Design for Diversity Manifesto


Since 2006, OpenCity Projects has showcased how excellent public spaces and urban design help make our cities more beautiful, diverse, sustainable, and inclusive.

We have often looked to Toronto for inspiration. It’s a city of newcomers, where immigration is embraced and where almost 50% of its population have been born outside Canada. Here we’ve seen that when people mix together and integrate well with each other and their spaces everyone can live and grow together, peacefully.

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Herbaceous interventions in Belgium

Hermès 10-2015 artiste non identifié-e  vue avec un tram Place de Rochefort 1190 Forest

Oxidized busts and well-worn sculptures fill the parks and public squares of cities around the world, yet these examples of public art are often overlooked. To draw attention to historical monuments all over Belgium, florist Geoffroy Mottart stages herbaceous interventions by adding botanical beards and verdant hairdos to statues of luminaries and potentates like Victor Rousseau and King Leopold II. This clash between history and brightly-colored floral facial hair lends the otherwise-somber effigies an air of tender whimsy. Continue reading

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Illuminated crosswalks in Amsterdam


The lighted zebra crossing, developed and patented by a company with the same name, is an illuminated crosswalk. Installed in the Netherlands, the white stripes of the ‘zebra’ light up both the crossing and its pedestrian traffic with the intent of improving safety at these intersections. In addition, several sensors — embedded into the technology — register the number of passing vehicles, as well as their velocity, axle load, and the number of pedestrians. Continue reading

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Yearly Review – The Best of 2016


As 2016 comes to a close we would like to take a look at what made this year so memorable. We explored innovative programs from around the world that focused on cultural diversity, inclusion and community building. We also launched Design for Diversity in 2016. For us, it is a new way of viewing, planning and designing public space that will work to create inclusive and welcoming spaces for all people. Our work won’t stop in 2017 either. The Design for Diversity Tool Kit, an aide for City builders interested in planning for culturally diverse communities, will be launching in 2017. Continue reading

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OpenCity Projects is Looking For a New Editor

OpenCity Projects is a creative lab that explores the role of public space in designing more vibrant and inclusive cities. We believe that when diverse people mix and interact in urban environments, it creates more tolerant and peaceful places to live. Our blog covers design best practices in cities around the world with a focus on cultural diversity and integration but also aesthetics, identity, sustainability and more. We are looking for our next editor.

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Weekly Review


Here’s our weekly review rounding up the best stories and ideas in public space from cities around the world. This week we bring you the winner of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge, 6 cities that transformed their highways into urban parks and 20 must-see December events in the Big Apple.  Continue reading

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Creative placemaking in Adams Morgan


The residents of Washington’s  Adams Morgan neighbourhood were invited to ‘cross the street and share in a public space experience.  Designed to encourage community building and open dialogue, Ciudad Emergente (CEM) developed Okuplaza Fest DC  in an effort to generate long-term change with the short-term actions inspired by a Latin American city plaza.  Continue reading

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How Barcelona is taking streets back from cars

Modern cities are ruled by cars. Streets are designed for them; bikers, pedestrians, vendors, hangers-out, and all other forms of human life are pushed to the perimeter in narrow lanes or sidewalks. Truly shared spaces are confined to parks and the occasional plaza. This is such a fundamental reality of cities that we barely notice it any more. Continue reading

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Playful creatures in the Azores


Featured at this year’s Walk&Talk festival on the island of São Miguel in the Azores, Moradavaga took inspiration from the rich sea life that exists in and around the Atlantic archipelago to produce a site specific piece of interactive art. “Vernie” the giant squid,  served as a communicative playful tool for passersby of all ages at Portas do Mar in the city of Ponta Delgada.  Continue reading

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