Category Archives: Social Cohesion

#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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Urban potluck

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In an effort to combat community isolation and “fear of the other” Ciudad Emergente the Santiago-based social enterprise that focuses on enhancing public space through tactical urbanism, developed a Malón Urbano or Urban Potluck. The simple idea of sharing a meal with neighbours has created real change at the community level.   Continue reading

Commoning the Urban

CU2  Against a backdrop of austerity measures and top-down planning interventions, “El Campo de Cebada” – The Barley Field, is an allusion to its former use in the 19th century – in the heart of Madrid’s La Latina neighbourhood illustrates the possibilities of upscaled participative citizenship. Formerly home to a sporting facility in 2009, the 5,500 square metre site was slated to transform into to a private market. However, a hostile atmosphere, coupled with a lack of political foresight, conspired to make the site economically unviable. And so it sat, desolate and fenced in, a veritable scar on the neighbourhood. Continue reading

Stockton Street

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A relatively ordinary street underwent a radical transformation over the winter holidays into a beautiful shopping and pedestrian plaza called ‘Winter Walk SF’. Two blocks of Stockton Street between Ellis and Geary Street in the heart of Los Angeles’s Union
Square changed for one month into an entertainment complex with special entertainment, regular live performances and festive surprises.
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DRIVE New York

DRIVE is a nationwide journey to encourage bottom-up efforts and “drive” social innovation through design. The project documents collaborative creations with urban and rural community groups. Designed by Rotten Apple and Soft Walks, DRIVE is a six-city series that starts off in New York City and continues in Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Omaha and Laramie. Continue reading