January 12, 2022

Future City Builders: Edmonton group believes “it takes a village” and wins

By Evergreen

Urban Action Pitch Night winners share their solution to foster better collaboration among social service providers

On December 8, 2021 four teams of young city builders from the Edmonton area presented their solutions for a healthier city at the Future City Builders Pitch Night. After a strong virtual presentation and tough questions from the judges, Team 1 was selected as the winner.  

Kane Pendry, Urooj Fatima and Danielle Amodia, youth aged 18-29 from the Edmonton cohort, didn’t know each other before they met a few months ago via the Future City Builders program but they soon realized they shared a love of their hometown and a desire to help the most marginalized in their city. 

The Future City Builders program, delivered by Evergreen, offers the chance to work with like-minded youth to design a concrete solution to address urban challenges. With this win, these full-time students received $5,000 in seed funding* to continue developing their innovative web platform, a database called Ôcênâs (oh-chin-knee-us) which means ‘village’ in the Cree language

Team 1 Urooj Fatima Kane Pendry Danielle Amodia


The driving force behind the project is a genuine desire to help individuals at risk, people experiencing homelessness, and those most likely to face incarceration. The digital platform is for people working in social services to communicate more effectively and efficiently with one another to improve client care.  

“Essentially, it’s a connections and data-storing portal. [It] starts as a database of all the organizations,” says co-creator and second-year design student Kane Pendry. “Each organization has the capability to reach out through the system to the other organizations about a client.” 

Social service providers and other agencies could use the platform to record their clients’ histories and needs more easily, especially when clients move in and out of contact and data can easily be lost. This open but secure platform would also help address problems associated with high turnover in social service organizations. 

“Because of turnover there is a loss of information on the people who use their services. We thought, how can we create something that fixes that gap. Some sort of a platform that works like a Netcare,” says co-creator and Business student Urooj Fatima. Alberta’s Netcare portal is used by health professionals to store patients’ clinical records. 

Ôcênâs also seeks to reduce the de-humanization that can sometimes occur when an individual in a vulnerable place seeks help. “When at-risk youth are left on waiting lists it increases relapse and the individual feeling like just another number,” says Pendry.

The team also intends to develop the client side of the platform so that service users can view the listings and get contact information for many different service providers. For service users who are more digitally-connected, they want to offer the functionality to access their own records and history of services received. 

What’s next 

Fatima and Pendry say that once their team was formed, they were matched with a “community connector” to help them arrange key interviews and learn from community members already working with their demographic groups. Pendry, who identifies as Métis, says they definitely wanted to incorporate Indigeneity in their project. They consulted with Elders, social service leaders and educators who could tell them more about the challenges youth, particularly Indigenous youth, face. Now that they’ve received the validation that their project deserves further exploration, they know there is a lot more work to do. 

“We have so much research to do and more discussions [to have]. We have a few meetings lined up with developers and other non-profits. We need to justify every little action we’re doing and make sure no one else is doing the same thing so we’re not being repetitive,” says Pendry.  

“And that we can provide an effective tool for these organizations.” 

*The Future City Builders project is generously funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre and the RBC Foundation in support of RBC Future Launch.

More on Future City Builders

  • Watch all the youth-led healthy city solution concept videos presented on Edmonton Pitch Night or watch the entire recorded session.
  • Applications now open! The next cohort will be in the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge-Guelph area. More information available on the Future City Builders page hosted by Evergreen.

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