Recover: Edmonton’s Urban Wellness Plan

A Collaborative Effort to Promote Urban Wellness


Challenge

Recover is an initiative led by the City of Edmonton focused on finding solutions to improve wellness in Edmonton’s five core urban neighbourhoods. These neighbourhoods include a concentration of people experiencing homelessness, mental health and addiction challenges, as well as the agencies that support them. Recover is convening an inclusive social innovation process for residents, businesses, people with lived experience, agencies, multiple levels of government, and partner organizations to work and live together in new, more collaborative and inclusive ways. How might we improve quality of life and inclusion for everyone in the urban core, and eventually for residents citywide?

Approach

Recover takes a social innovation lab approach to improve this complex situation. Starting in September 2017, Recover convened 75 people organized into three committees in a series of participatory workshops. The workshops were supported by over 70 ethnographic observation and interviews with people living rough as well as residents, businesses and community-serving organizations, resulting in 16 opportunity areas for innovation. In the workshops, participants envisioned preferred futures for Edmonton’s urban core; mapped 270 government policies and strategies influencing urban wellness; surfaced and engaged with tensions and polarities within the community; generated over 200 solution ideas; and tested 13 prototypes within the neighbourhoods. An update on these workshops and the prototyping process is available here.

The ethnographic research and workshops to deepen collaboration between service agencies have been supported by InWithForward. Interviews and polling have been performed by REACH Edmonton and Leger. Secondary research has been supported by The University of Alberta, Civitas Consulting, and Critical Point Communications.

Outcome

This project has clarified the landscape through mapping exercises, increased collaboration across government, agencies and community tackling urban wellness challenges, and has initiated 13 prototypes that are now being tested in the community. Project teams are conducting small-scale experiments in the field, with the support of the Solutions Lab, to help refine ideas into solutions that work to improve urban wellness. The Recover plan will be presented to Council in August, 2018. We will be updating this site with the results of the prototyping phase and Council’s decision.

Learn More

The City of Edmonton has set up a public engagement page for this project that outlines opportunities for community members to get involved, and shares slide decks about the project and its progress. You can access it here.