News and Events
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.

December 3rd, 2010

CEU completes evaluation of Saskatchewan CCBP Pilot Project

After more than a decade working with First Nation communities across the country, CEU has compiled a report capturing key findings and recommendations for advancing comprehensive, community-based planning (CCBP) in First Nations. The report draws on our experiences, with particular focus on the Saskatchewan CCBP Pilot Project, as well as interviews with people involved in community planning in different provinces. While there are many challenges associated with effective CCBP, there is significant evidence that it is worth doing. The findings call for broad recognition at the Federal and First Nation level that community plans make a difference, and are both cost-effective and necessary. Based on this recognition, the evaluation outlines specific recommendations to inform how community planning should be delivered, integrated and supported in First Nations across the country. The report highlights the importance of building on the momentum and investment in the CCBP Pilot Project to extend plan development to more communities, and improve opportunities to implement plans that increase local self-reliance and maximize the impact of funding for community planning and capacity development.
[download a copy of the report]

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

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:




September 11th, 2010

Standing Buffalo Greenshed

Standing Buffalo Dakota Nation has begun work on its Greenshed project. The project marks the start of not only their combined greenhouse, storage shed and market, but also their community garden and new Band Hall. The Greenshed is a demonstration and test of ideas and designs that will eventually be used to construct the community Band Hall. To get involved or learn more about the project, check out the project blog at:

July 29th, 2010


Kinistin Saulteaux Nation has completed its Pow wow arbour! The arbour was listed in the community’s Plan as a potential project and Kinistin members are excited to begin organizing a 2011 Pow wow; it will be Kinistin’s first since 1991. Cities & Environment Unit planners, along with architecture students from Dalhousie University, were in Kinistin from July 17-29 to assist with the community-based design/build process. To learn more please visit the project blog at:

June 7th, 2010

Employment Opportunity at Cities & Environment Unit

Cities & Environment Unit is seeking a Community Planner to join our team on a six month contract, with possibility for extension based on funding and performance. Please download the complete job description. Qualified candidates are asked to submit a cover letter and resume by June 22, 2010 to: Frank Palermo, Director, Cities & Environment Unit. Drop-off or mail: 5257 Morris Street, Halifax, NS B3J 1B6; send by email (PDF or Word Document) to; or fax: 902.423.6672.

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.

July 23rd, 2009

Planning and Design Centre Movie Night “My Architect” - July 23rd, 7:00 P.M.

Tonight (Thursday, July 23rd), the Planning and Design Centre (PDC) will be hosting a movie night and panel discussion at the Ralph M. Medjuk Building (Dalhousie Architecture and Planning) at 5410 Spring Garden Road. The film is My Architect, a documentary about modernist architect Louis Kahn’s architecture, and his son’s journey to connect with his father’s legacy.

The evening will begin with a panel discussion at 7:00 P.M. Professor Steven Mannell and HRM Heritage Planner Bill Plaskett will speak for 30 minutes about the film, modernist architecture, and heritage planning in Halifax. The film will follow the panel discussion.

Admission (including popcorn) is free, and donations to the Planning and Design Centre are welcome. We look forward to a great turnout and to a lively discussion.

Download the movie night poster here.

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.