News & Events

Edmonton Design Week Workshop Recap: Reimagining Edmonton’s Downtown

October 23, 2023

On Wednesday October 11, DIALOG’s Edmonton studio opened its doors to the design community for Edmonton Design Week, proudly hosting an interactive workshop titled “Designing for Tomorrow’s Downtown” that welcomed a group of eager designers to explore the Community Wellbeing Framework and imagine a brighter future for downtown Edmonton.

Taking place from October 10-15, 2023, Edmonton Design Week is a volunteer-run event that aims to inspire young professionals and students to take part in shaping the city around them. Sponsored by various local firms and other entities, the week features presentations, events, and interactive exhibits throughout the city.

In the workshop, roughly 20 participants were tasked to conceptualize a vision that moves the vibrant 104th Street in Edmonton’s Downtown Historic Warehouse District, where the DIALOG Edmonton studio is located, confidently into the future. While well known for pedestrian activity among its boutiques and restaurants, the street also features the occasional unactivated alleyway and concrete-clad lack of greenspace.

We explored the Community Wellbeing Framework, a self-determined guide for built environment design professionals, within which five domains provide a structured approach to determining how an environment, like 104th Street, can foster wellbeing.

The participants split into five groups (one for each domain of the Community Wellbeing Framework: cultural, political, social, environmental, and economic) and walked the street to brainstorm revisions and upgrades.

Ideas swirled. How can we be data-driven yet, at the same time, experience-focused? Can there be opportunities for play, even for adults? What areas are difficult to navigate with a disability? Can the local transit station be made into a destination and can existing infrastructure be leveraged?

Returning inside the studio, the groups teamed up with resident DIALOGers knowledgeable in the Community Wellbeing Framework to shake out the possibilities. Finally, the teams presented their design ideas to the rest of the groups.

Solutions included making the street and alleyways more inviting for pedestrians, adding public washrooms and improved wayfinding systems, featuring additional nods to precolonial history, enabling mobility, and taking over an underused parking lane for more greenspace. A strong emphasis was placed on creating a more complete community with childcare spaces and grocery stores available within a convenient walking distance.

The workshop proved to be a fun and collaborative event and we’re proud to have participated again this year! Thank you to all who were involved in making this workshop a success!