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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Vacant Lots and Orphan Spaces

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There has been a lot of excitement in Toronto recently about the potential of revitalizing the public space of the city. Two new exhibitions are currently displaying projects that investigate the potential of overlooked spaces in the City.
Vacant Lots: An exploration of vacant spaces within our cities is showing at The Toronto Free Gallery between June 10- July 28 (Opening Reception: Saturday, June 10, 8pm). The starting point for this exhibition was for artists to find a vacant space within a city and respond to it in some way. The result is an exhibition of architectural proposals, photography and on-site performances and installations located throughout Toronto, Los Angeles and New York.

The Orphan Spaces Series 2006: Retail/Commercial is being presented by the Design Exchange in co-operation with the City of Toronto’s Clean and Beautiful City Initiative and Canadian Architect Magazine. Eight teams of multi-disciplinary designers were invited to participate in the series. The two-week challenge was an intense design exercise that asked participating teams to reinterpret underutilized spaces throughout the city working directly with community representatives. The Orphan Spaces projects will be on public in the Chalmers Design Centre (ground floor) at the Design Exchange from June 7-18.

Our team’s entry called Cliffside Slips (pictured above) was selected as the winning proposal for the Orphan Spaces Series and will be on display as part of Vacant Lots exhibition as well as at the Design Exchange. Cliffside Slips is a proposal to revitalize a suburban strip in Scarborough by creating public spaces that stitch the neighbourhood together and humanize the large arterial road. Cliffside Slips is envisioned to be an urban marina where temporary and permanent occupations plug-in to the slips (park-crossings) to create new public space opportunities. (Design Team: Lola Sheppard + Mason White, Chris Hardwicke, Fung Lee, Hon Lu & Daniel Rabin.)

Come check out all the projects at these new exhibitions.