Urban Wellness and the work of RECOVER

Urban Wellness and the work of “Recover”

When it comes to having a city that we are proud to call home there are many aspects to consider. It is not just about buildings and roads; it is about people and community.

In the last few years, a new initiative called RECOVER: Edmonton’s Urban Wellness Plan kicked off as a way to improve the wellness of those living in five central neighbourhoods, namely Boyle Street, Central McDougall, Downtown, McCauley and Queen Mary Park.  Following the success of the work downtown, RECOVER has begun work in Old Strathcona.

The goal of RECOVER is to bring together diverse perspectives on urban wellness and develop partnerships to create simple, long-lasting changes that benefit everyone in those areas. RECOVER utilizes social innovation as a means to deal with the intricacies of having higher rates of homelessness, complex mental health needs, and addictions.   Simply put, it is about creating and implementing resourceful and unique solutions.

Central to social innovation is a need for collaboration between different groups. For RECOVER, the focus has been on creating trust and partnership between all orders of government, social agencies, businesses, area residents, and regular visitors to the area.

One of the notable projects was Project Welcome Mat, which made small improvements outside of Boyle Street Community Services to create a more inviting and comfortable public space to gather. The results were almost immediate with the entire tone of the area shifting to become more people-friendly.

Since July 2017 when these solutions started to take form, the landscape of these five communities has already changed. There are more services available, greater community cohesion and new people coming into the communities. RECOVER is a great example of Edmonton coming together to create positive and tangible changes that will have a long lasting impact for all of us.  I am very excited it is expanding to the south side to understand and meet the needs of all its people.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and questions on this or other City issues. Connect with me at ben.henderson@edmonton.ca or 780-496-8146, or follow me on Twitter @ben_hen.


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