Participatory Design: On the Ground in Peterborough

Co-design consultation with Ryerson students

What’s good about your neighbourhood? What would you like to change? How do you get around? Is it easy or hard? These are the types of questions that a group of Ryerson Master of Planning students were asking in Peterborough last week. The students, from Dr. Raktim Mitra’s studio group, are working alongside TCAT’s Active Neighbourhoods team and our partner, GreenUP, to support resident engagement, research, and co-design in the Jackson-Park Brookdale neighbourhood. On February 6th, the group co-created maps of local infrastructure with youth at the neighbourhood public school and discussed project goals with residents and local partners.

The students’ work contributes to our ongoing collaboration with GreenUP. Between 2017 and 2020, TCAT is supporting intensive participatory planning work in Peterborough. Participatory planning involves citizens in a meaningful way to co-design their communities. We are working in three Peterborough neighbourhoods to engage residents in re-imagining their public spaces, to create neighbourhoods that are more human-scaled and supportive of active transportation. We have already spoken with nearly 200 residents in the Jackson Park-Brookdale neighbourhood, and the partnership with Ryerson will help us expand this reach. During their next visit to Peterborough in early March the studio group will facilitate a resident visioning and design workshop. The students will also support the development of a neighbourhood portrait, and will create visual renderings to bring residents’ ideas for their neighbourhood to life.

We are excited by the expertise the studio group is bringing to our project, and are equally excited that we are creating a learning and professional development opportunity that exposes the next generation of planners to our unique approach to co-designing active cities. To learn more about our participatory planning approach, and to access tools, research, and project publications, visit our new project website at

Posted On: February 14, 2018