Where do we focus our efforts?

We work with institutions, municipalities and non-profit organizations to pursue the following four priorities:

Equality: Increasing social and economic equality in cities

Neighbourhood revitalization and poverty reduction initiatives ensure more inclusive and resilient cities across Canada.

We work with urban innovators to scale up initiatives that tackle poverty and social and economic exclusion. We also support neighbourhood revitalization projects that seek to improve social well-being, with a particular focus on urban Indigenous communities and areas with high percentages of newcomers to Canada. One major partner in this area is Vibrant Communities Canada (led by the Tamarack Institute), a network of individuals united to reduce poverty by building economically and socially inclusive societies.

Commons: Understanding the city as a commons

By strengthening the civic commons, we support a culture of sharing and experimentation.

Civic commons are our streets, parks, squares, and so much more. They are shared spaces that belong to all people. We believe in the potential of the city as a commons to support urban vitality and provide all residents with a sense of belonging. To strengthen these civic assets, we support placemaking and adaptive reuse. This involves reimagining and repurposing buildings and spaces whose original purposes have become redundant or obsolete, or could be updated to meet new community needs. We also believe in the value of open data to strengthen public participation and democracy.

Labs: Experimenting and exploring to create change

Urban labs, experiments, pilots and prototypes offer spaces for transformative change that are flexible and multidisciplinary.

We encourage the flourishing of “urban labs,” spaces and ways of working that enable citizens, governments, institutions, investors and non-profits to invent new ways to solve tough issues, like affordable housing, and to explore possibilities for collective change, such as re-designing public spaces to foster democratic practices and quality of life in cities.

Networks: Building and supporting new collaborative infrastructure

Urban innovation networks provide a dynamic platform for knowledge sharing and build a sense of belonging.

We support networks of urban innovators through gatherings, civic innovation awards and strategic partnerships. We have worked with our partners to organize study tours that emphasize the value of city-to-city learning exchanges. These activities have taught us what works and what doesn’t in cities abroad so we can bring these lessons back to Canada.