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Goal Six: Edmonton is a sustainable city

Edmontonians want to live in a way that meets the needs of the present while building a strong future.

Essential to that is their commitment to building a socially, environmentally, economically and financially sustainable society.

Social sustainability is about nurturing participation in community life and investing in the current and next generation of community leaders. It's about focusing resources on high needs communities and areas of the city that need a leg up.

Edmontonians want to create strong, resilient communities and individuals that are able to draw on their resources to readily seize opportunity or bounce back from adversity.

Edmontonians look to their local government to work with other orders of government, school boards, post secondary institutions, the business community and the volunteer sector to build a socially sustainable society.

Edmontonians value volunteerism and acknowledge the contribution volunteers make to the livability of their city. They support access to life-long learning opportunities as a means of improving employment opportunities or socializing. They invite their municipal government to advocate for integrated learning opportunities in schools, community leagues, libraries and other facilities.

When it comes to environmental sustainability, residents seek to build on their city's growing reputation as an environmental leader in such areas as waste management.

Edmontonians are proud of their parks, green spaces and natural areas and urge their municipal government to protect and restore the biodiversity of Edmonton's natural environment. They look to their municipal government to enforce municipal bylaws for environmental best practices. They appreciate the importance of local food networks and promote the importance individual contributions make to environmental sustainability.

Residents also want an economically sustainable community and recognize that their city's people services contribute to creating a desirable investment climate. They urge their municipal government to work with regional and other orders of government to promote economic opportunities and help ensure an economically diverse and sustainable future.

Edmontonians want people services that build their city, yet need them to reflect the resources available. They look to their municipal government to provide timely, accurate information about the financial costs of the people services they may consider so they can best decide direction.

Ultimately, Edmontonians seek a balance between meeting today's needs, while building a civil society that will serve them well in the future.


6.1 The City of Edmonton is a socially sustainable society.

Strategic Policy Directions

The City of Edmonton:

  • Designs and advocates for complete communities1.
  • Designs and provides innovative community and neighbourhood capacity building strategies.
  • Designs its people services to create complete communities.
  • Provides enhanced resources and services to high needs communities2.
  • Provides information and education to Edmontonians about their roles and responsibilities as active citizens.
  • Partners with community organizations and community leagues to develop leaders.
  • Partners with regional municipalities to provide a coordinated social, economic and environmental strategy.
  • Advocates for the moderate and balanced concentration of social agencies, housing and businesses in all neighbourhoods.
  • Promotes a civil society and leadership in socially sustainable3 practices.
  • Promotes volunteerism and provides volunteers with formal recognition.
  • Supports Edmontonians' access to lifelong learning4 opportunities.
  • Advocates for integrated learning opportunities in city recreational programs and facilities, schools, community leagues, libraries and other facilities.
  • Promotes innovative programs and partnerships to increase access to post secondary training, trades, higher education and other learning opportunities.

6.2 The City of Edmonton is an environmentally sustainable society.

Strategic Policy Directions

The City of Edmonton:

  • Provides and promotes facilities for active transportation modes.
  • Protects, maintains, conserves and restores the biodiversity of Edmonton’s natural environment.
  • Protects, preserves and expands its parks, green spaces and natural areas.
  • Builds on the City’s leadership role in environmental best practices.
  • Provides programs and education to businesses and residents about the importance of individual environmental responsibilities.
  • Maintains and conserves natural spaces and ecological connectivity in the North Saskatchewan River Valley.
  • Enforces community standards through municipal by-laws for environmental best practice.
  • Partners to educate Edmontonians about the importance of a community food network5.
  • Promotes sustainable urban agricultural practices6.
  • Promotes environmental best practices in urban design, construction and re-use of materials.
  • Promotes the use of the highest environmental standards through a civic culture of environmental planning, conservation, preservation and protection.

6.3 The City of Edmonton is an economically sustainable community.

Strategic Policy Directions

The City of Edmonton:

  • Provides a public transit system as a key element of economic, environmental and social sustainability.
  • Provides people services that contribute to a desirable investment environment.
  • Partners with other municipalities to provide an integrated and coordinated system of people services for the economic vitality of the region.
  • Partners to support the attraction and retention of a diversity7 of people to help build Edmonton’s economy.
  • Partners to encourage innovation and improved productivity.
  • Promotes a diverse, vibrant local and regional economy.
  • Promotes opportunities in the downtown8 core to live, learn, work and play
  • Promotes the capital region as a desirable choice for skilled Canadian and international workers.
  • Promotes opportunities for people making the school to work transition.
  • Facilitates economic development in communities and neighbourhoods.
  • Advocates for the recognition of foreign credentials and international work experience.
  • Advocates for workplaces able to accommodate persons with disabilities.

6.4 The City of Edmonton has fiscally sustainable people services.

Strategic Policy Directions

The City of Edmonton:

  • Delivers municipal services in alignment with appropriate revenue sources in a cost effective manner.
  • Provides accurate, timely information on program costs and benefits and the impact on the fiscal sustainability of people services.
  • Maintains a balance between operating expenditures, operating revenues and accessibility.
  • Partners to create innovative funding models and revenue sources.
  • Engages with, and advocates to, other orders of government for resources to meet evolving people services needs.


1. Complete Communities

  • A community that is fully developed and meets the needs of the local residents through an entire lifetime. Complete communities provide certainty to residents on the provision of amenities and services and include a range of housing, commerce, recreational, institutional and public spaces. A complete community provides a physical and social environment where residents can live, learn, work and play. (City of Edmonton Municipal Development Plan and Transportation Master Plan)

2. High Needs Communities

  • Groups and communities susceptible to adverse social conditions.

3. Socially Sustainable

  • A socially sustainable community must have the ability to maintain and build on its own resources and have the resiliency to prevent and/or address problems in the future. (Greater Vancouver Regional Plan)

4. Lifelong Learning

  • Learning is a process involving the development of knowledge, skills and values throughout a person’s life, from early childhood through adulthood. Learning is not only an intellectual process, but also something that affects all areas of life, including the emotional, spiritual and physical aspects. (Canadian Council on Learning)

5. Community Food Network

  • A collaborative and interaction system of sustainable food production, processing, distribution, and consumption that is integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a particular place. It can include building locally based, self-reliant food economies or one that could extend across municipalities in a region. (City of Edmonton Municipal Development Plan)

6. Sustainable Urban Agricultural Practices

  • The growing, processing, and distribution of food and nonfood plant and tree crops and the raising of livestock, directly for the urban market, both within and on the fringe of an urban area within the context of environmental protection, livelihood generation and promoting food security among urban residents. (International Development Research Centre)

7. Diversity

  • The range of human difference. Each person has layers of diversity which make his/her perspective unique. (City of Edmonton Office of Diversity and Inclusion)
  • It includes the dimensions of “race”, ethnicity, national and regional origins, sex, gender identity, sexual orientations, socioeconomic status, age, physical attributes, and abilities; as well as religious, political, cultural and intellectual ideologies and practices.

8. Downtown

  • The area within the boundaries of the current City of Edmonton Downtown Plan. (City of Edmonton Municipal Development Plan and Transportation Master Plan)

For More Information

Kate Gunn

Title Director, Community Strategies and Development