A Legacy of Segregation

Since the early 20th century, communities have used zoning to organize land use and minimize conflicts between different activities to protect public health, safety, and welfare of citizens and the environment. Over time and with social progress, we have learned how zoning has separated more than just land uses—it has also been used to segregate people and disconnect them from places, practices, and production.

Regardless of intention, zoning rules have and can lead to disproportionate impacts for some segments of the population. For this reason, zoning has a dual legacy: of promoting the public good and of exclusion.

Read Edmonton’s zoning history

Embedding Equity

While Edmonton has advanced Zoning Bylaw amendments that support an inclusive and equitable city — more work needs to be done. Renewing Edmonton’s Zoning Bylaw provides an opportunity to advance equity in Edmonton, including but not limited to:

  • Draft regulations based on land use impacts

  • Removing the distinction between different living arrangements to accommodate all housing needs and reflect the desire to ensure adequate housing for all

  • Creating more flexible zones to provide more attainable and affordable types of housing and employment opportunities

  • Providing more flexible regulations to accommodate informal gatherings, recreation, arts, culture and spirituality throughout the city

  • Adjusting any process(es) which fail to take into account the needs and opinions of certain populations, such as privileging property owners over renters for notifications of proposed development

  • Creating a bylaw that is more approachable in its presentation and easy to understand 

Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) and Equity Toolkit

To ensure equity considerations are included in all aspects of the Zoning Bylaw Renewal Initiative, the City is creating a GBA+ and Equity Toolkit to consider the unintended social impacts of our regulations and take thoughtful and decisive action to create Everyone's Edmonton.

The GBA+ and Equity Toolkit will provide City administration with guidance on how best to consider concepts of equity and diversity when drafting zoning rules for the city, including:

  • Acknowledging assumptions and biases at the regulation writing stage
  • Identifying social inequities caused by zoning through a Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+)
  • Listening to community perspectives
  • Exploring equity measures that have been or can be taken

For more information on how the Zoning Bylaw Renewal Initiative is embedding equity, download the ​​ GBA+ and Equity Toolkit and the  Community Conversations , or email questions to zoningbylawrenewal@edmonton.ca.