All posts by Danny Brown

Design for Diversity – Bend the rules

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At OpenCity, we have spent the last seven years learning about what motivates diverse people to spend time in a place and connect with others. Design for Diversity is a new way of viewing, planning and designing public space through a lens of inclusion and diversity. Over the coming weeks we will unpack the Design for Diversity manifesto to ease planners and city lovers into the practice. In this post, we address the importance of “bending the rules” – the final point in our manifesto. Continue reading

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Design for Diversity – Speak their language

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At OpenCity, we have spent the last seven years learning about what motivates diverse people to spend time in a place and connect with others. Design for Diversity is a new way of viewing, planning and designing public space through a lens of inclusion and diversity. Over the coming weeks we will unpack the Design for Diversity manifesto to ease planners and city lovers into the practice.  Continue reading

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#SitTO: A No-Brainer Idea Whose Time Has Finally Come

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“Nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come” said Victor Hugo, famous author of Les Miserables and the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Even though he was talking about crime and punishment in the mid-nineteenth century, the sentiment stands, or given this post’s topic, sits. A recent flurry of media attention and a nationally-trending hashtag (#SitTO) has finally started a long overdue conversation about Toronto’s public spaces, namely their lack of public seating. See, while Toronto has no shortage of engaging streets, vibrant neighbourhoods, and dynamic public spaces – seriously check out footage from Jurassic Park during the NBA playoffs – there’s very few places where you can take a load off. Here’s a few reasons in no particular order about why that’s a problem and why you should care about this in the first place.

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Design for Diversity – Tap local talent/diversify your team

design for diversity tap local talent

At OpenCity, we have spent the last seven years learning about what motivates diverse people to spend time in a place and connect with others. Design for Diversity is a new way of viewing, planning and designing public space through a lens of inclusion and diversity. Over the coming weeks we will unpack the Design for Diversity manifesto to ease planners and city lovers into the practice.  Continue reading

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An 100in1Day Story

vacant lot

It started with a vacant lot; an unloved, mostly ignored, plastic-bag-and-broken-bottle-strewn patch of city. I, and am sure many others in my neighbourhood, passed by it every day. Sometimes I’d grumble about its sorry state but usually I would just ignore it. At some point, I knew, given Toronto’s current real estate frenzy, this corner would be developed, its barren ground again serving an essential function. With earphones in and a whole other three corners to survey during my commute, I could wait a while for this gap in the urban fabric to be filled.

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Canadian Lessons for Winter Cities

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As the mercury begins to rise above zero in many Canadian cities in March, it’s tempting to pretend that we’ll never again have to bundle up and suffer through frozen-numb faces and temperatures colder than Mars. Though probably required to alleviate our collective cabin fever, in reality about one quarter of our lives in northern cities is spent dealing with winter and its many discontents. This annual recurrence of snow and slush, blizzards and black ice, has largely and traditionally been ignored by urban planners and designers whose work tends to focus on making our cities and spaces livable and functional for only three quarters of the year. Lately, however, a movement has been gaining momentum that is challenging this seasonal myopia and is seeking innovative solutions to combat this oversight.

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100(hacks)in1Day

 

Toronto got hacked on June 7th, but it was its public spaces that were affected, not its computers. The code of a city is written in its rules, regulations, bylaws, prohibitions, and the cans and cannot-dos of our streets, parks, and sidewalks. Pedestrians belong on the sidewalk, cars on the road. This area reserved for dogs. Don’t walk on the grass. We experience the city and our public spaces passively most of the time, letting the code dictate our behaviour. But what happens when you become an active participant and change the rules? What if you insert new code?

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Spring Newsletter Cleaning

2538616801_c250c378a1_zWith the trees starting to bloom and the spring showers washing the grime of a long winter away, it’s a time to celebrate rebirth and renewal. OpenCity Projects is excited to announce that we are revamping and experimenting with our monthly newsletter format. We crunched the numbers and took a critical perspective in our review of our content aggregation practices and will be piloting a few different approaches in the months to come. We want to ensure that we are sharing the most interesting and engaging content while keeping our newsletters short and sweet. If you have any feedback or suggestions, we’d love to hear from you. Tweet us your thoughts @opncty or comment below with your ideas!

 

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Dreaming Big and Small with 100in1Day

OpenCity Projects: 100in1dayEvergreen CityWorks and United Way Toronto are dreaming both big and small for Toronto’s inaugural 100in1Day Festival. Big because they want to organize 100 urban interventions in 1 day – June 7, 2014 to be exact – and small because they want to empower individual citizens and residents to “activate” each of the 100 projects. Their hope is to change the city for the better and infuse our everyday urban experience with a little spirit and a lot of imagination. Continue reading

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