YEAR END REPORT 2014
TIDES CANADA The Centre for City Ecology (CCE) is a project of Tides Canada Initiatives Society (TCI). TCI is a registered Canadian charity dedicated to providing uncommon solutions for the common good by leading and supporting actions that foster a healthy environment and just Canadian society. TCI is a shared administrative platform, providing governance, human resource, financial, and grant management, for nearly 40 projects across Canada, allowing projects to more effectively achieve their missions.
STEERING COMMITTEE Margie Zeidler (Chair) Hannah Evans Ken Greenberg Dina Graser John van Nostrand
GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY
THE YEAR+ IN REVIEW The last 18 months have seen the Centre for City Ecology deliver on several key priorities and programming objectives; 7 lectures, 3 exhibits, 5 events and 3 workshops and the wrap up and delivery of the TENT and Community Planning Board Working Group Pilot projects in the Scarborough neighbourhood of Kingston-Galloway Orton Park. The CCE worked this year to consolidate its mandate by focusing on core programming, which we did by prioritizing lectures and organizing two high profile events; YIMBY and the City Builder Book Club. Bringing on Claire Nelischer, in May of 2014, was instrumental in enabling us to deliver our key objectives of providing a platform for the discussion of complex urban issues and bringing together city builders to exchange knowledge and ideas. It was a productive time where new projects were tested, well-known programs were run and our audience more than doubled on facebook and twitter. In 2015 the CCE will join forces with an educational institution. While the Tides Canada Centre for City Ecology project will no longer exist, working through this institution allows the continuation of a longheld commitment to progressive urban literacy. We have continued to steward the CCE over the past months, delivering research-based community planning and learning
A city ecosystem is composed of physical-economic-ethical processes active at a given time within a city and its close dependencies [Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities]
initiatives that deepen people’s understanding of cities. Work like this thrives within institutional partnerships. They add the necessary heft and resources to inquire deeply into the workings of cities. It is exactly the kind of devoted student involvement and research momentum that allows institutions to really make an impact on cities in general and Toronto in particular. I am excited to see the evolution of the CCE at a time when cities are facing unprecedented pressure to deliver more with less. It’s critical for universities and institutions to step up and provide the analysis necessary to shed light on creative and non-partisan ways to meet current challenges. An educational institution will be uniquely positioned to continue the momentum and appetite the CCE has created for this sort of deep inquiry and engagement. As the CCE charts a new course I will be moving forward with my own design practice, curatorial projects, and teaching. It has been a great experience working here. I look forward to collaborating with the growing network that the Centre for City Ecology has connected and inspired across the city.
- ANNABEL VAUGHAN, DIRECTOR
LECTURES AUDIENCE EXPANSION Lectures are the bedrock of the CCEâ€™s audience engagement and have provided our growing network the space to learn about and discuss important topics confronting city building around the world. The lectures are a great opportunity to keep discussions going, break open dialogue and curate the conversation around city building, architecture, planning and the development process. New partnerships with institutions, design professionals and other non-profits extended our reach and brought together diverse audiences that generated some lively Q+As - often continuing on the sidewalks outside 401 Richmond and beyond - as staff and volunteers stacked chairs and wrapped up the events. The CCE received great feedback from audience members who appreciated the breadth + depth of the topics covered this year. The talks were picked up by local media and generated opportunities for local practitioners and residents to see + hear the work outside of the Gallery.
PARTNER: CITIES OF MIGRATION
Doug Saunders [Canadian journalist and Arrival City: The Final Migration and Our Next World author]. Emily Paradis [Activist, researcher, and HIGHRISE film collaborator] [moderator] Alina Chatterjee [Team Lead Neighbourhoods-United Way Toronto Community Impact Dept.]
ARRIVAL CITIES GLOBAL FRAMEWORK + LOCAL DISCOURSE
Joseph D’Abramo [Fmr.Dir, Zoning & Environmental Planning - City of Toronto] Cathie MacDonald [Fmr.Dir, Planning, Building & Property - CofTor., Fmr.Pres - Deer Park Res Group] Paul Hess [Associate Professor, Dept. of Geography and Program in Planning - UofT]
Sarah Phipps [Senior Planner, Community Planning, City of Toronto] Helena Grdadolnik [Associate Director, Workshop Architecture] Mike Stern [Founder, MakeWorks]
THE FUTURE OF THE DUPONT EMPLOYMENT LANDS AUDIENCE 100+
PARTNER: TORONTO PARK PEOPLE Ryan Gravel [Senior Urban Designer, Perkins+Will and Manager, Atlanta BeltLine Corridor design]
PARTNER JOHN H. DANIELS FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE, LANDSCAPE + DESIGN Elke Krasny [Curator, Cultural Theorist, and Writer, Vienna]
HANDS ON URBANISM HOW TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE PARTNER: ERA ARCHITECTS
Janna Levitt [Partner-LGA Architectural Partners] Franco Boni [Artistic + Gen. Dir-The Theatre Centre] Robert Kerr [Supervisor, Special Events - Fort York National Historic Site] Rui Pimenta + Layne Hinton [Artistic Director and Co-curator - Art Spin]
CONTEMPORARY SITES NEW WAYS OF SEEING AND USING TORONTO’S CULTURAL LANDSCAPES
Craig Hammerman [District Manager, Brooklyn CB 6] Clr. Paul Ainslie [Toronto City Clr. - Ward 43] Diane McLean [Regent Park community activist] Nicole Swerhun [Community Facilitator]
EXHIBITS IMPORT + EXPORT Exhibits at the Centre for City Ecology (CCE) continue to broaden the dialogue around city building issues. Bringing together ideas and individuals who share the passion and commitment to increasing local capacity and demonstrating best practices. We brought ideas from around the world into the Urbanspace Gallery that challenged us to think outside of the box, see the possibilities that exist in our own past, and learn from the potential of other growing, vibrant and thriving cities. From issues surrounding food security and the impact that urban growers are having on public policy to looking at local democracy by delving into the different models of civic boards and agencies that empower local residents. Civic tools that give voice to local knowledge in meaningful ways and build stronger communities. Recently we took on questions of growth and the impact and opportunity that the constant change of the city provides our neighbourhoods with. The provocation of this exhibit asked us to imagine density as a city building challenge that has the potential to build a future we can grow into.
HOW DOES YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD GROW?
Questions of typology & sustainability in the mid-rise debate SEP-JAN 2014-15
HANDS ON URBANISM
How to Make a Difference JAN-MAR 2014
UNDER THE TENT
Envisioning Neighbourhoods Together NOV-JAN 2013-14
EVENTS LOCAL IDEAS GLOBAL INTEREST The CCE programmed several popular events this year. YIMBY 2014 partnered with the Collaborative Consumption network and brought together the largest number of participants to date. A diverse group of committed individuals and organizations doing remarkable advocacy in the city. It gave them the opportunity to meet up, share ideas, showcase their work and gather support for their projects. In the lead up to the 2014 civic election we created the campaign “10 No Brainers To Make Toronto More Awesome”. A project aimed at highlighting the day to day work of city councillors, we amplified the grassroots activism of Torontonians who advocate locally for small policy and rule changes that make our city more livable. With the added boost of our media partner, Spacing Magazine, the campaign was viewed over 3000+ times making the project a smash hit that resonated from Toronto to the UK. We are looking forward to the second edition of our City Builder Book Club starting in mid-January 2015. With our project partners, Cities of Migration, we have brought together a global cast of contributors who are poised to weigh in on Doug Saunders Arrival City.
PARTNER: CITIES OF MIGRATION [contributors]
AUDIENCE 200+ [and growing]
Mary Rowe - Municipal Arts Society, New York City, USA Liza Fior - muf architecture/art - London, UK Nithya Raman - Transparent Chennai - Chennai, India James Rojas - Place It! and the Latino Urban Forum - Los Angeles, USA Tanzeel Merchant - Ryerson City Building Institute - Toronto, Canada Ken Stewart (tbc) - Rebuild Foundation – Chicago, USA Saskia Sassen - Columbia University - New York City, USA Paramita Nath - Documentary Filmmaker - Toronto/Mumbai, India Esra Kücük + Robin Laumann - Junge Islam Konferenz - Berlin, Germany Beatriz Vicino - Oksman Arquitetos Associado - São Paulo, Brazil Gerben Helleman - Urban Springtime - Rotterdam, The Netherlands Cynthia Fisher + Bessie Nellopoulos - Toronto Public Library - Toronto, Canada
MEDIA PARTNER: SPACING TORONTO [contributors]
Say “Yes” to Parklets - Nancy Chater - The Planning Partnership Facilitate Simpler Street Festivals - Michelle Senayah - Senayah Design Activate our Laneways - Victoria Taylor + Jonas Spring Permits for Pop-Ups - Andre Jr. Ayotte + Mackenzie Duncan - JM & Sons Furniture Open the Core to Food Trucks - Zane Caplansky - Toronto Food Truck Alliance Free the Parks from Permit Fees - Dave Harvey - Toronto Park People Lead the Way for Cyclists - Jared Kolb - Cycle Toronto Foster Fruit Trees - Lorraine Johnson Practice Participatory Budgeting - Arjun Sahota - Toronto Youth Cabinet Reclaim the Visual Environment - Dave Meslin - Scenic Toronto
PARTNER: COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION NETWORK TO
YIMBY 2014 More than 70 organizations from across Toronto gathered in the gymnasiums at University
of Toronto Schools to celebrate a culture of “yes” in our city and share ideas for improving the work of city builders, non-profits, grassroots organizations, and collaborative consumption innovators. It truly felt like an “ecology of local democracy” emerged at UTS for the day, as people came together with the common goal of improving the way our city functions at the local level, and saying “yes” to everything that makes it better.
EVENTS CONT. PARTNER: KGO PLANNING BOARD WORKING GROUP
WALK INTO THE FUTURE residents led a tour of Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park (KGO) showcasing
the neighbourhoods assets and how they would like to maximize them for innovative purposes and discussed some of the community projects that they are hoping to implement in their community.
Dianne Sahadeo • Babli Nessa • Carol Rouillard • June Mbugua • Paul Rouillard • Wendy Fanfare • Hyacinth Ablack • Ward 43 Councillor Paul Ainslie
PARTNERS: COMMUNITY DESIGN INITIATIVE, RESIDENTS RISING, THE INCLUSIVE LOCAL ECONOMY NETWORK, TENT (TORONTO ENVISIONING NEIGHBOURHOODS TOGETHER), CENTRE FOR CITY ECOLOGY, TOWER NEIGHBOURHOOD RENEWAL, THE BOYS+GIRLS CLUB OF EAST SCARBOROUGH, SOCIAL PLANNING TORONTO, AND THE EAST SCARBOROUGH STOREFRONT [THE STOREFRONT]
SHAPE YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD a community open house to showcase various resident led
planning initiatives, underway in KGO to the City of Toronto’s Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat and to introduce the concept of Community Planning Boards and recruit residents to participate in a pilot project to explore how a board might operate and how the community might participate. [guests] Councillor Paul Ainslie [City of Toronto Councillor - Ward 43] Jennifer Keesmaat [City of Toronto Chief Planner]
PARTNER: SCARBOROUGH ARTS
HULAHOOP DOME PAVILION [BRIDGING FESTIVAL 2014] youth who participated in TENT helped to construct a geodesic dome out of hula hoops. The dome housed a series of panels explaining the work the community had done in the past year with TENT. They coordinated a participatory activity asking the community to answer the question “ I love my neighbourhood, I wish we had more ______________?”. [team lead] June • Neshia • Jacob • Dominic • Marcia • Farah • Salmina • Tinku • Asiya • Blaine •
AUDIENCE 150+ PARTNER: JOHN H. DANIELS FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE,LANDSCAPE AND DESIGN
HANDS-ON URBANISM How to Make a Difference a three day symposium that brought together activists, architects, artists and landscape planners. to discuss how new alignments have to be forged during times of crises, austerity measures, and increasing spatial and social injustice. Elke Krasny [Vienna – keynote + curator] • Adrian Blackwell [Waterloo] • Anan Lololi [Afri-can FoodBasket, Toronto] • Lucia Babina [Milan and Ibiza] and the community of Brant • Brigitte Shim [Toronto], • Arturo Ortiz Struck [Mexico City] • Mark Poddubiuk [Montreal] • Aziza Chaouni [Toronto]
WORKSHOPS LOCAL VOICES CITY-WIDE During the past 18 months the CCE continued to facilitate greater public understanding of Torontoâ€™s planning and development processes, through training and workshops, The CCE brought together residents, professionals and government staff in collaborative relationships that encouraged knowledge sharing and skill building. The evidence of this capacity building was on full display as the residents of KGO engaged in a lively and direct discussion about the design opportunities along Laurence Avenue East with OCADu students and design professionals. At the Neighbourhood Summit in November, Resident Associations came together to provide valuable input into our upcoming Midrise City Builder Camp. Participants in the evening workshop were energized by the opportunity to share community specific knowledge and experience. They noted that there are not many opportunities that arise for resident groups to meet up to exchange knowledge and ideas and found the event extremely valuable.
PROJECT: MID-RISE CITY BUILDER CAMP
NEIGHBOURHOOD SUMMIT Resident Associations gathered together to provide valuable insight and feedback on the emerging ideas that the Centre for City Ecology are developing for a day long workshop on growth + density - a city building exercise that will examine midrise development and the typology of growth and the complexity of balancing neighbourhood needs and the demands of the city. Participants were energized by the knowledge sharing and table discussions that occurred, noting that opportunity for resident groups to share and compare experience is limited.
PARTNER: THE STOREFRONT + OCADu
COMMUNITY SPEAKS design ideas from the TENT project were presented to the KGO community at large during the East Scarborough Annual Community Speak as a master plan for the area. Highlighting opportunities for neighbourhood improvement through design. This initiated a very lively discussion that ultimately led OCADu students to further develop design proposals that would amplify an informal north south pedestrian route that cuts through the neighbourhood providing access to key sites; St Margarets Church, the Market, the Point, and bus stops on Laurence Avenue East and Kingston Road.
TENT COMMUNITY WORKSHOP a day long charrette focusing on three areas of interest defined by residents in the KGO neighbourhood; Green Space, Thriving Local Business and Togetherness [Festivals + Events]. Participants spent the day, engaged with design professional and city staff and worked collaboratively to develop design ideas, workshop possibilities, build models and present their ideas and aspirations to the group.
PROJECTS LOCAL KNOWLEDGE CIVIC LITERACY Three projects have been running over the past 18 months, which developed out of the TENT project initiated by past CCE Director Gillian Mason. The project demystified the urban planning and design process by sharing technical skills and strategies, and provided a platform for communities to express their neighbourhood visions. TENT developed a long-term relationship with the Kingston-GallowayOrton Park community to deepen their understanding of local planning opportunities and challenges, connect them with city builders across the City, and enable them to articulate a shared vision for their neighbourhood and helped to begin a dialogue with decision-makers in both the public and private sectors. The project has been remarkably successful in engaging a wide range of residents, increasing civic literacy and providing participants with the confidence and language to participate actively in development + design issues in their community. 15 year old Gabrielle Sew captures the group feedback well in this quote:
I feel like you realize your neighbourhood is a lot more complex than it appears. Like when you see an empty lot or developments start building you never realized that as a community you are given permission and can say something like ‘okay well we might disagree with what’s going on here’ because usually when we see a development go up we don’t say anything. Now we’re kind of given this opportunity and this knowledge that we can talk.
OCADu DESIGN/BUILD - PROJECT STATS – AUGUST 2014 175+ VOLUNTEER HOURS 30% MALE : 70% FEMALE | AGES 15-75 | 67% DIVERSITY OCADu DESIGN BUILD COURSE -24 classes [Av. attendance: 15/20 Residents, 6 PAC members, 2 volunteers]. JANE’S WALK - 6 Community CPB leaders | 40+ Participants and OCADu Students COMMUNITY SPEAKS -75+ Residents | 4 professionals | 12 students. OCADu DESIGN WORKSHOP -12 residents | 10 OCADu students | 3 professionals 100 PARTICIPANTS - 75 residents | 3 professionals (planners, architects, urban planners, academics, city staff, etc... ) | 15 undergraduate students | 5 visitors | 2 CCE/Storefront staff
COMMUNITY PLANNING BOARD - PROJECT STATS – JUNE 2014
TENT [SKETCHUP] - PROJECT STATS - NOVEMBER 2013
225+ VOLUNTEER HOURS 30% MALE : 70% FEMALE | AGES 15-75 | 67% DIVERSITY
2250+ VOLUNTEER HOURS AGES 8-75 | 40% MALE : 60% FEMALE | 67% DIVERSITY
COMMUNITY DESIGN WORKSHOP - 30 Residents, 10 volunteers. COMMUNITY MEETING - with the Chief Planner - 75+ Residents, 10 professionals, 8 students, 5 resident presenters]. CPB WORKING GROUP - 7 monthly meetings [Av. attendance: 15/20 Residents, 6 PAC members, 2 volunteers]. PROFESSIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE - 5 meetings [Av. attendance: 8 to 12 professionals + Community Service providers, local Councillor]
PHASE I - 41 meetings, 9 photo walks [Av. attendance: 10 residents, 5 volunteers], 14 SketchUp classes [Av. attendance: 16 residents, 6 volunteers]. PHASE 2 - 11 Community Conversations [Average attendance: 12 residents, 10 volunteers]. PHASE 3 - 7 meetings [Av. Attendance: 15 residents, 5 volunteers], 2 meetings for the Bridging Festival Pavilion - 10 youth, 5 volunteers
185 PARTICIPANTS - 75+ residents | 12 professionals (planners, architects, academics, city staff, etc... ) | 75 undergraduate students |15 volunteers | 5 visitors | 3 CCE/Storefront staff
141 PARTICIPANTS - 93 residents | 32 assistants (planners, architects, urban planners, facilitators, note-takers) | 10 visitors | 2 Architect + Planner leads | 3 CCE/Storefront staff
MEDIA PRESS + BLOGS Episode 768 Affairs [10.315.2014] Monocle Daily Radio, London UK http://monocle.com/radio/shows/the-monocle-daily/768/
Do the YIMBY [09.30.2014] Marisa Bernstein [blog post] https://blog.projexity.com/do-the-yimby/
10 NO BRAINERS: To Make Toronto More Awesome [09.15-23.2014] Claire Nelischer Spacing Toronto
Brooklyn Community Planning Board Leader Advises Toronto [11.25.2013] Stephanie Calvet UrbanToronto.ca
Brooklyn community board leader to speak on how residents can play more active role in city governance [11.14.2013] Natalie Musumeci New York Daily News
YIMBY teaches Toronto to say yes [09.17.2014] Bert Archer Yonge Street Media
UNDER THE TENT Envisioning Neighbourhoods [co-presented with GIllian Mason] [10.02.2014] Healthy Communities & Planning In A Digital Age [Ontario Professional Planners
Infrastructure and our way of life: lessons from the Atlanta BeltLine [07.16.2014] Claire Nelischer Spacing National
CURATING THE [SPACE] BETWEEN [03.12.2014] Exhibiting Architecture Opportunities For InventionÂ [Inside] Outside - Cambridge, ON
This Week in Landscape [09.21.2014]
Connecting Toronto One Park at a Time [07.15 .2014] Peter Goffin Torontoist
The Atlanta BeltLine: Catalyst infrastructure and city systems [07.03.2014] Claire Nelischer Spacing Toronto
Started from the bottom now weâ€™re here [02.28.2014] Dale Duncan Spacing Toronto
A Blueprint for Toronto? Brooklyn Community Planning [11.29.2013] Sarah Ratchford Novae Res Urbis
Institute] - Niagara Falls, ON
PARTICIPATORY PLACEMAKING Shaping Our Cities [06.20.2013] OCADu, Urban Ecologies 2013 :: Creating Community - Toronto, ON Creative Uses for Under-Utilized Park Spaces [06.11.2013] Toronto Park People, Panel Discussion - Toronto, ON
The Centre for City Ecology's Year End Report for 2014+. Read more at cityecology.net.