ABout Recover

In most major cities, issues of homelessness and poverty tend to be concentrated in a small number of neighbourhoods. Edmonton is no exception, with many marginalized people living in the inner city. Supports and services are located nearby in the same areas for people who want and need them.

Historically, this concentration of marginalized people along with supports and services have heightened tensions between different groups. Businesses struggle to address cleanliness and loitering. Neighbourhood residents are concerned about disorder, criminal activity and personal safety. Social agencies feel that they and the people they serve are unwanted in the community, further marginalizing them.

Although there is tension, these neighbourhoods have lots happening, assets to build on and a strong sense of community. There are neighbourhood revitalization plans, committed and effective social agencies, dedicated residents who genuinely care about their neighbourhoods and others working to build community.  However, people are worried about how all the efforts add up and the combined impact on community. 

 

How much can one community take?

With so much energy and effort, what will it take to move the needle?

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Our First Steps

In May 2017, Edmonton’s Council passed a motion for City staff to work with the Province, Edmonton Police and community stakeholders to prepare a shared Inner City Wellness Plan. This plan would coordinate with other initiatives, such as EndPovertyEdmonton and neighbourhood revitalization efforts, and include a proposal for a Community Wellness Centre that would have several social service agencies located in one place.

This work would focus on five neighbourhoods (Boyle Street, Central McDougall, Downtown, McCauley and Queen Mary Park) and was named RECOVER: Edmonton’s Urban Wellness Plan.

While vulnerable people do live in these neighbourhoods, RECOVER is about the wellness of everyone and everything in the five neighbourhoods - residents, businesses, neighbourhood conditions and how they all fit together.

Defining and improving urban wellness is complex for many reasons. There are many perspectives on what urban wellness means and little agreement on how best to tackle the issues that limit the experiences of well-being for people. We decided to tackle some of the complexity of urban wellness by trying to answer three key questions:

Question 1:

How do we best meet
the needs of people
who are highly marginalized?

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Question 2:

How do we support
thriving communities?

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Question 3:

How do we plan wellness services
that consider the cumulative effects
on neighbourhoods and community?

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