An urban reserve is land designated as a First Nation reserve within an urban centre. Urban reserves are established by federally-recognized First Nations through the federal Addition-to-Reserve/Reserve Creation policy.
First Nations, as with all governments, desire to create economic development opportunities and provide services to enhance the quality of life of their citizens or preserve cultural linkages. First Nations need to ensure access to resources and services to their citizens, and today many of those services are offered most efficiently in centres such as municipalities. In some cases, First Nations also seek to acquire lands that have cultural significance. Urban reserves can greatly spur First Nations economic development as they allow First Nations to access economic opportunities that may be unavailable on existing reserve lands.
The City of Edmonton is responding to increased inquiries and calls for urban reserves, including Indigenous economic development opportunities and service provision by First Nations for their members in Edmonton. Additionally, the federal government has a newer, more streamlined approach to urban reserve creation and this may lead to more interest and inquiries.