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SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Orange icon with graphic of buildings to represent UNSDG Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.

Dalhousie has been contributing to the vibrant city of Halifax for over 200 years

As a civic university, we are committed to encouraging public access to activities and facilities on our Halifax and Truro campuses to foster a clearly visible connection between the university and the communities in which we reside.  

High-impact research

The quest for affordable housing: Dal planning prof on the need for new approaches
Dr. Ren Thomas, a housing and urban planning expert at Dal, explores the need for innovation and creativity in tackling Nova Scotia's housing crisis — something that will require changing current approaches to housing delivery in the city. Read the Dal News story about how the role planners have to play in addressing the housing crisis.

Ask an expert: How can Nova Scotia grow and stay green?
We asked Dr. Westwood about the state of environmental assessments in Nova Scotia — last updated in 2008 — and what changes she and her colleagues would like to see implemented. Read the Dal News story about environmental assessments.

See how 30 Canadian cities stack up on environmental quality with this Dal researcher's scorecard
More than 80 per cent of Canadians live in urban areas and this study is the first to develop a comprehensive portrayal of their environmental conditions. The Canadian Environmental Quality Index (Can-EQI) distills the review of complex environmental characteristics into a single value for each location, with higher values indicating more desirable environmental conditions. Read the Dal News story about the scorecard.

Canada’s National Housing Strategy: Is it really addressing homelessness and affordability?
The National Housing Strategy (NHS) is a 10-year, $72-billion effort launched in 2017 to address key areas in the Canadian housing landscape. Its goals include increasing housing affordability and reducing homelessness. But research shows that the vast majority of people in core housing need are not benefiting from NHS programs. Read the exploration of the NHS in The Conversation.

Urbanisation is a global phenomenon with regional significance and local consequences
The Green Infrastructure Performance Lab (GIPL) engages in interdisciplinary research focused on the analysis and design & planning of landscapes to improve human and ecological wellbeing. Their research has wide impact on our communities and engages solutions to the issues surrounding carbon neutral design.   

The Dalhousie Transportation Collaboratory (DalTRAC) is a multidisciplinary transportation research unit dedicated to transportation studies, planning and policy analysis. Established in 2011, it is sponsored by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Province of Nova Scotia, and Halifax Regional Municipality.

Ask an expert: What's next for Canada's housing market as frenzy gives way to rapid cooling?
Jill Grant, a professor emeritus in Dal’s School of Planning and an expert on planning theory who researches housing and cities, offered her take on the change in the market and the state of housing in Canada. Read the Dal News interview with Jill Grant.

Exceptional student experience

Learn how to plan more sustainable and equitable spaces
Community Design is a program for students who care about the character and future of our communities. You'll learn to design better living environments and give communities the tools to make their own choices through real-life and hands-on experiences. You'll do all of this while keeping sustainability and the environment in mind.

Dalhousie’s School of Planning launches new course in housing policy amid skyrocketing prices
Students have the opportunity to study the intricacies behind housing issues and learn ways to inform the future in a new course on housing policy launching in Dalhousie’s School of Planning. Read the Dal News story on the new course in housing policy.

Transform communities
One of the oldest of engineering professions, Civil Engineering is responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of our ever-changing world. Civil engineers are dynamic professionals who build infrastructure such as highways, bridges, marine structures, residential and commercial buildings, water treatment solutions, and more.

Civic university with global impact

Dal’s Faculty of Architecture and Planning is hosting a Housing Engagement Series to address the ongoing housing issues in our city and province
Bringing together practitioners, academics, community organizers, government leaders, and the public this Open Dialogue Live series will examine the social impacts of housing, how we understand the housing sector, and innovation and creativity in the industry to engage and develop strategies to address the housing issues we all face.

Art for community: Neighbours and university collaborate on street mural
Residents, students and the Dalhousie community came together to bring a colourful street mural to life at the intersection of Larch and Jennings in Halifax designed by Mi’kmaw artist Tayla Fern Paul. Read the Dal New story about the street mural.

Connecting with our community
For 50 years, Community Day on the Truro Campus has been bringing a wide range of community members to campus with a wide variety of interests. Travel from station-to-station across campus sampling treats, exploring our greenhouses, touring our newly renovated Cox Institute, and much more. There really is something for everyone on campus.

In search of his roots: Residential school survivor Jim Prosper's extraordinary book collection finds new home at Dal
During his retirement, Jim Prosper began curating an impressive book collection — one that has now found a new home at Dalhousie. The more contemporary books in the collection will be found on the shelves in the newly launched Indigenous Community Room, found on the first floor of the Killam Memorial Library in the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Legacy Space. Read the Dal News story about the book collection.

Welcoming the community
All of our campuses welcome our neighbours with full access to campus green spaces. In Halifax, the Bicentennial Commons project is developing outdoor public space to draw students, faculty, staff, and the community to the centre of campus. On the Truro campus, a rock garden, along with shade and herb gardens, a butterfly meadow, an apple orchard, and other unique features create quiet havens for visitors.

David Schroeder Music & Culture Lecture Series
The David Schroeder Music & Culture Lecture Series hosts guest speakers in public lectures. All lectures are free and open to the public and are held in Room 406 (MacAloney Room) of the Dalhousie Arts Centre beginning at 12:00 noon.

Body matters, built environments: Two Dal projects showcased at Nocturne 2022 arts festival
Dal hosted two free exhibitions as part of Halifax's annual city-wide art festival Nocturne, now in its 15th year. One of the projects, “Ephemeral Permanence,” was designed, planned, and constructed by students in the School of Architecture to explore the impact of architecture on community. Read the Dal News story on the 2022 Nocturne exhibitions.

Foundation for inclusion and distinction

Dal's Emera IDEA and Richard Murray Design buildings achieve LEED Platinum status in first for the university
This Platinum certification from the globally recognized Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program vaults Dal into a new orbit with a small group of other post-secondary peers in Canada leading the way in green building. Read the Dal News story about achieving LEED platinum status.

Dalhousie and the community
Community engagement at Dal includes both outreach and invitation. Community Updates are distributed door-to-door and an annual Community Calendar communicates important dates. We've established relationships with  community partners, including the YMCA, Halifax Public Libraries, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, and the United Way. And our Dalhousie Community Experience Committee (DCEC) brings together a network of community developers from across the university.

Set in Stone: How three Dalhousie buildings have forged stronger connections between campus and community over the decades
The Dalhousie Arts Centre, Killam Memorial Library and Life Sciences Centre first opened their doors in 1971 and they share a few things beyond their moment of origin, most notably their Brutalist design. But possibly their strongest common bond is the part they played in reshaping Dal’s relationships with its broader community, making Dalhousie more open, to more people, than ever before.
Read the DAL Magazine story about these iconic Dal buildings.

Dalhousie University is Certified as a Bike Friendly Workplace
Bike Friendly Certification is a recognition and training program for businesses and institutions that support bicycle commuting, bicycle travel and bicycle tourism experiences in Nova Scotia.

SmartTrip Dalhousie
Dalhousie has partnered with Halifax Regional Municipality's SmartTrip program to inspire students, faculty, and staff to engage in alternative sustainable transportation decisions.

Providing transportation choices for students, faculty, and staff
Dalhousie’s Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan
highlights progress made to date, as well as challenges, opportunities, and
strategic directions for the next decade.

Building green
Under the Sustainability Policy green building requirements, all new buildings should be built to third party certification such as zero-carbon and LEED® Gold Certified standards or higher and existing building upgrades follow a green building standard as outlined in our Design Guidelines. This includes a commitment to building on brownfield sites as part of our commitment to green building. Dalhousie is a member of the Canada Green Building Council.