The Rutherford neighbourhood is located within the Heritage Valley Servicing Concept Design Brief (SCDB) area in Southwest Edmonton. The neighbourhood is bounded by Ellerslie Road (9th Avenue) to the north, 111th Street to the east, 25th Avenue to the south, and 119th/127th Streets to the west. Prior to urban development, Rutherford was a predominantly agricultural area, with some country residential land use located along the western perimeter. When the Heritage Valley SCDB is fully developed, Rutherford will be surrounded by residential neighbourhoods. Rutherford’s neighbourhood plan was designed to accommodate a mixture of low- and medium-density housing units with space for recreational activities and institutional and commercial land uses.
Creating an extensive pedestrian network throughout the neighbourhood was an important design principle, and the utility corridor that diagonally runs the length of the neighbourhood provides an important pedestrian spine, which connects the various walkways to activity nodes throughout the community. As of 2006, the neighbourhood was still under development, and only a quarter of the planned residential units had been built. Multi-family housing is strategically located to take advantage of natural amenities, commercial and institutional accessibility, and efficient transit service.
The main school and park site is in the south-central portion of the neighbourhood, and a variety of smaller parks, including the Virginia Park Woodland, are dispersed to provide focal points throughout Rutherford and increase pedestrian connectivity. Rutherford takes its name from Alexander Cameron Rutherford (1857–1941), who was the first premier of Alberta when a majority Liberal government was elected in 1905. Rutherford was instrumental in the construction of the University of Alberta, became a member of the university’s senate in 1907, and acted as chancellor between 1927 and 1941. Rutherford’s home on the north end of the university campus is an historic site and is currently used as a tea house and museum.