Healthy Neighbourhoods, Healthy Cities


Canada’s premier gathering of community development leaders

- Hosted by the City of Edmonton and Vibrant Communities -  



Community Leaders




Thought Leaders




Experiential Community Tours

Why Invest in Neighbourhood Development?

Over the past three decades, there has been a shift in how we connect with one another. Today, people report fewer social connections, decrease in tolerance and trust, and an eroding political and civic engagement atmosphere in our communities.  Building communities that bring residents together and provide a sense of belonging and connection leads to residents being happier, healthier, more likely to live longer and more willing to act for the common good. 

While municipalities have traditionally focused on the physical components of a neighbourhood -  paving sidewalks and roads or building houses, parks and arenas - cities across Canada are now realizing that they need to do more.  They need to support the residents who live, work and play in the neighbourhoods to create a sense of belonging and connection. This is how vibrant cities are built.

So how can we support this work?

Asset-Based Community Development
 is an approach to the development of communities based on their strengths and potentials. It involves assessing the resources, skills, and experiences available in a community; organizing the community around issues that move its members into action; and then determining and taking appropriate action. In this workshop, you will learn the key fundamentals of ABCD and grow your skills and confidence to use these in your work. We will also connect you to the ground-breaking work that Tamarack is undertaking to deepen community in North America.


Neighbourhood work is one of the foremost opportunities available to us to foster a sense of belonging. Neighbourhoods are home to an abundance of people with shared experience, while at the same time offering great diversity in personalities, experiences, gifts, cultures and backgrounds. In this workshop you will learn strategies and gain tools and resources to build belonging and connection in neighbourhoods.


City Building is about harnessing community assets to build strong neighbourhoods. By connecting citizens to work together they strengthen the economic, social and physical infrastructure. Vibrant cities create the conditions for economic and social well being. 


ABCD AudienceWho should attend?

In the spirit of ABCD, this workshop is open to everyone. We will learn together, enjoy a sense of community and explore the gifts we each bring to community life. Professionals working in neighbourhood development, community building and community health will find this workshop indispensable. ABCD is considered a core practice and is recognized around the world as essential knowledge for anyone working to improve their communities. 

Meet Our Thought Leaders

Throughout the workshop we will be guided by a number of Thought Leaders from the field who will share their experiences in building community and inspire group conversation to share our own experiences with one another.

Stay tuned, we will share names of our younger and more diverse voices. Our plan is to pair global leaders in the field with emerging leaders in the field creating a synergy of voices.

John McKnight

John McKnight is a best-selling author and Co-Director and Co-Founder of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute and has the distinction of being known as the world's best-known community development expert. For more than four decades his research and teaching have focused on social service delivery systems, health policy, community organization, neighbourhood policy and the incorporation of labelled people into community life.

Jim Diers

Jim is author of the Seattle Way who travels internationally to deliver speeches and present workshops on neighbours and neighbourhoods. He teaches at the University of Washington and serves on the faculty of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute.

Vickie Cammack

Vickie is a social innovator who has established many ground breaking organizations dedicated to strengthening community and addressing social isolation including Tyze Personal Network.

Cormac Russell

Cormac Russell resides in Scotland and might very well be the most knowledgeable practitioner of Asset-Based Community Development in the world. He is an author of several books on Asset-Based Community Development

Al Etmanski

Al is an internationally bestselling author and Canada’s thought leader on social innovation. Al has specialized in innovative, multi-sector solutions to solving complex social challenges.

Paul Born

Paul Born is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Tamarack Institute, the author of two Canadian best selling books, an international faculty member of the ABCD Institute and a Senior member of Ashoka the worlds largest network of social innovators.

Howard Lawrence

Howard has a passion for grassroots neighbourhood engagement and continues to work collaboratively with ABCD Institute and Tamarack Canada. He consulted with the City of Edmonton to spearhead Abundant Community Edmonton and now, does this work full-time in Edmonton’s Neighbourhood Services.

See Full List of Presenters


“I came to explore and find a new framework for my work. You gave me lots to think about and I had a number of AHHA moments. This work speaks to my Soul." 

"Thank you for this experience! It has a lot of what I look for in a conference - experts, peers and shared experiences right in the heart of a community.”

- Past Participants

Thank you to our Local Event Partners:

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