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Learn about some of the realities of living and working in Edmonton.

A Growing City, A Growing Boundary

Constant Growth

Edmonton has always been growing. In 1916, Edmonton was home to 53,846 people and in 2018 our city was 932,546 strong. 

To accommodate that increase in population and the essential commercial and industrial growth needed to support it, Edmonton has expanded its physical boundary through periodic annexations. Annexation processes are currently underway.

However, if growth happens in the same way it has in the past, the current annexation lands will not be sufficient to accommodate future growth needs of the City beyond 2039. To change this outcome, we need to shift how we grow and develop our city to make better use of our existing land.

A Changing Climate

Edmonton Declaration

On May 29, 2018 Edmonton signed on to the Edmonton Declaration in recognition of municipalities’ critical role in reaching the targets of the Paris Agreement.

In Edmonton, our built environment is a critical player in advancing these targets, with 36% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 42% of our city’s energy consumption from all buildings (homes and large buildings). Large commercial, institutional and industrial buildings use 23% of energy and produce 19% of GHG emissions.

On-road transportation also has a major impact on energy consumption and GHGs responsible for 24% of greenhouse gas emissions and consuming nearly as much energy as all of our buildings combined.

A major change to our building technologies, our development form and mobility options and patterns will be needed to meet our reduction targets.

Transportation

Transportation Options

Over the last 20 years the total number of trips made by Edmonton residents increased by approximately 40% to 3.14 million trips per weekday. Combined with a growing population and development outside our inner core, the result has been  longer daily travel distances for the average Edmontonian, particularly for commute trips to work and school.

This situation highlights the need for choice in the transportation options available to our citizens. However, our current modal split does not reflect the availability of these choices. 

Proactive Planning

Combined car driver and passenger mode share still dominates at 77.6% of all daily trips in 2015. If we act to curb this trend by acting proactively now to provide more viable choices, we will be in a better position to tackle the congestion and commuting problems currently faced by other large municipalities as Edmonton grows to 2 million people.

Designing for Health and Beauty

Population Growth

Over the last decade, over 85,000 new housing units have been added to our city, over 900 kilometres of streets expanded and over 725 hectares of parks and open space provided. Since 2011, around 13,000 more people are living in core and mature areas.

As we grow, we need to ensure the design of buildings and open spaces, including streets and parks, maximizes the economic, environmental and social benefits which come with densification.

Designing for Livability

Investment in both the public realm and private spaces has been rapid. For example, the Neighbourhood Renewal Program has improved old streetscapes, the funicular has increased access to the river valley, and new towers are bringing more offices, homes and businesses are making our downtown more vibrant.

The built environment influences our health outcomes and impacts the way we feel, both physically and mentally. Thoughtful design choices promote our wellbeing by creating places that are attractive, vibrant and child-friendly, with access to sunlight and nature, and in turn, increased security and reduced isolation.

Driving Business Forward

Gross Domestic Product

Edmonton thrives on a strong and collaborative business environment. Our strong GDP growth between 2013 and 2016 ranked Edmonton in the top two of 13 metropolitan areas in the country.

Entrepreneurial Spirit

Edmontonians are known for their entrepreneurial spirit with small businesses accounting for approximately 95 per cent of all business in Edmonton, ranking the number of small businesses per capita third among Canadian cities.

Keeping Edmonton’s climate for businesses competitive while supporting innovation and risk taking is going to be critical to the success of the city and region’s shared prosperity.

People Choose Edmonton

Immigration

Just over 20% of us are new immigrants, and more than 1500 refugees have settled here since November 2015, bringing the richness of cultural diversity. This also presents the challenge of supporting new residents and ensuring we develop a connected community to reduce the likelihood of stress, depression, loneliness and isolation.

Addressing connection, community and inclusion will become ever more important as we grow.

For More Information

Email cityplan@edmonton.ca

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