Members of the three RECOVER committees selected 13 ideas to test as small-scale solutions to improve urban wellness. These were our “prototypes” for eight weeks in Spring 2018.

During the RECOVER journey, a significant amount of data was gathered at different times from our community conversations, ethnographic research, activity mapping, GIS mapping, and literature reviews. Bringing the relevant information to our discussions helped us generate over 200 opportunities for action that could improve urban wellness.

These opportunities grouped into five categories:

1.  Wellness as Service

2.  Work & Learning

3.  Vibrant Neighbourhoods

4.  Open Collaboration

5.  Community Supports


Over 100 Edmontonians used social innovation to plan and deliver these rapid tests to try to improve urban wellness in the core communities.


The 13 community-driven teams were introduced to our social innovation framework over a series of prototyping workshops and smaller planning sessions. They started small, first building a game plan during a kick-off workshop.  The gameplan encouraged teams to come up with a way to quickly test a "slice" of their solution. Teams then explored how they might deliver that test using storyboards, refining their idea at every step. A followup workshop gave the prototype teams a chance to share their storyboards with another group. After adapting their plans based on the feedback they received it was time to test these ideas in the community using a small field test.

With these 13 prototypes, we were trying to change either the narrative, the network or the system.  Changing the narrative would mean we were changing the story around the neighbourhoods and the people in it. Changing the network would reflect how people and groups changed the ways they worked together. Finally change to the system would be to change overall structures or policies.

After testing these prototypes, the teams took time to pause and reflect on what happened. What did we learn from testing the prototype? Did it have the impact we intended? What could be improved? Is there value to improving, going in a new direction or discontinuing?

All of the prototypes were shared at a public showcase event in May 2018, where the public could see and feel the prototypes, ask questions and provide feedback about the small-scale solutions. It was another opportunity to learn and improve together.


Our Prototypes

Culture Club

What if there was a culture pass that brokered experiences for newcomers to cultural excursions - like art galleries, symphonies, theatres and helped managed empty seats?


Empty Storefront

What if we created a feasible, scalable process that changes the narrative and activates empty storefronts in the core neighbourhoods?


Community Hub

What if a centrally located, vacant government owned property (e.g. Remand Centre) was converted to a greenhouse that employed vulnerable persons, provided community gathering space and urban fresh food.


Improving Service Workflow - It Takes A Village

What if we could support families who are ‘just making it’ to build capacities to move to a more stable place, by creating better entry points to networks of formal services and informal supports within a vibrant community with positive determinants of health. And how might culture influence design and provision of supports and services?


It's All About Connections

What if we connected to a community member in immediate need with services they could be motivated to take part in (through hand=off)?


Job Skills Matching

What if we matched the skills of vulnerable people with businesses to fulfill employment needs and capacity?


Meet & Eat

What if there were more opportunities to meet and share a meal and build connections with your neighbours and others you don’t know in the community?


Project Welcome Mat

What if we improve the sidewalk space in front of service providers’ buildings to facilitate human connection, destigmatize service and provide dignity to vulnerable people?


Public Washroom Design Challenge

What if we had more universally accessible public washroom facilities that were designed for our northern climate?


Service Navigators

What if we tweaked the service experience so that service navigators were agents of systems change with the province?


Socially Conscious Businesses

What if we could build momentum among small business owners in 5 neighbourhoods and expand their roles to support vulnerable neighbours and customers?


Basic Income

What if we tested a prototype related to the concept of a guaranteed annual income in the core neighbourhoods?


Wellness Council

What if government funding placed community needs at the centre and required collaboration between all stakeholders?