The Active Neighbourhoods Canada network was an innovative pan-Canadian partnership between the Montréal Urban Ecology Centre, The Centre for Active Transportation and Sustainable Calgary. Together, we developed, piloted, refined, and shared innovative approaches to co-designing active neighbourhoods. We worked with communities to build neighbourhoods that support walking, cycling, and other means of active transportation for everyone, by providing safe and welcoming urban design. Our project was funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Innovation Strategy.
Between 2013 and 2017, TCAT worked on four Active Neighbourhoods Canada projects in Ontario. In 2017, we received additional funding to continue our Active Neighbourhoods Canada work.
Between 2017 and 2020, we scaled up our efforts and expanded the reach of our successful approach. We leveraged the knowledge developed in the first phase in order to transform professional practice and policies, and equip decision-makers and communities to create active and healthy communities.
In the long term, we aimed for three types of changes:
- Individual behaviour, through changes to the built environment;
- Political and societal, through the development and implementation of policies related to participatory planning and health inequities;
- Professional, by setting up a Pan-Canadian Action Platform on participatory planning, healthy built environments, and health equity.
We worked to achieve these changes by working on two levels:
- Community level: ANC partners worked in three project sites: one in Ontario, one in Quebec, and one in Alberta. We shared knowledge on the ANC approach, provided strategic support, and showcased models for participatory planning in the field. Building on the successes of the Stewart Street Active Neighbourhoods pilot, we worked with GreenUP’s NeighbourPLAN program in Peterborough to apply the ANC participatory planning approach in three additional Peterborough neighbourhoods.
- Provincial and national level: ANC worked to scale the ANC approach across Canada, by working towards strategic changes in policy and professional practices practice.