LEFT: THE EAST SCARBOROUGH STOREFRONT IN 2010. RIGHT: A RENDERING OF THE COMMUNITY-DESIGN ADDITIONS TO THE STOREFRONT.
Until the Storefront began working with them, the residents had few ways to connect with one another, and almost no way to connect with decision-makers. Over the last decade local youth have been engaged with architects, landscape architects, planners, designers, and over 45 professionals to complete over 3,000 square feet of renovations to the existing Storefront; design a 10,000 sq. ft. addition; complete an outdoor sports court; fundraise over $2.2 million dollars; and obtain a trademark for The Sky-o-Swale® Green Roof Shade Structure. Currently, The Storefront is an integral part of a new project funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). The project seeks to improve the built environment for those living in apartment towers, to better support social interaction, physical activity, and to provide options for healthy eating.
INTERIOR OF THE STOREFRONT, DESIGNED BY RESIDENTS.
This project will allow residents to have influence on the space where they live; have meaningful and engaging interactions with each other; develop positive mechanisms to facilitate communication and problem-solving with their landlords; and have shared spaces (indoor and outdoor) for creative, healthy activity. This is different from the typical “community consultation” that is too often used as lip service paid to the community after the critical decisions have already been made. True community engagement is on the ground from the very beginning, and does not dictate results. As we like to say: experts on tap, not on top. We are there to keep the ship afloat, but which direction it sails is up to the community. The capacity that inherently lies within the residents has been unlocked by this engagement process. The resiliency of KGO, is brought about by the people.
THE COMMUNITY-DESIGNED SKY-O-SWALE® GREEN ROOF SHADE STRUCTURE.
Steve Socha is an architect at Sustainable.TO. SPRING 2018
Toronto FOCUS 11