City of Toronto, Enhancing Neighbourhoods

We live and work in neighbourhoods but do we ever stop and wonder how they can better meet our daily needs?
OpenCity Projects delivered creative solutions that make neighbourhoods more beautiful, relevant experiences.

The City of Toronto’s Clean and Beautiful City initiative has been working to renew public spaces with the support of neighbourhood residents since 2005. The City’s Urban Development Services team asked OpenCity Projects to engage city stakeholders and use design to improve urban environments based on their needs. In partnership with OCAD University, we worked with 3rd year design students to turn this challenge into a creative opportunity.

Our project began with desk research to learn about urban settings such as the demographics and history. Students visited neighbourhoods to observe people first-hand in public spaces. They conducted one-on-one interviews to learn about the neighbourhood experience from residents’ perspective and validate opportunities to make improvements. Back in the classroom, students developed personas fictional portraits of people interviewed and mapped those stakeholders’ experience to help pinpoint opportunity areas.

Based on our findings, we brainstormed a broad range of ways to resolve urban challenges and students designed solutions. Top designs were exhibited as part of the ‘Toronto Unbound’ installation at XPACE Cultural Centre. A special jury, representing the City’s Urban Development Services team and the office of the mayor, selected projects that were implemented by the City of Toronto in 2010.

Exhibit images: By Jason Mortlock