What If We Used Social Innovation to Improve Edmonton's Urban Wellness?
Over the last year, the City of Edmonton has been working with residents, businesses and government to develop Recover, Edmonton's Urban Wellness Plan.
Read about our progress in our Community Report.
In Edmonton, we value wellness, which means ensuring the right systems are in place to promote and sustain the conditions for people and neighbourhoods to thrive.
Starting in the 5 core neighbourhoods (Boyle Street, Central McDougall, Downtown, McCauley and Queen Mary Park) we are using a social innovation framework, testing, learning and adapting solutions while considering their cumulative impact.
We're Not Starting With a Blank Canvas
Most innovative ideas include elements of solutions that have come before, combining them in unexpected and powerful ways. This isn’t about replacing existing strategies, policies, programs or services that are already in place in these neighbourhoods. It’s about testing small solutions to improve urban wellness and find ways to align and better collaborate across different orders of government, social agencies, local businesses and the community.
Following a social innovation approach, and using systems thinking (mapping and design) to create and test possible solutions, takes strong collaboration, trust, and a willingness to suspend individual agendas to move forward as a collective. There was a clear need for more coordinated efforts to address the real impacts of initiatives, both existing and emerging, in the downtown core communities of Edmonton.
We’ve gone through a process of research, testing out solutions and collecting feedback to refine ideas to improve the core neighbourhoods. Our research is multifaceted, including qualitative and quantitative information. Based on the research, we generated over 200 opportunity areas that asked "What if...?". Out of these ideas, we acted on a series of small solutions. Read the Project Welcome Mat and Empty Storefront Program blog posts to learn more about these solutions.
Community Wellness Services Plan
One phase in Recover has a focus on the very vulnerable population, many of whom live in the downtown core. The work in this phase is called Community Wellness Services Plan.