Nola Kilmartin

Top 40 Under 40 2016

Photography Curtis Comeau

Age: 36

Job Title: Senior Urban Planner and Designer, Kennedy

Why She’s Top 40: She’s helping to make Edmonton a more liveable city for all Edmontonians — even in the wintertime.

Guilty Pleasure: “The chocolate chip oatmeal cookies at Credo on 124th Street. They are warm and soft with crispy edges, and fresh out of the oven at 11 a.m. daily.”

For most of her adult life, Nola Kilmartin lived in cities where a person could comfortably get around on foot or with transit.

“You get to spend your time focused on what’s important, instead of sitting in traffic congestion,” she says. While living in Montreal, she was struck by the many benefits of a pedestrian-friendly city. At 27, she left a career in finance and business for urban planning, hoping to make other communities just as liveable, environmentally friendly and healthy.

In 2011, Kilmartin took a job in Edmonton, figuring the young and fast-growing city would give her the chance to make a big impact. She was right: as a planner at the City of Edmonton, she helped rezone approximately 40 football fields of land. This included more than 100 infill projects, including the contentious LRT expansion.

Kilmartin also created the city’s Winter Design Guidelines to help make the city more pedestrian-friendly. The landmark document drew international attention and she was invited to speak at the 2016 International Winter Cities Symposium in Turkey.

Now, Kilmartin works for Kennedy, an Edmonton design studio, and plans diverse development projects across the city. In her spare time, she’s helping organize the 2017 Winter Cities Shake-up (an international conference for city builders) and a conference for Women and Money Canada (a new organization aimed at financial empowerment for all women).

Busy as she is, Kilmartin continues to enjoy life as a pedestrian. The car she purchased two years ago for outdoor adventures is usually parked at home: “I don’t ever want to spend my time sitting in traffic or my money on fuel.”

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