They just turn dark. And here's an opportunity to make sure that doesn't happen."

The development will also include new businesses and green spaces.

The City says its goal is to create a walkable community similar to downtown Toronto and Vancouver.

Jeanna South, the project manager of the north downtown plan, said the changes will integrate well with the SIAST campus.

"There's a whole new kind of network of green spaces," said South.  "But it's also a sustainable option for people who want to live in a slightly different way in the city that's not really available to them right now."

The city held an information session on Saturday attended by a number of residents. Lisa Karcut, who lives in the Nutana neighbourhood, said she was pleased there were no plans to build big box stores.

"I feel like they definitely are hitting all the points that I would be interested in," she said. "Very green, walkable, lively community, interweaving the whole city. Yeah, they seem really on top of it all."

There are already several north downtown projects underway, including the 25th Street extension and the relocation of the City Yards.

The City said it will unveil more plans in March.