This is a hugely important gathering of practitioners around the world to chart the futures of placemaking - as we look ahead to global gatherings around cities and sustainable development, including Habitat III in Quito, and the 22nd annual Conference of the Parties in Marrakech.
As founder Fred Kent put it, this is not a conference - this is a campaign to broaden our conceptions of public space planning to include the myriad ways in which we interact with the city - what we give, and what we get back from the places that constitute our cities. We have to think beyond the individual elements of what is traditionally known as public space - benches, fountains, signs - and move onto a feeling: how do we want to be in a place? How does place affect our mood? How does it shape our interactions with others, our broader connection to our city?
We will be sharing short blogposts with our thoughts, ideas, and questions around some of the themes that are discussed during the Forum - stay stuned!
Thanks to Social Connectedness for sharing the progress we made in Cities for People 1.0, and what our focus areas are - social inclusion being at the forefront - looking ahead!
Here's an excerpt:
According to a United Nations report, over half the world’s population live in cities. In Canada, close to 80% of Canadians live in urban areas. As cities become denser, an important question arises: How we can make our urban spaces more livable, joyous and socially connected? Currently a pan-Canadian initiative is looking at ways to build more inclusive, innovative and resilient cities.
Cities for People is a collaborative initiative that aims to find diverse solutions to create more liveable cities. With a team of curators across Canada, Cities for People focused on innovative projects that explore four main themes during its experimental phase between January 2014 and June 2015. These pillars were art and society, new economies, cityscapes and citizen spaces. At the heart of each of these themes was social inclusion.
Jayne Engle is the National Curator for Cities for People. Engle emphasizes the importance of social inclusion,explaining that it stands as a core value in each of the organization’s activities. “It’s our feeling very much, that people living in poverty or situations of exclusion are best placed to lead the way in developing solutions. To bridge social divides, our experience tells us collaboration and working in solidarity are essential,” she says.
Cities for People originally planned on having social inclusion as a separate theme, but the team decided to integrate it as an essential element of each pillar in the experimental phase. Moving forward into Cities for People 2.0, social inclusion is deliberately highlighted. “The overarching values of inclusion, innovation and resilience are not underlying but front and centre at the same time,” Engle says about the initiative’s next steps.
Winning projects showcase the high potential of city-university collaborations
We're excited to announce the winning projects of the inaugural Civic Innovation Awards program. Seven projects from across Canada have been awarded grants of $10K to $30K to showcase innovative collaborations between cities and post-secondary institutions. The awards program, launched last fall as part of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation's RECODE and Cities for People initiatives, attracted 150 applicants.
"The projects selected show real potential to bring about positive change," said Stephen Huddart, President and CEO of the McConnell Foundation. "We're delighted with the strength of the applications overall, and very hopeful that collaborations between cities, post-secondary institutions and other civic organizations are going to keep growing in impact and scale."
Jurors were looking for projects that were highly innovative, and defined innovation to mean any "initiative, product, process or program that profoundly changes the basic routines, resource and authority flows or beliefs of any social system." The prize winners are:
Grand Prize Winner ($30K):
Northern Innovation Hub | Iqaluit, Nunavut
Second Prize Winners ($20K):
Local Economic Development Lab | Vancouver, British Columbia
MR-63 | Montreal, Quebec
Vivacity | Calgary, Alberta
Third Prize Winners ($10K):
Civic Accelerator | Guelph, Ontario
Community BUILD | York Region, Ontario
Building a Virtual Knowledge Commons for Pop-up Shops | Toronto, Ontario
Click here to read full descriptions of the winning projects.