News and Events

Topic: ‘Public engagement’

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Switch: Open Street Sundays

The Sustainable Transportation Task Force continues to advance the Switch: Open Street Sundays project. Switch will be a regular “Ciclovia” type event adapted for Halifax.

The Switch presentation is available to download [PDF, 1.9MB]. We encourage you to help us build awareness of and support for the project by sharing the presentation with your friends, family and colleagues. If you are interested in speaker’s notes to assist you in delivering the presentation, please contact us at: 902.494.3678 or 902.494.8494.

Download the Switch hand-out [PDF, 1.2MB].

Like Switch on Facebook

Follow SWITCHHFX on Twitter

For more information about the Sustainable Transportation Task Force, or to download notes from previous Task Force meetings, please see the November 2, 2010 News posting (below) about the launch of the Task Force.

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

It’s More Than Buses Session 1 a success!

Thank you to everyone who supported and participated in It’s More Than Buses Session 1!
If you were not able to attend the first session you can watch all three panellist’s presentations and closing remarks at Thank you to for live streaming the event!
We also provided extensive live coverage of the first session on Facebook and Twitter: @morethanbuses

Please stay tuned for more information about Session 2: DESIGN the network - Tuesday, July 19th from 6 to 8pm at the World Trade and Convention Centre.

Download Jarrett Walker’s presentation (session 1 panellist and international public transit network designer) [PDF, 1MB]
Download a summary of the ideas put forward by participants at Session 1  [PDF, 900KB]
Download the draft Guiding Principles from Session 1 [PDF, 350KB]

It’s More Than Buses is based on the premise that a clear direction for the future of the municipality’s public transit system needs to be championed by the citizens who rely on Halifax’s transportation system to meet their daily mobility needs, whether it’s travel to work, school, health care, shopping, recreation or entertainment.

Monday, June 20th, 2011

It’s More Than Buses

Transit is about access, mobility and a better city!
Join the conversation about the future of public transportation in Halifax.

Help shape your city through a series of public sessions:

1. Explore the options - Tuesday, June 28, 2011 from 6-8pm
2. Design the network - Tuesday, July 19, 2011 from 6-8pm
3. Mobilize public support! - Wednesday, Sept 7th, 2011 from 6-8pm

Venue for all three sessions: World Trade and Convention Centre, 1800 Argyle Street, Halifax

Download the It’s More Than Buses Poster [PDF, 600KB]
Download the bios of the Session 1 panelists [PDF, 800KB]

The Planning & Design Centre’s (PDC) Sustainable Transportation Task Force, in partnership with FUSION Halifax, is working at the grass roots level to advance our region’s shift toward a more sustainable transportation system. It’s More Than Buses features three public forums designed to engage citizens in objectively exploring how to improve HRM’s public transportation system. Experts from across the country will weigh in on the topic. Each session will be part panel presentations and part breakout groups, inviting the public to take inspiration from the panelists and contribute their own ideas. The three sessions will be iterative in the sense that ideas from the first session will inform the content of the second and third sessions. This series is unique in that we are seeking both the urban and suburban perspective on this issue.

Thank you to the Downtown Halifax Business Commission and the many individuals who have contributed their support to this event.

Follow It’s More Than Buses at:

Are you interested in regular updates about It’s More Than Buses and other Sustainable Transportation Task Force initiatives? Subscribe to our email list.

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Urban Farm project enters Phase 2

Cities & Environment Unit and Capital Health’s Partners for Care are moving ahead with developing an urban farm as an interim use on the site of the former Queen Elizabeth High School. Building on the outcomes of the first Public Forum held in November 2010, the Common Roots project is now entering Phase 2: Program and Design Development.

Download the Phase 2 poster [pdf, 1.2MB]
Download the report summarizing the outcomes of Phase 1: [pdf, 3.9MB]

Public Session 1. Program Development
Participants at this session will develop detailed programming for the farm focusing on what will be produced and how. Conversations will include the specific crops grown, the scale of plots/gardens/fields, and the possibilities for keeping animals.
Date, Time: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 / 5:30 - 8:00pm
Location: Citadel/Cunard Room, Hotel Atlantica, 1980 Robie St.

Public Session 2. Farm Operations & Governance
This session will focus on how the farm operates on a day-to-day and seasonal basis, including the technical requirements such as equipment, machinery and facilities. How the farm will run, opportunities for volunteers, special events and management will be covered.
Date, Time: Thursday, February 3, 2011 / 5:30 - 8:00pm
Location: Citadel/Cunard Room, Hotel Atlantica, 1980 Robie St.

Public Session 3. Food Distribution
Session 3 will focus on how produce will be distributed; how individuals or groups access food and learn about gardening and food preparation; and how the farm contributes to healthier habits and lifestyles in the broader community.
Date, Time: Wednesday, February 9 / 5:30 - 8:00pm
Location: Bethune Ballroom, Bethune Building, VG site, 1276 South Park Street

Public Session 4. Design Development
The project ideas developed in the first 3 sessions will inform specific design development of gardens and fields, open spaces, access requirements, facilities and other elements developed at previous workshops.
Date, Time: Thursday, March 3 / 5:30-8:00pm
Location: Bethune Ballroom, Bethune Building, VG site, 1276 South Park Street

Public Session 5. Design Review
This final session will provide an opportunity to review and refine the outcomes of the previous four public sessions.
Date, Time: Wednesday, March 9 / 5:30-8:00pm
Location: Bethune Ballroom, Bethune Building, VG site, 1276 South Park Street

Download a map of the VG site [pdf, 564 KB]

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Bikeways Plan for Institutional District

CEU planners are working with Dalhousie University, Saint Mary’s University, Capital Health, the IWK Health Centre and the community at large to develop a Bikeways Plan. Building on existing plans and policy, such as HRM’s Active Transportation Function Plan, we will engage staff, students, visitors and community members in establishing a bold vision for the future of cycling in the District, and prioritizing investments in new infrastructure and facilities. The newly formed Bicycle Action Committee (BAC) will guide the process.

Download the one-page description of the project: [pdf, 0.5MB]

Open House
Presentation of draft Bikeways Plan
Date: Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Time: Drop in: 4:30pm - 7:30pm (presentation at 5:30pm)
Location: Dalhousie Student Union Building, Room 303, 6136 University Avenue

Download the Open House posters: [pdf, 7.7MB]

Please provide your input to:
Cities & Environment Unit

or follow the project at:

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Seek newsletter issue 004 now available

CEU’s sister organization the Planning and Design Centre (PDC) has published the fourth issue of SEEK, a free newsletter featuring current planning and design projects, developments and upcoming events across the Halifax Region. This issue focuses on new development in the downtown and features a full-colour fold-out map highlighting projects that are proposed, approved and currently under construction. The issue includes an article exploring the potential municipal tax yields of the projects identified on the map.

Download Issue 004 of SEEK

We are continuing to distribute printed copies of SEEK to various locations around the city. If you are interested in picking up a printed copy, please contact the Cities & Environment Unit at: 902.494.3678.

For more information about the PDC and to download previous issues of SEEK, please visit:

The PDC thanks the Downtown Halifax Business Commission (DHBC) and the Spring Garden Area Business Association (SGABA) for their contributions to content for issue 004, with special thanks to DHBC for funding printing of the issue.

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Urban Farm public forum

Cities & Environment Unit has partnered with Capital Health’s Partners for Care to explore the idea of an urban farm as an interim use on the site of the former Queen Elizabeth High School. Please join us on Sunday, November 21st to further discuss and advance this exciting project.

Public Forum
Date: Sunday, November 21, 2010
Time: 12:30 - 4:30
Location: Guild Hall, Atlantica Hotel, 1980 Robie Street, Halifax

Download the Public Forum poster: UrbanFarm_poster_4Nov2010.pdf

As a follow-up to the Public Forum, the Open House provides an opportunity to share and confirm the outcomes of the first session.

Open House
Date: Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Time: 5:00 - 7:00
Location: RBC Auditorium, QEII Health Sciences Centre, 1796 Summer Street, Halifax

For more information or to share your thoughts on this project, please visit:

or email your comments to:
or call: Roma Jean Dingwell at: 902.423.8553

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Sustainable Transportation Task Force Launched

The Planning and Design Centre (sister organization to the Cities & Environment Unit) launched the Sustainable Transportation Task Force in July 2010. The Task Force is an independent body formed to engage the public and other stakeholders in the development of a long-term Sustainable Transportation Strategy and identify immediate and long-term actions required to implement the Strategy. The formation of the Task Force responds to a growing interest in enabling a shift toward a more sustainable transportation system for the Halifax region.

The Task Force has met regularly since July and has recently formed a working group to develop a demonstration project idea: a “Ciclovia” type event adapted for Halifax. For more information about the Bogotá, Columbia Ciclovia event, check out:

The Planning and Design Centre is currently inviting individuals to join the Task Force - new participants are always welcome!

Next Task Force Meeting
The Task Force is currently meeting the third Wednesday of every month, from 12:00 to 1:30pm at the Cities & Environment Unit offices: 5257 Morris Street.

Next Ciclovia Working Group Meeting
The Working Group is currently meeting the first Wednesday of every month, from 12:00 to 1:30pm at the Cities & Environment Unit offices: 5257 Morris Street.

For more information about the Planning and Design Centre, please visit:

Download the one-page description of the Task Force:

Download the notes from past Task Force meetings:

Download the notes from past Working Group meetings:




Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Municipalities for Green Mobility Project Update

In 2009, the TRAX Project of the Ecology Action Centre (EAC) and the Cities & Environment Unit (CEU) are spearheading Municipalities for Green Mobility, a project in which EAC and CEU have partnered with the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, the Town of Windsor and the Town of Annapolis Royal. The specific goal of this project is to help these municipalities include sustainable transportation best practices in their Integrated Community Sustainability Plans (ICSPs). By 2010, all municipalities in Canada must complete an ICSP to be eligible for funds from the federal gas tax pot. The ICSP process requires municipalities to create a 30-year community vision that addresses environmental, social, cultural and economic issues and to identify specific actions that achieve this vision. Therefore, ICSPs provide municipalities with an opportunity to advance sustainable transportation within a long-term planning framework.

The gas tax funds can be used for infrastructure projects, such as public transit, walking trails and drinking water treatment, that meet the federal government criteria of clean air, clean water and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

For each of our three partner municipalities, EAC and CEU facilitated public workshops to involve local residents in defining sustainable transportation goals for their areas.  Based on these workshops and our own research, EAC and CEU developed a Green Mobility report for each municipality, including recommendations to council. We presented the following reports and our recommendations to the respective municipal councils.

Annapolis Royal


District of Lunenburg

Stay tuned for the Municipalities for Green Mobility Toolkit, which will incorporate the lessons learned from our work with Annapolis Royal, Windsor and District of Lunenburg. This toolkit will inspire people to take action and inform planning and decision-making on sustainable transportation. It will be developed for use by all municipalities in Nova Scotia.

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Transforming Halifax: Connecting Immigrants with Planning Policy and Urban Design Learning Exchanges underway

Cities & Environment Unit has begun work on Transforming Halifax: Connecting Immigrants with Planning Policy and Urban Design, an Atlantic Metropolis Centre-sponsored research project.

The overall goal of the project is to understand how newcomers to Halifax can be better engaged in local planning processes, and what positive impacts this involvement could have on Halifax’s neighbourhoods.

After a review of case studies on immigrant engagement in other cities around the world, we are now moving into the next phase of our research: the Learning Exchanges. In each of these sessions, participants (6 per session) will learn about planning in the Canadian context and how to get involved. Participants will be asked to share their experiences of living in Halifax as a newcomer. Our goal is to gain a better understanding of how immigrants might shape the future of their neighbourhoods to better meet the needs of a diverse population.

We will be running two learning exchanges in each of the following areas in Halifax throughout the summer and fall, 2009:

Clayton Park/Fairview
Dates & times: 1) July 9, 2-4pm    2) July 23, 2-4pm
Location: YMCA, Fairview

South/West End
Dates & times: 1) July 16, 2-4pm    2) July 30, 2-4pm
Location: Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women

North End
Dates & times: 1) August 4, 6-8pm    2) August 18, 6-8pm
Location: Halifax North Public Library

Dates & times: 1) August 6, 6-8pm    2) August 20, 6-8pm
Location: Bedford Public Library

*The Downtown Dartmouth Learning Exchange will be rescheduled*

The following Learning Exchanges will be scheduled for the fall, 2009:

Downtown Dartmouth
Date & location TBA

Downtown Halifax
Date & location TBA

Date & location TBA

After the sessions are complete, we will be compiling a report and manual to submit to HRM to help the municipality ensure public engagement strategies are inclusive. We will also be displaying results of the research at a public exhibition at Pier 21.

To get involved or for more information about the project, please send an email to, or call us at: 494-3926.