Activating Empty Storefronts Through Social Innovation

Vacant storefronts reflect the disinvestment and loss of retail activity that has accompanied suburbanization, while also creating impediments to revitalization. It is therefore important to consider alternative approaches, such as activating empty storefronts through social innovation. Social innovation focuses on public interest and social cohesion, rather than commercial success. In this research, we seek to develop a process for activating empty storefronts in Edmonton, in particular with arts-based activities. We will do so through a focus on two centrally-located neighbourhoods, where we will develop an inventory of empty storefronts, engage local stakeholders and consider how to connect local artists with otherwise disused spaces. At the same time, our research seeks to develop a framework that will allow artists and local communities to activate empty storefront spaces in a more autonomous and efficient manner in the future.

Faculty Supervisor:

Damian Collins


Sydney Gross


Arts Habitat Edmonton


Urban studies


Management of companies and enterprises




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