What We Do
Recover is an urban wellness project in Treaty 6 Territory (Edmonton, Alberta) that creates opportunities for connection, to help people and places thrive.
We’ve learned that addressing the need for connectedness is just as critical as housing, food and basic supports. By making the connections that lead to wellbeing, long-term transformation — for both individuals and communities — is possible.
We work within a wellbeing framework designed to help people feel more connected to themselves, the land, and others, to build healthier communities and safe, vibrant public spaces.
How We Do It
We research and quickly test new ideas and practices that complement or enhance existing practices and services.
We include people with lived experience from marginalized communities in the creation of new solutions.
We build partnerships to strengthen communities’ mutual understanding and respect for each other, and also to create more capacity within communities to nurture wellbeing.
We focus on connection as the target outcome, which fundamentally changes the relationship between service providers, the City of Edmonton, and Edmontonians.
We strive to create environments where connections can flourish, both on the small scale, between individuals, and on the larger scale, through policy change at the institutional and systemic levels.
Research has shown us that our need for love, connection and purpose is just as important as our need for food and shelter. Through our interactions with people living in the margins, including the house-less, we’ve learned that connection is what drives wellbeing, rather than material goods.
In our wellbeing framework, we’ve identified six kinds of connection that are at the heart of what it means to be well:
- Connections to body and self
- Connections to friends, family and community
- Connections to the land
- Connections to culture
- Connections to the sacred
- Connections to one’s purpose, or ‘the human project’
Through Recover, we create opportunities for connections to grow, and work to find more balance between meeting material and non-material needs. We feel that this is where long-term transformation lies, for communities and people alike.
Seeking Cultural Connections
We recognize that a significant and disproportionate number of street-involved people in Amiskwaciy-wâskahikan (ᐊᒥᐢᑲᐧᒋᐋᐧᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ), or, the Edmonton area, self-identify as Indigenous. These folks carry with them vibrant and diverse traditions, world views, and stories, as well as the direct and intergenerational effects of historic and ongoing colonization. We believe that Indigenous peoples have unique and complete knowledge sets, well-suited to healing wounds and creating thriving communities, and we have much to learn from their perspectives and ways of coming into wellbeing.
Indeed, there are many shared narratives about wellbeing across cultural groups. Most agree that wellbeing goes beyond meeting basic material needs, and focus on relationships and connectedness.
So, Recover is taking steps to create physically and psychologically-safe spaces that provide avenues for people to bring their cultures and ways of being to inform what a transformed city looks, feels, and acts like.
For stories, research and resources, please visit urbanwellnessedmonton.
Recover’s work aligns closely with the City of Edmonton’s guiding strategies.
ConnectEdmonton is the City’s strategic plan for 2019-2028. It provides an inspirational and aspirational view for Edmonton’s future, and outlines the steps we need to take today, and over the next few years, in order to realize this vision by 2050.
Here is how our work relates to this strategic vision:
ConnectEdmonton has one unifying principle, connectedness. This principle aligns directly with Recover’s work. Our wellbeing framework is rooted in the six kinds of connection necessary for individual and community wellness, and our work seeks to build these connections to create healthier communities.
We create as a community to connect people to what matters to them. Recover’s research has shown what matters most to Edmontonians, and what it means to live well and be well.
We care about the impact of our actions on our social, economic, cultural, spiritual and environmental systems. This is Recover’s mantra, and our Wellbeing Framework supports these values.
We serve those here today, and those who come after us. While Recover seeks to make changes that make life better for Edmontonians immediately, we also take a longer view, and recognize that each small change adds up to community transformation over time.
It is an invitation for Edmontonians to work together. So is Recover. Our work is co-created with community members and other partners.
The City Plan includes Recover’s work under the pillar ‘Healthy City.’ It reinforces the need for connectedness, and recognizes wellbeing as a key determinant of health.
The following are the City Plan’s guiding values, and how they connect to our work:
Create: “Community wellness fosters citizen leadership, capacity-building, and co-creation.”
Recover’s work within communities is co-created and reciprocal, and in many cases, citizen-led. And it is all about building capacity within our relationships to ensure communities are better supported.
Belong: “Edmonton fosters personal wellness by promoting connection and supporting those who feel isolated or vulnerable.”
This is exactly what Recover does.
Live: “Edmontonians feel safe… public spaces support physical health.”
We believe physical safety is important, but that public spaces also need to be psychologically and culturally safe for all Edmontonians.
Thrive: “Edmontonians acknowledge Treaty 6, honour diverse cultural perspectives.”
Recover’s work is inter-cultural in approach. We honour and respect people of all cultures, and in particular, work for greater inclusion and understanding of Indigenous practices and ways of knowing, in order to create culturally-safe and ethical relationships across communities.