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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

OCAD University’s Cities for People vs. Spacing

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Once again we’re going to feature the work of 3rd/4th year OCAD U students who are taking my Cities for People summer workshop. The course has been in full swing again for a few weeks now, and students are about to start posting again. We hope you, our good readers, will contribute to their work by offering observations and thoughts on their findings and ideas. Like a big public critique.

In Cities for People, Toronto is our laboratory and our classroom is a sidewalk. We have been looking at interesting initiatives and designs around the city. We’ve seen a small industry tucked into a residential neighbourhood at Coach House Books; gone for a ravine and city walks; taken through the City Hall machine with Jane Farrow (formerly of Jane’s Walk) and met with Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon; been to the city of Toronto archives; and walked the waterfront with Margaret Goodfellow of Waterfront Toronto and co-author of the Guidebook to Contemporary Architecture in Toronto. We visited St. Jamestown and heard about the Tower Renewal program from Graeme Stewart of ERA Architects as well as went on a Queen West graffitti walk with artist Pascal Paquette.

In part, their main assignment was to pick a neighbourhood that may not get enough attention, undertake some primary and secondary research and (quickly!) identify issues or narrative threads in the neighbourhood that would then be the crux of a design intervention they create to either address that problem or encourage what’s already happening there. Over the coming days we will be featuring the research portion of their work here on Spacing to both show you what some of these talented OCAD students are thinking and also to invite you to comment on their work, followed by posts that show their interventions.

Photo by John Vetterli.