Active Neighbourhoods Canada was a partnership of organizations across Canada using co-design towards the goal of creating green, active, and healthy neighbourhoods.
What is co-design:
Co-design, or participatory planning, is an approach to building active, livable cities. The approach makes city building accessible, community-driven, and fun, and is grounded in the belief that blending local knowledge and expert knowledge leads to strong outcomes.
Between 2013-2019, TCAT engaged seven Ontario communities in a comprehensive co-design process in Toronto, Sudbury, Haliburton Village and Peterborough. In the initial “Portrait” phase, we created a neighbourhood portrait to understand how residents use public space and identify local needs and interests. Next, in the “Vision” phase, we collaboratively developed a vision for the neighbourhood using key design priorities identified by the community, and explored how they could be applied.
We worked on the neighbourhood scale, and took an integrated view of planning. Land use, urban design, architecture, transportation infrastructure, and placemaking all inform residents’ experience of their neighbourhoods, so we engaged professionals across these disciplines. We also integrated a health equity lens, and acknowledged the links between participatory planning processes, built environment outcomes, and public health. Each community has a unique, citizen-driven work plan developed in collaboration with diverse partners, but our participatory planning approach employed common tools and methods available on our project website:
In April, 2020 the Active Neighbourhoods Canada network unveiled a new platform to report on the impact the network has had over the last decade in 24 Canadian neighbourhoods, using participatory planning: