Edmonton’s city manager focuses on whole city, not just projects

Note from Storm: If you’ve been reading the Sneak Peek excerpts from my upcoming third book, RECONOMICS (coming January 2020), in earlier issues of REVITALIZATION, you know that one of my key messages is to get cities that desire revitalization to take an ongoing, programmatic approach to it.

This is as opposed to the usual reactive, stop-start, project-by-project approach that afflicts most cities. This prevents them from building the momentum needed to inspire confidence in their future, which–in turn–attracts/retains investors, residents, and employers. So I was happy to see this interview with Edmonton, Alberta‘s City Manager, Simon Farbrother.

From the article: Our city council approved a document called “The Way Ahead” five or six years ago. It’s a broad strategy that focuses on the three elements of sustainable development.

The document is about creating a strong urban core, with an integrated set of villages connected as a city. We’ll grow up much more significantly than we grow out. We’re starting to shift our modes of transportation.

This means: investing significantly in LRT; reinvesting in infill development; promoting residential in the downtown core; bringing key strategic assets and lining them up together in the downtown core, such as our new downtown arena and plaza complex; and the redevelopment of a 600-acre site on which we’re aiming to create a net-zero-emissions community for 30,000 people, connected to the LRT.

We try to bring a systems approach to our decision-making. We don’t do projects—we build a city.

[Photo credit: City of Edmonton]

See full interview in The Planning Report.

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