Tag Archives: participation

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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Urban potluck


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

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Participatory Budgeting and Public Space—Better Together?

19359651805_2fc2a7e10c_zNot only do I get excited about public space and urban design—I’m also a bit of an emerging municipal budget nerd. I volunteer with an organization called Better Budget TO, and earlier this year we released a report with recommendations for the City of Toronto to make our budget process more participatory, visionary, open and evidence-based. We also hosted a day-long event called Better Budget Day at Evergreen Brick Works (a great public space!) in partnership with Evergreen City Works. (You see, public space and public budgets really do go hand in hand.) Continue reading

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Part 4: Citizens in a Shifting City

This is the final entry of a four-part blog series chronicling the proposed redevelopment of Mirvish Village.

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Development in Toronto remains a loaded word, encompassing a wide range of perspectives rooted in the social, the economic, and the political: height, density, gentrification, heritage, scale, the competitive city, the OMB. There is a multiplicity of threads to follow and pull, depending on your position in the process. This nuanced narrative is captured in daily newspaper articles, op-eds, blog articles, and discussions in community newsletters. When coupled with the City’s growing mandate to cast wider the net of consultation, developers are increasingly having to build relationships not only with City Council and the Planning Department, but in the communities in which they build as well. What this means is that development is no longer the sole province of boardrooms comfortably buffered from a nebulous community by closed doors, a relic of a bygone Robert Moses model. To be sure, there remains considerable mileage between where we are now, and the democratic, equitable process imagined by the Chief Planner, City staff, community organizations, and academic scholars. But it is a step in the right direction.

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Green your Neighbourhood

14361026506_80bc2cf55e_kGreen your Neighbourhood (Planta tu Barrio) is an urban intervention developed by Ciudad Emergente (previous interventions include Okuplaza and Valparaiso Recycling Plaza) under the Clean and Connected Antofagasta Plan as part of  an initiative to transform illegal landfills into usable public spaces through active citizen participation. Continue reading

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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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