Student Fellowship

Improving Social Amenities through Coordinated Community Development and Municipal Planning

Project Area:

Urban Design and Mobility


Moncton, Canada

Reporting to:

Intergovernmental Affairs and Corporate Advisor

The Challenge

According to city officials, social issues - such as people experiencing homelessness and mental health issues and addiction - have become a complex and visible challenge in the City of Moncton. As such, the Mayor and City Council have identified several critical priorities in their 2022 Strategic Plan: implementing a social inclusion plan, addressing social issues, and developing strategies to ensure the city is a safe community. The mayor’s objective for the city is to reach functional zero homelessness by 2024. A recently formed Task Force on Homelessness and Downtown Security has developed a 27-item action plan to address homelessness and mental health and addiction issues. City officials want to think of ways in which they can enhance the accessibility and utilization of various essential social amenities for the community across the city and align that with their community development and municipal planning frameworks. Social amenities and services such as public washrooms, health and wellness centers, meals/food banks, shelters, waste receptacles, and storage facilities are currently clustered in the downtown core of Moncton.

The fellow working alongside Moncton officials will help answer these key questions: 

  • Are there any regulatory barriers, such as zoning regulations, to accommodating and facilitating essential social amenities in the city at-large?
  • Is there a geographic element to optimizing the delivery of essential social amenities? Are there gaps across the city wherein service delivery is needed but currently unavailable? 
  • How can the city identify ideal locations to host amenities such as waste receptacles, public self-cleaning washrooms, storage facilities for personal belongings, shelters, mental health services, clinics, law enforcement services, etc.?
  • Is there any case law that the city should be aware of surrounding the regulation of essential community services, such as minimum separation distances between facilities?

What You’ll Do

The fellow will:

  • Research any current regulatory barriers, such as zoning regulations, to accommodating and facilitating essential social amenities.
  • Gather data and conduct analyses to understand the geographic element to optimizing the delivery of essential social amenities.
  • Research community development and municipal planning best practices and make recommendations about what would work for Moncton.
  • Conduct interviews with the Planning and Development Department, Community Development Officer – Social Inclusion, frontline agencies, provincial government officials, community groups and other stakeholders such as primary health care clinics, harm reduction centers, Chamber of Commerce for Greater Moncton, Community Task Force on Homelessness and Downtown Security, Greater Moncton Homelessness Steering Committee and the Human Development Council to understand need, opportunities and inform recommendations.
  • Align recommendations with current cross-departmental and cross-sectoral work being done on a variety of social issues (housing, complex needs, governance, shelter operations, addictions and mental health services/support and safe supply).
  • Create interactive maps to illustrate ideal locations for the identified amenities, with justifications for their placement.
  • Identify key points to assist with crafting communication messages for elected officials and the administration.

Related deliverables to be defined in concert with the fellow would likely include the following: Summary of research on any regulatory barriers to accommodating and facilitating increased essential social amenities; key insights from stakeholder interviews and best practice research; supporting data and evidence (including data from existing cross-departmental and cross-sectoral work); interactive maps to illustrate ideal locations for the identified amenities with justifications for their placement; communication strategies and key messages (for elected officials and administration).

What You’ll Bring

The fellow will be expected to possess the following skills and experience:

  • Data analysis 
  • Qualitative interviewing and analysis
  • Mapping (GIS) 
  • Policy analysis 
  • Design thinking
  • Writing and editing 
  • Preferred skills: Community/Urban Planning, Tactful stakeholder engagement
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