Building Better Communities

Edmonton consists of a number of different communities. Residential, commercial and industrial. Core, mature, established and developing residential neighbourhoods. River and ravine spaces, park and play spaces, and preserved natural green spaces.

Each of our communities has a different mix of these elements. Each Ward is unique from this perspective, has unique needs, pressures, and concerns that must inform decisions about building, rebuilding and enhancing its environment. A “one size fits all” approach to community development does not work.

Building Better Communities means understanding the aspects and impacts of community development from a number of perspectives:

  • A balance of green space, park space and play space

  • A spectrum of housing choices and densities

  • Consideration of movement patterns of the residents, which informs the transportation needs of the community

  • Geography (the north end of Ward 9 is an island bounded by the river, Whitemud Creek ravine and Anthony Henday Drive. This geography is unique in Edmonton and adds pressure to the roadways)

Building Better Communities means understanding where on the community life cycle a particular neighbourhood sits, and what complementary development means:

  • A core or mature neighbourhood, with established schools, community league buildings, and mercantile developments allows the residents to obtain services locally.  Where they are not compelled to drive for everything, they can choose not to.  Complementary development might include developments with increased density, increased occupancy because the neighbourhood can handle it.

  • A new neighborhood, with under-developed roadways might not be capable of accepting that same higher density development, until more services, wider roads and better transit exist

Building Better Communities means understanding the demographics and interests of the neighbourhood. A neighbourhood of new Canadians, multi-generational homes or those seeking multi-family accommodations, where community spaces including community kitchens are vital to a thriving community and full-size covered soccer fields become a unifying element.

Building Better Communities means employing “city think” perspectives and understanding that community development plays a key role in supporting and diversifying our economy .  

What do we need to provide, by way of infrastructure and development that will support residents in the ways that they need?

Those employed in the traditional oil and gas maintenance economy need well-planned roadways to allow them to move about the city, to deliver goods and services to diverse locations and distant destinations.

By contrast, those employed in emerging industries like technology, innovation, research and development and artificial intelligence generally value mass transit, walkability, and bicycle transportation.

Both scenarios require support from City Council but if we want to attract and keep our younger work-force in Edmonton, we will need to plan better and sustainably adapt some of our communities.