Themes and Directions Content

Themes and Directions

The Themes introduce the main overall topic areas. There are 11 themes in total. In the table, each theme is briefly described and explained. If you would like to read the entire theme, there is a link to read the theme in more detail. You may also dive deeper into issue papers that relate to the theme or read further into the background materials that helped to develop the theme.

Theme Description and Supporting Documents

A quick snapshot of the Regional Plan ideas can be found here:

The Background to the Themes and Direction Document can be found here:

A link to the full Themes and Direction Document can be found here:

Theme 1: Considering the Regional Scale First

The Regional Plan sets out a common vision and long-range, region-wide planning Policies outlining where, when, and how future growth and development should take place between now and 2031. The Municipality’s physical geographic constraints, existing and planned water and wastewater infrastructure, transit boundary, as well as the location of employment and community facilities significantly impacts where and how the region grows’. A full description of Theme Area 1 and the suggested policy actions can be found here:

Theme 2: Building Healthier and More Complete Communities

The Regional Plan provides guidance for the development of communities across the municipality to build healthier, more complete communities by setting policy direction at a regional scale to strengthen our citizens’ quality of life by maximizing our municipal services and amenities. A full description of Theme Area 2 and the suggested policy actions can be found here:

Issue Papers

Additional Materials

Theme 3: Reconsidering Employment and Industrial Lands

The Halifax Regional Municipality is the economic hub of Atlantic Canada. The Regional Plan highlights important components of regional economic development, including protection for industrial lands, business parks, the Halifax Harbour and other coastal areas, as well as support for the rural economy. A full description of Theme Area 3 and the suggested policy actions can be found here:

Theme 4: Transforming How We Move in our Region

The Regional Plan supports safe, sustainable and accessible travel options to move conveniently throughout the region. A regional transportation system links people and communities with each other and with goods, services and opportunities in an environmentally and fiscally sustainable way. The Municipality recognizes that transportation and land use planning are inseparable and the decision-making process for both must be integrated. A full description of Theme Area 4 and the suggested policy actions can be found here:

Additional Materials

Theme 5: Social Planning for Community Well-Being

Since the last Regional Plan review Regional Council has played an increasing role in socially minded policies and directives including:

  • Endorsing: the Housing Needs Assessment, Halifax Food Action Plan, Anti-Poverty Solutions Strategy
  • Creating: the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Increasing presence of the African Nova Scotia Integrated Affairs Office
  • Partnering: with Mobile Food Market, Halifax Food Policy Alliance, Housing and Homelessness Partnership
  • Collaborating: with not-for-profits and the Province

A full description of Theme Area 5 and the suggested policy actions can be found here:

Theme 6: Celebrating Culture & Heritage

HRM is home to diverse cultures and histories that are expressed in many ways. Tangible assets, such as heritage buildings and sites, speak to the evolution of the community over time, while intangible assets, such as events, provide an opportunity to preserve and foster living traditions. Sharing Our Stories will provide a regional approach to the preservation of these heritage and cultural resources, which will be reflected in the Regional Plan review. A full description of Theme Area 6 and the suggested policy actions can be found here:

Additional Materials

Theme 7: Integrating Community Facilities and Parks

Parks and community facilities are an essential component of complete communities that support healthy lifestyles for all residents. Currently, in HRM there are more than 900 municipal parks, including playgrounds, sport courts, playing fields and other specialized amenities, as well as over 65 indoor community facilities, ranging from small community centres to large complexes with pools, arena and gymnasiums. Facilities provided by other organizations, such as schools and emergency facilities, also play an important role in the livability of our communities and should be considered when planning for development.

A full description of Theme Area 7 and the suggested policy actions can be found here:

Additional Materials:

Theme 8: Enhancing Environmental Protection

Open spaces and waterbodies are vital to maintaining a healthy, sustainable and desirable region. They provide important habitats and ecosystems, support economic activity, shape communities, provide opportunities for recreation, and reflect local culture and history. Momentum is building for work taking place in approved priority plans:

  • Halifax Green Network Plan: identifies ways the Municipality can better identify and protect landscapes
  • HalifACT: supports the preservation of open spaces and waterbodies as part of efforts to reduce emissions and help communities adapt to climate change.

A full description of Theme Area 8 and the suggested policy actions can be found here:

Issue Paper:

Theme 9: Leading Through Action on Climate

Climate change is real, urgent, complex, and a global crisis. With the changing climate, we face hazards to health, economic growth, safety and the natural world. In HRM, Regional Council has declared a climate emergency and, guided by HalifACT the Municipality is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support communities’ resiliency to the effects of climate change. A full description of Theme Area 9 and the suggested policy actions can be found here:

Additional Materials

Theme 10: Imagining HRM into 2050 and Beyond

As 2020 has taught us, society can change dramatically over a short time. However, with long-range planning, the municipality can be better prepared to handle an uncertain future, and to some extent, even direct what the future can look like based on a shared vision. Now that this plan is nearing the end of its lifespan (2031), it is time to begin thinking about what we want HRM to look like further into the future. A full description of Theme Area 10 and the suggested policy actions can be found here:


Theme 11: Assessing the Impacts of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global public health crisis that has significant implications for the social and economic well-being of our region. HRM is facing great uncertainty, and the Regional Plan can help to guide the Municipality’s recovery and response. A full description of Theme Area 11 and the suggested policy actions can be found here:


Additional Materials



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