The Year That Was

The people in our industry continue to enthusiastically engage, collaborate, and influence change, united in addressing the many challenges faced by our cities and communities. From a nationwide housing shortage to significant cost escalations, we continue to work hard on all fronts. This year, our members provided councils and administrations with significant time, expertise, and feedback on policies and standards. Throughout the region, our members continue to plan and build on behalf of our vibrant and diverse communities.

Collectively, we play an important role in shaping the region – and this year was no exception. Before we bid adieu to 2023, we wanted to highlight some of our efforts and successes.

2023 Defining Moments for UDI – Edmonton Metro

  • Implemented the second year of our Strategic Plan through our focused Action Plan.
  • We dominated the news cycle, with op-eds on a range of municipal issues and were interviewed on a range of city building topics.
  • Developed meaningful partnerships with groups like the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board, Edmonton Global, and post secondary educational institutions like NorQuest, MacEwan, and the University of Alberta – to pursue collaboration on a range of shared city building issues and opportunities.
  • We played an active role in providing feedback and expertise to the City of Edmonton with regards to their Zoning Bylaw Renewal Initiative and added to the discourse at the fall public hearing meetings.
  • UDI partnered with the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board on several events this year – from a housing symposium to the State of Growth report to panel conversations on economic investment and industrial development.
  • Working collaboratively with Paths for People, the Downtown Recovery Coalition, Downtown Edmonton Community League, and the Edmonton Downtown Business Association, we launched a Downtown Pedestrianization Plan that articulates nine actions to improve the built environment and pedestrian experience downtown.
  • Launched a new website to provide our members with relevant and timely reports, research, and market intelligence, in addition to direct access to member contact information to stay connected with one another.
  • Promoted two videos to communicate our vision and policy agenda and member benefits.
  • Successfully advocated to the City of Edmonton to phase out the “Other Residential” taxation subclass, which serves as a barrier to high-rise and mixed-use development. Our members also pushed the City to explore incentives to catalyze downtown housing.
  • Hosted 9 luncheons which drew 1,722 members over the year – on topics like sports and development, downtown safety, public infrastructure sprawl, and industrial development.
  • Launched Field Trips, a series of interactive tours to highlight topics and issues concerning development and community building in the region. We focused on housing affordability, zero-lot line development, downtown, post-secondary educational institutions, and public-private sector investment along 102 Avenue.
  • Welcomed Katie Schneider to the UDI team as our Coordinator of Membership Services & Events. Katie helped to elevate our event offerings and created new initiatives like the Curling Invitational and Women in Development events.
  • Published and sent 25 position letters on a variety of municipal topics – from surface parking lots and standards for public realm infrastructure to community park amenities and municipal development corporations.
  • Celebrated four industry leaders (Ryan Hamilton, Mike Kohl, Blaydon Dibben, Tim Melton) at our 24th Annual Spirit Awards.
  • Partnered with industry associations to advocate on a variety of critical issues, including the City of Edmonton’s 2024 budget adjustment, the costs associated with growing policy requirements, and affordable housing.

UDI’s Board of Directors, committees, and staff will be reconvening in the New Year, with a strategic planning exercise, to kick start operations and work in 2024. But in the meantime, as 2023 draws to a close, we hope you can find some time to reflect on all that you achieved and your contributions in positively shaping the region.

Happy holidays – let’s shake things up in the New Year!