News / Edmonton

Breathe, Edmonton — city to release green space vision

Downtown could be improved, says city planner.

A city drawing of Edmonton’s breathe strategy.

Courtesy / City of Edmonton

A city drawing of Edmonton’s breathe strategy.

Get ready to breathe — Edmonton’s got a plan to ensure there’s green space for everyone, as the city grows rapidly over the next few decades. 

The city will release its draft strategy, called 'Breathe,' on Wednesday. Officials say the plan will ensure each neighbourhood has parks, even when Edmonton reaches a projected population of 2.1 million by 2050. 

But it’s more than just a ‘parks plan,’ according to senior city planner Geoff Smith. 

He said the strategy is essentially a ‘land management tool’ that looks how Edmonton parks (privately owned or not) are being used and what improvements can be made.

“We’re able to identify and assess each and every park and evaluate how it’s performing,” he said. “Were able to target particular parks and make management improvements.

“It’s a plan that allows for decisions based on data.”

A look at the downtown park system and how the city identifies the use of green space.

Courtesy / City of Edmonton

A look at the downtown park system and how the city identifies the use of green space.

For example, the city would be able to see if it needs to add trails in some parks or playground equipment in others. 

“We can look at area deficiency, where we can target naturalization to improve the tree canopy,” Smith added.

It turns out central Edmonton, which already boasts several large parks, will also need improvements to its park system, he said. 

“It’s anticipated to be a doubling of population in downtown Edmonton.”

On top of better connections to the river valley, downtown also needs more amenities within its parks, Smith said. 

“What would score not so well are amenities that support children and families,” he said. “And of course you want people to have easy access to the playgrounds, spray-pads and so on.”

What did score well are the river valley and ravine parks, in terms of their ecological and ‘celebratory’ value. 

“The ability for us to hold festivals and events in places like Hawralek is very strong in many of those parks,” Smith said. 

Once the public provides feedback on the strategy, city councillors will review it at the urban planning committee later this year. If council signs off, the plan will then be implemented. 

As the strategy progresses, the city will identify where new parks could be placed.

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