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Public engagement strategies are essential

Edmonton’s ongoing economic and population growth means the city needs new housing to accommodate the growing needs of residents – especially those who need affordable and/or supportive housing.

Finding Common Ground is a research project looking at how to bring together developers, funders, regulators and citizens effectively to develop non-market housing in communities throughout Edmonton.

The City retained Focus Consulting Inc. (a team of researchers with a strong emphasis in non-market housing) in conjunction with the Centre for Housing Research (community engagement practitioners) and a local housing consultant (Gary Gordon) to examine community engagement and planning practices and identify strategies for engaging with housing issues in Edmonton.

The focus was about gaining community acceptance that the planning process was credible and fair. Part of the findings of this research were that community consultation should be clearer and more timely and non-profit organizations need access to public consultation resources.

Project Documents

Documents from the project are now available:

Learning Opportunity

In support of these recommendations, the City of Edmonton is offering to sponsor up to four participants from Edmonton’s non-profit housing sector to achieve certification in public participation.

Successful applicants will receive admission to the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) Foundations in Public Participation program, an internationally-recognized program that gives participants practical tools for designing and implementing effective public participation programs.

  • The deadline was September 2, 2014. Winners have been notified.
  • Course dates: September 17-19 and October 8-9, 2014

Goal of Finding Common Ground

The goal of Finding Common Ground is to bring together housing stakeholders to ensure a fair, transparent process for creating new non-market housing projects. The project resulted in:

  • a review of effective planning practices to decrease the adversarial nature of housing development approvals.
  • a review of tools such as good neighbour agreements that codify agreements between community and developer.
  • a final report that includes recommendations for public consultation strategies to explore concerns related to housing developments.

The project involved extensive stakeholder consultation, including:

  • key stakeholder interviews;
  • multiple meetings with stakeholders that included a panel discussion and presentation at the National Housing Congress;
  • workshops; and
  • an online public survey.

Consultations involved a variety of stakeholders, including non-market housing developers, health care providers, funders, community representatives and housing regulators. The City continues to work with stakeholders toward executing the consultants’ recommendations.


For More Information

Michael Brown

Title Principal Planner



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