This is a time when Canada must harness its community-driven resilience. We’re asking you to share examples of how Canadian communities are responding to the crisis with creativity and imagination. Collective problem-solving and collaboration will be instrumental in how Canada mitigates the local impacts of COVID-19 and creates on-the-ground solutions.
A central portal for placemaking that harnesses the agency of communities across Ireland to amplify their potential in a way that can transform their physical, social, psychological well being.
Reimagine is a nationwide placemaking programme by the Irish Architecture Foundation, working with communities across Ireland to co-create and co-design solutions to problems or opportunities they’ve identified in their locality.
Reimagine matches architects with local partners, enabling communities to play an active role in the development of their neighbourhoods, streetscapes, parks, villages and towns.
How a Twitter bot is helping people in high-risk downtown Toronto get vaccinated
Behind the bot is Dayi Lin, a 28-year-old computer scientist who also lives in the area. His bot quickly amassed a following of a few hundred people within days of its creation and with no advertisement on Lin’s part — a testament to how residents in downtown east and west, where rates of COVID-19 are high, continue to exhaust every option available in order to secure a vaccine in the absence of a centralized, provincial booking system.
BIKEPOC group working to make Toronto’s cycling community more welcoming to under-represented groups
BIKEPOC partners with local community bike groups like Charlie’s FreeWheels and Bike Chain to build and repair donated bikes. They completed 20 bike matches last year, getting bikes in the hands of women, children and people of colour.
Public art installations in response to COVID-19 — street games with social distancing.
Redesigned street games
Play some of your all time favourite street and playground games, but with a twist! The kids will love it!
We’ve removed all physical contact from the games we host, and replaced it with fun and playful alternatives!
Our sessions are hosted by us! We explain the rules, guide you through the games, and maybe even join in.
Design Ideas for the Post-Pandemic Public Library
The ideas came out of the findings from a survey of the American Library Association (ALA) community and a virtual roundtable with representatives who lead or operate 10 public libraries across the U.S. Both the survey questions and the roundtable discussion focused on the current challenges public libraries are facing and opportunities for long-term change in response to the pandemic.
ULI’s forthcoming report — Global Innovations for Health, Social Equity, and Sustainability
The Urban Land Institute’s Building Healthy Places Initiative profiled more than 30 approaches to the public realm during the pandemic from around the globe, representing a range of cities—small and large, on different continents, implementing pilot projects or accelerating long-term plans. The examples illuminate how cities can innovate with low-cost, immediately responsive, and creative interventions that promote health and social equity. Several of these examples, spanning four different types of public space projects, are highlighted in this article. The Pandemic and the Public Realm: Global Innovations for Health, Social Equity, and Sustainability is a forthcoming report of ULI
Tools and solutions that look at various ways behavioral science can be useful to deal with COVID-19
The Behavioral Side of COVID-19 Blog Series
- Social Distancing & When to Seek Medical Help
- When Social Distancing Is Impossible: Humanitarian Crises and Human Behavior
- So You’re Working From Home? Make the Most of it with Behavioral Science Tips
- Behavioral Insights for Keeping Your Sanity While Working at Home with Kids
- When Panic Buying Hurts: Strategies to Lessen the Impact on WIC Participants
- Designing for Effective Physical Distancing in Essential Public Spaces
- Inoculating Democracy from COVID-19
- Resources for Making Financial Supports Behaviorally Informed During a Crisis
- Behavioral Design for Public Agencies’ COVID-19 Response
- Making Government COVID-19 Communications More Effective
- COVID-19 Is Different–Charitable Giving Should Be Too
- Could Temporary, Behaviorally Informed Changes to WIC Be Program Fixtures?
- What Behavioral Science Can Teach us 4+ Months into the COVID-19 Pandemic
- New Playbook Helps Officials Prepare People to #VoteSafe
- Now Is the Time to Improve the WIC Participant Experience
- The College Student Journey in the Time of COVID-19
- 8 Strategies for College Leaders Advancing Change Initiatives
- Using Behavioral Insights to Make the Most of Emergency Social Protection Cash Transfers
- Brain, Meet Modern Journalism
- Boosting Student Voter Participation During a Pandemic
- Helping Community Food Advocates Spread the Word about Pandemic-EBT Food Benefits to NYC Families
Designing for Effective Physical Distancing in Essential Public Spaces
Ideas for the public spaces we are likely to emerge for during this period of physical distancing – grocery stores, pharmacies, parks, and the streets that get us to and from. Includes:
Grocery Stores & Pharmacies: Tips for Streamlining the Process of Buying Essentials Safely
Public Sidewalks: Helping People Keep a Safe Distance to and from Essential Services
Public Parks: Tools for Discouraging Gathering in Public Spaces While Allowing People to Get Fresh Air and Exercise
Speculative design concepts that have emerged from the coronavirus pandemic
A few design proposals to emerge from a range of international firms large and small. All of these concepts tackle unique topics and concerns: A more prudent use of public green space, contagion-safe produce shopping, the adaptive reuse of unorthodox spaces, and working where you live for the long-haul, to name a few. And while some might seem unconventional or outright implausible, these concepts all imagine a world where we are all safe, comfortable, healthy, productive, and able to get the help that we need.
How to Reopen and Promote Safe Usage of Playgrounds
An actionable resource for playground owner/operators as they plan for reopening. Includes tips, a webinar recording, and other resources
7 smart and simple ways cities can encourage social distancing in public spaces
The challenge of keeping apart means public areas such as parks, plazas, markets and restaurants are all experimenting with ideas that keep people safe.
Spatial Strategies for Restaurants in Response to COVID-19
The recommendations and prompts in this document seek to come alongside restaurant
owners, chefs, staff, and patrons as we navigate our evolving understanding of COVID-19 in
restaurant settings and attempt to adapt ideal recommendations to real-life situations. The
faster we can design trust back into these spaces, the faster we can stabilize and strengthen the
Proximity of Care Design Guide: design and implementation of child- and family friendly interventions in vulnerable urban environments, with benefits for the entire community.
Arup and the Bernard van Leer Foundation have combined their design and planning expertise and knowledge of early childhood development to produce the Proximity of Care Design Guide. The Guide builds upon the Bernard van Leer Foundation’s Urban95 initiative, which asks a bold but simple question:
If you could experience the city from 95cm – the height of a 3-year-old – what would you change?
The Design Guide seeks to answer this question by helping professionals and decision makers operating in informal and refugee settlements to design and implement cost-effective interventions that improve the living conditions and well-being of young children, their caregivers and pregnant women, with benefits for the entire community. A good start in life for the youngest urban residents is one of the best investments a city can make.
Evaluation of COVID-response Complete Street activation (Toronto’s Destination Danforth)
Destination Danforth is part of a suite of ActiveTO programs designed to support the City of Toronto’s restart and recovery response to COVID-19. These programs are part of a period of unprecedented rapid program implementation and therefore deserve careful evaluation.The evaluation of the Destination Danforth Complete Street installation was conducted by Park People and The Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT) in September/October 2020.
Public space and equity: new research on community-led public spaces (Webinar and resources)
How can we leverage this moment in time — as billions of dollars are being released for infrastructure projects — to build more inclusive, equitable public spaces moving forward? On Episode 24 of “Coast to Coast,” we’ll unpack findings from forthcoming research from Knight and Gehl on community-led, equitable public spaces that serve and engage communities in the pandemic and beyond.
- Knight Foundation report conducted by Gehl evaluates 7 public spaces in the U.S. to identify their successes and make recommendations for their improvement: kf.org/adaptivespace
- The Knight Report, “Adaptive Public Space: Places for People in the Pandemic and Beyond,” finds that public spaces that reflect the needs of residents received more visitors: kf.org/placesforpeople
- Knight’s Lilly Weinberg and Evette Alexander share their thoughts on the newly published Knight Foundation report, which evaluated the impact of public spaces: kf.org/equitablespaces
- Gehl uses a people-first approach to urban planning to create a future where people have more control over the communities they live in: gehlpeople.com
- Centennial Parkside is led by residents and organizations and seeks to preserve and revitalize the community with initiatives around healthy living, civic engagement and the arts: centennialparkside.org
- Reimagining the Civic Commons is transforming the way communities can manage civic assets to foster equity, engagement, economic development and environmental sustainability: civiccommons.us
HerCity: Digital Toolbox for Sustainable, Equal and Inclusive Cities
HerCity is a platform that involves women in urban development, in order to make better cities for everyone. Turning the tables and putting girls in the expert position, the digital toolbox aims to create more inclusive, equal, and sustainable cities and communities. The initiative makes methods and tools available to urban actors globally, in order to support cities in integrating girls’ participation in their long-term strategies. A toolbox with 9 flexible building blocks, Her City supports urban development from a girl’s perspective. We guide urban actors to implement projects through a step-by-step methodology providing an open and digitally accessible platform for all. We facilitate an ongoing dialogue between professionals and citizens.
Mural project in Durham Region is using crowd-sourcing to fundraise
Signs of Life supports the growth of healthy, happy communities impacted by COVID-19 across Durham Region by recognizing our creative economy, using art as a vehicle for participation to deepen public discussions and contemplation on core values and civic issues, through non-partisan regional-wide projects. We are a social hub for artists, organizations, and citizens who want to be more engaged in public life, and for our citizens to be proud of the place they call home. We want people to park their cars and feel safe to get out, walk around, connect with their neighbours, interact and be inspired by Signs of Life murals. We want them to spend money at local businesses that share in the current hardships our main streets are currently facing as we look to recover in the era of COVID-19.
The City of Mississauga’s Public Art Program invites Ontario-based artists to submit proposals of new or existing light-based artwork to be a part of Light Up the Square (LUTS) 2021 – a new outdoor, multi-week, destination festival of night lights in Mississauga’s Celebration Square
For this project, the City of Mississauga is seeking large-scale, medium, or small existing works and/or new commissions in a variety of mediums that center on ideas and themes of hope and renewal. Where possible, artwork should offer an inviting and accessible visitor experience. The submission guide is available on this site.
City of Edmonton waives business improvement area levy and invests in UV air purification for transit
Edmonton will spend $12 million this year on COVID-specific initiatives to help the city cope with the pandemic. The funding includes tax relief for businesses in 13 areas of the city and $1.3 million to support vaccination operations at the EXPO Centre. It includes nearly $6 million to install ultraviolet air-purification technology in Edmonton Transit vehicles.
Making Edmonton Digital helps businesses get online
A partnership between the University of Alberta, City of Edmonton, and Digital Main Street, is helping local businesses create and maintain an engaging online presence. Funded by the City of Edmonton and Western Economic Diversification Canada, the free program connects business owners with a consultant who can work with them for a maximum of 12 hours. Services could include learning how to update Google listings, creating websites or accounts on social media channels, and work on branding. The program will run until September, or when they reach a total of 630 businesses. So far, approximately 400 businesses have signed up.
Edmonton’s Shared Streets and Mobility Lanes will be opening again this spring, for people who walk, bike and drive, regardless of how they choose to move around our city!
Vision Zero Street Labs combine the expertise and power of Edmontonians (YOU!) and City of Edmonton staff to quickly and creatively address neighbourhood safety and livability concerns
To learn more about these temporary traffic safety pop ups, visit https://edmonton.ca/safestreets.
Funding allocated for Nova Scotia’s 250 public elementary schools to create new outdoor learning spaces or enhance existing ones.
Public schools can use the money to build things such as a school garden, an outdoor seating area, outdoor shelters like tents for shade, and outdoor performance areas. To qualify for funding, schools will have to show that the spaces they want to build or improve meet specific criteria. The deadline for projects to be completed is Dec. 31, 2021. Ottawa is investing $5.6 million in the project through its COVID-19 Resilience Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The province is contributing $1.4 million.
New housing project in Winnipeg to benefit youth aging out of care
A burned down, abandoned apartment building in Winnipeg will soon be a new housing project that will house 18 apartment units for young people aging out of the child and family services system in Winnipeg. The Shawenim Abinoojii organization is part of the southeast tribal council in Manitoba. They received $2.83 million from the federal government’s rapid housing initiative to buy the building.
Chambers of commerce offer rapid COVID screening kits to businesses
The Cambridge and Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chambers of Commerce are rolling out a new pilot program that aims to put rapid COVID-19 antigen screening kits in the hands of our small and medium sized business – free of charge. Made possible with assistance from local innovation hub Communitech and the federal government, business owners can now place orders for screening kits through the chamber check website, to organize a pick-up of self screening kits at the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce.
POLICY AND PLANNING TOOLS FOR URBAN GREEN JUSTICE: Fighting displacement and gentrification and improving accessibility and inclusiveness to green amenities
This report provides a library of 50 tools and policies used in many different contexts in the Global North
(United States, Canada, and Western Europe) to promote housing stability and affordability, while increasing
the presence and accessibility of green public space in the urban fabric. Furthermore, this report
contributes a novel comparative analysis through place-based simulations that illuminate best practices and
implementation methods to achieve green equitable development in both the North American and
European context. In sum, we argue that the policy and planning path toward urban green justice lies in
finding the right mix of anti-displacement and equitable green development tools to respond to the
specific issues of displacement, gentrification, and inclusivity in each city.
The Edmonton Public Library is offering 3D printing workshops under their makerspace and making events
Province of Manitoba offers $25M in funding for ‘preservation, development’ of empty historic downtown Bay store
Hamilton man starts canoe-sharing program to connect community
Thompson loves his red canoe. He said he wants to share it with people to remove some of the barriers that come along with the sport, such as access to equipment. Users of the program say canoeing is a COVID-friendly escape. Anyone interested in the program can contact Thompson here.
Free street drug testing site opens in Victoria storefront: Strip tests for fentanyl and benzodiazepines can yield results in minutes
A free street drug testing site has opened in Victoria’s North Park neighbourhood to provide anonymous drug testing to anyone who needs it. The storefront is part of an innovative harm reduction approach operated by the Vancouver Island Drug Checking project, started by a group of scientists from the University of Victoria.