On March 25, 2015, the TCAT Active Neighbourhoods Canada team, along with 50 interdisciplinary professionals convened at the beautiful new Ismaili Centre to discuss the possibilities for better street & public space design. The Re-Imagining Active City Neighbourhoods through Participatory Planning workshop focused on the opportunities and challenges present in Thorncliffe and Flemingdon, drawing on the past 8 months of community engagement and research conducted through the Active Neighbourhoods Project. We had professional representation from the fields of urban planning & design; transportation engineering; architecture, as well as representatives from key community organizations & City departments.
The day began with presentations by Dr. Paul Hess and Architect Graeme Stewart, both who have done extensive research on tower neighbourhoods in the Toronto region. Paul Hess’ presentation encouraged a move past the ideal of ‘cafe latte urbanism’ that suits populations in downtown cores, to find healthy solutions that can be tailored to different types of urban fabric and to different demographics. Graeme Stewart presented a rich overview of the historical roots of tower neighbourhoods and current revitalization efforts, drawing on experiences in Europe where this building type is much more prevalent.
The Active Neighbourhoods Project Manager & Design Lead, Car Martin, followed the presentations with an overview of the ‘Portrait‘ which is a document that compiles the information gathered in phase 1 of the ANC project. This led into the afternoon where participants were divided into groups to work on specific problem areas.
Overall the workshop was a huge success, with lots of positive feedback and ideas flowing. We were also very pleased to be generously hosted by the Ismaili Centre as a part of their current programming theme: Arrival Cities.
Now that these ideas have been generated, the Active Neighbourhoods team will work to synthesize and present the ideas at a series of citizen forums this spring.