Posts tagged ‘Place-based’

May 17, 2012

Resilient neighbourhood economies in an age of austerity: No big lessons

Geoff Mulgan

Geoff Mulgan (Photo credit: Kennisland)

Ten years ago or thereabouts, the U. K. government undertook an ambitious program of neighbourhood renewal focused on 2,000 British communities. A decade later, independent evaluations are “somewhat positive,” according to  Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and former CEO of the Young Foundation. Recent efforts have been trying, in a way, to put right mistakes of the ’70s and ’80s, when richer people moved into re-habituated buildings, Mulgan told a group of Toronto community funders and organizations at a meeting organized by the Metcalf Foundation earlier this month.

“Big strategies won’t work, there are no silver bullets. Lots of small initiatives work best,” Mulgan said. Instead, he elaborated, the focus should be on schools, social capital, job opportunities, and simply getting money to circulate within neighbourhoods, creating a multiplier effect, and, the current times of austerity mean agencies and funders are looking for an impact in new and interesting ways.

Mulgan also challenged old-time thinking about taking projects “to scale” (growth), saying funders and agencies would do better to look at replication (spread). While Mulgan was arguing that small is beautiful, it goes against the push from many funders for mergers.

To prove his point about the need for multiple, smaller inventions, Mulgan offered a top ten social innovations from his own work on these issues:

  1. Last year, the Young Foundation looked at Birmingham to see what makes a city resilient. It compared low-income communities with similar demographics and their social networks. Communities which were more diverse were doing better than those with two or three dominant groups — different than what researchers expected.
  2. The Young Foundation also created a program which taught resiliency to 11-year-old in schools, focusing on those who in stressed communities. Results showed lower levels of depression and better schooling. The new finding was that resiliency could be taught.
  3. Deciding that the focus on improving schools was not enough because even the best schools have high rates of truancy and drop-outs, the Foundation developed a new form of schooling, a “studio school” where learning occurred through practical team-based projects. The move away from abstract pedagogy led to better student motivation and was particularly effective with students from low-income families. Piloted in Blackpool, the government is now using the model across the country.
  4. Young, Somali female colleagues convinced Mulgan to develop the Uprising program for 18 – 25 year olds.  Participants have to run a community campaign which is then connected to national level. Three years later it is now spread in neighbourhoods across eight cities. Mulgan noted that recruiting men and White people has been a challenge. This program sounds like very much like Toronto’s Diversecity.
  5. Mulgan explained his fifth example was important as money was disappearing. His organization, NESTA is very involved in time banks. Within Toronto, Timeraisers has used this as a model for volunteering among those who want to bid on art, but Mulgan described a model that acted more as a parallel economy in low-income communities. Bartering, he explained, is useful in communities without much access to resources and money. Linking the program to local institutions, such as housing or schools, local residents earn credits which they can then “spend” among themselves.
  6. Mulgan and his colleagues became concerned about the high number of young people with advanced university degrees who were having difficulty access jobs.  So they set up “finishing schools” which offered intensive training in everything from voice coaching to self-knowledge. Employment rates doubled. While this might not work in Toronto which has less of class stratification, the approach to explicit teaching of social/cultural skills and mentoring are valuable, Mulgan explained.
  7. NESTA  found that buildings and physical plants are not enough for non-profits, but that they needed media platforms as well. In contrast to “big media,” hyper-local media platforms emerged, attached to community organizations or secondary schools (where youth supported the work) within communities, creating hubs for economic and social exchange. Mulgan predicted these would be widespread within ten years.
  8. Urban farming, connected to local schools offers opportunities for apprenticeships and entrepreneurialism. Mulgan gave the example of one Australian school where students raised fish, learning biology, and then sold them door-to-door. Mulgan described pockets of land transformed from “boring grass” to fruit trees.
  9. In their work with Muslim youth, the youth identified the need for advice on daily matters that was Koranically-correct. So the website Maslaha, meaning”Public Interest,” was created. A group of Imams offers this “real-world” advice, helping youth straddle between secularism and Islamists, offering on-line advice on issues ranging from speed-dating to diabetes.
  10. Attempts at measuring resiliency through the development of a new tool: Wellbeing and Resilient Measurement (WARM). Community and individual levels, covering a range of topics from employment, happiness and readiness for the future. Started in Birmingham, this is being piloted in a few other European countries as well. The tool creates space for discussions about local priorities.

Ever pushing boundaries, Mulgan lobbed a final idea when responding to questions from the audience. Too much time is taken up for non-profit staff writing reports which often don’t get read when they are sent in. If funders, want to have a real impact, and ensure truth and transparency, program reports should be done by blogging.

read more »

June 29, 2011

Wellbeing Toronto

Long awaited, Wellbeing Toronto is launching this morning through the City of Toronto website.

Keep hitting refresh! It will be here soon.

The Toronto Star has given a sneak peek in today’s edition. The site lets users select and map , across the City’s 140 social planning neighbourhoods, from a menu of indicators, ranging from one of Toronto’s top ten languages, applications to universities, or robberies. It also maps locations of various civic sites, community hubs, rate payers associations and other neighbourhood features.

While it’s bound to have some bugs as it launches (I couldn’t see a legend), this is a significant contribution to the civic dialogue of the city – as long as more than real estate agents use it! (My conflict-of-interest? I sat in on two advisory panels during its development.)

read more »

April 28, 2011

Community Hubs in Toronto

Charles, Prince of Wales outside the White Hou...

Image via Wikipedia

Last summer, Prince Charles announced the Pub is a Hub program had spread to over 400 English villages. Offering community services in the unused rooms, the program expects to save the institution of the hub and alleviate some of the needs of rural communities.

HRH explained,

The key is to identify what is needed in each community and meet that need using spare rooms or land at the local pub, whether it is a shop, playground, meals for the elderly or even allotments [community gardens]. There are so many benefits.

Community hubs serve three important functions in neighbourhoods:

  1. Services: A wide range to meet local need, providing wrap-a-round to a client’s multiple needs.
  2. Space: An accessible, neutral place for local residents
  3. Synergy: A critical mass of services which improves access and delivery to residents, and which creates the opportunity to strengthen social networks

It’s what neighbourhood centres have known and practiced for a long time: Respond to local need, build community.

Jane Jacobs (another timely reference with Jane’s Walks days away), explained that community hubs are

always where there’s a crossing or a convergence. You can’t stop a hub from developing in such a place. You can’t make it develop if you don’t have such a place.

In Toronto, community hubs are popping up in schools, in strip malls, street corners and libraries. The City government has incubators for business, fashion and food;United Way Toronto has thirteen in development or launched; the Toronto District School Board is launching Full Use Schools alongside its broader Community Use of Schools initiative; and community groups ranging from Artscape creating community art spaces to church congregations looking for new uses for old buildings are exploring the concept of creating neighbourhood spaces.

This week, the Intergovernmental Committee on Economic and Labour Force Development (ICE Committee) released a summary report  and profiles I wrote cataloguing these many initiatives. It’s just an overview but should create the opportunity for more discussions.

read more »

February 15, 2011

What’s important to you about community services in your Toronto neighbourhood?: City consultation open

The City of Toronto is looking for our help as part of the development of its Community Partnership Strategy. The Community Partnership Strategy is an  initiative that will help the City make sure that Toronto neighbourhoods have community services that work well for residents, and a strong community service sector to deliver them.

Together, with the Centre for Research on Inner City Health (CRICH) at St. Michael’s Hospital, they have gathered 50 ideas about the things that the City could pay attention to so that it knows how well community services are working for residents in Toronto neighbourhoods.

They are now asking Toronto residents, community service organizations, funders, businesses, and others to say which of these ideas are the most important. The City will use these opinions to help decide what work needs to be done to ensure Toronto has community services that work well.

Our input  is invited. There are three ways to do this:

  1. A researcher from CRICH can come to your organization and to meet with a group for about 30 minutes. They would explain the study and ask participants to fill out a short questionnaire and rate the collected ideas.
  2. Attend one of the two ‘open houses’ that being held:
  3. Participate online by sending an e-mail to smh.toronto.study@gmail.com for more information.

Participation is set to run from February 22, 2011 – March 15, 2011.

(My thanks to Sarah Rix for forwarding this to me.)

read more »

October 8, 2010

If hubs are the solution, what’s the problem?

The following are comments I presented on a panel at the recent Social Planning Toronto symposium on schools as community hubs:

We know the research. Concentrated disadvantage, growing inequality, all shown in reports like Poverty by Postal Code, the Three Cities, and Social Planning’s own work, the ten year social demographic retrospective, authored by Beth Wilson, this past summer.

These are entrenched problems, ones seemingly intractable.  In his book, The Persistence of Poverty, philosopher Charles Karelis uses the metaphor of bee stings to explain how poverty cannot be cured through a singly-targeted effort. If one has many bee stings and only a little balm, it’s not worth trying to soothe just one of the stings. Each of the stings of poverty, the lack of a job, the lack of childcare, the lack of housing, the lack of a safety net, has to be treated at the same time.

This is why place-based interventions, like community hubs, make sense.

It’s startling to see what passes for common sense these days:
Hubs — Co-locating services so people don’t have to travel? Neighbourhood centres have been doing this for over 100 years.

Full-day kindergarten — Offering learning opportunities and childcare in the same space? Who knew this, but a parent?

Because funding structure and legislation have focused on populations and singular, simple problems, we have not made the traction we want on issues of poverty, things that are true to the common good and our civic values.

So, in response to the first part of this session which posits “If Hubs are the Solution….,” what problems are community hubs supposed to solve?

Using a place-based lens, hubs offer the ability to address complexity and entrenched problems. (Place-based solutions can rightly be critiqued for their own drawbacks — that many issues are beyond the scope of the local — but that’s another panel session.)

Hubs are one form of other institutions that use a place-based, wrap-around model; others are such as neighbourhood centres, settlement houses, multi-service agencies, community health centres, and even, once, community schools. (My children’s school was built in the 1960s so that the school library could be used as a public library, with a separate entrance build into the structure. That failed and now the library is down the block.)

The “system” has now adopted hubs as an answer that makes sense. Within Toronto, that means bringing community space to the inner suburbs where infrastructure supports, like meeting space and community programs, is too scarce.

The Strong Neighbourhood Taskforce and the resultant Strong Neighbourhoods strategies at the City government level and at United Way Toronto promoted hubs as one strand of the solution. The POL funds, major donor gifts, and funding through the Youth Challenge Fund helped to realize these new resources.

When the Strong Neighbourhoods Taskforce examined service levels across the city, in comparison with the needs of the local population, the one map that showed coverage, washed calm blue instead of fiery red, was the map of access to local schools. Schools are in every Toronto neighbourhood.

That’s why the concept of schools as community hubs makes such sense.

The  Toronto District School Board has grown this idea, through initiatives such as Sheila Cary-Meagher and Cassie Bell’s Model Schools for Inner City initiative. (Note these schools do not rigidly fall within the Priority Neighbourhood Areas – poor kids are more widely dispersed in the city). And, more recently, Director Spence began to open Full Use Schools. Both these programs open schools to the community and the community to schools.

The Ontario Ministry of Education has also recognized the sense of this. They have funded the Community Use of Schools program, which opens up school space to community agencies in the summer and after school, and, more recently, launched the Priority Schools Initiative, which provides support to grassroots groups to do the same.

“Schools as hubs” is on the radar.

In the midst of this municipal election, we hear candidates talking about schools as community hubs. The City has still to figure out how to work with the school board – the Community Partnership Strategy, for instance, is skirting  this boundary issue as it maps out the resources and assets in Toronto’s neighbourhoods.

So if there is all this wisdom, what’s the problem? Why are there not more hubs?

This summer I had the chance to work on a report on community hubs for the ICE committee, and that will soon be forthcoming.

But here’s a short list of some of the challenges:

Parental resistance – we still have to figure out how to work through the “stranger in the school” problem

System coordination – The multiple orders of government and even the silos within them make an integrated take, like this, challenging. Competing deadlines and funding criteria don’t make this easy.

The Funding Formula still funds school boards on a per pupil basis with targeted special grants laid on top. When school boards lost their taxing authority, they lost much of their flexibility to be innovative about local issues.

The burden of moving all this forward falls upon on two already burdened, under-funded sectors (education and community service agencies).

Listen to this semi-facetious “To Do” list for anyone developing a hub. Here’s what they have to develop:

  • Visioning
  • Partnership-building
  • Capital dollars fundraising
  • Operating dollars
  • Location identification
  • Community consultations
  • Resident engagement
  • Needs assessments
  • Zoning/permits, Design & space allocation
  • Service planning
  • Governance model
  • Administrative model
  • Feasibility studies
  • Lease agreements
  • Cost-projections
  • Cost-sharing ratio
  • Program space design and allocation
  • Operating hours
  • Outreach and communication strategy
  • Itinerant partnering protocol development
  • Staffing models
  • Job descriptions
  • Source funding
  • Emergency preparedness plan….

And we wonder why it can’t get done.

My job today was to provide evidence of why hubs are a good idea.

But we know they are. That’s why we’re all, three hundred, here.

This is less a rational debate where we need to convince each other of the merits of a good idea, but much more a discussion about our civic will and priorities and the administrative structures and resources required for this “good idea” to be realized.

Thank you.

read more »

August 25, 2010

Community Partnership Strategy: Community Space

This is a long-delayed follow-up to some earlier posts on the City of Toronto’s Community Partnership Strategy which is currently under development and will measure community resources in neighbourhoods across the city.

Bonnie Green writes in the recent issue of the Agora Foundation’s The Philanthropist about the tale of two non-profit organizations in search of program space in their local communities. The article, Creating Social Space in the New Urban Landscape, captures the challenge many non-profit organizations and neighbourhoods face: a lack of community space.

Good neighbourhoods need more than services; they need the space to deliver these community programs and places where community can gather. Much of the challenge of delivering service in Toronto’s “inner suburbs” has been one of carving program space out of basements and strip malls in order to bring community services to local residents. These community spaces are the places where literacy and health programs are found, where sports leagues and seniors’ groups run, where we can access the services we need or where we organize and work with others, from and for our communities.

Good neighbourhoods also need places where neighbours can meet each other, spaces like front porches, school yards and parks, corner stores, coffee shops, places of worship, recreation centres, school yards, dog runs, and even sidewalks. These are the spaces where we can go, outside of our homes and work, where we can meet each other on neutral territory.

Academics describe both these kinds of community gathering spots as third places, and maintain that they are vital to the social fabric of a neighbourhood.

The website Cooltown Studios describes such places this way:

If you aren’t motivated to leave home or your workplace, chances are you don’t live around too many successful third places.

So, it makes great sense that the City of Toronto’s Community Partnership Strategy (CSP) proposes to use these third places as an indicator of the strength of the community support system within a city neighbourhood, combining it with two other structural components: the presence of community organizations, and funding.

The CSP’s definition of community space will measure “space for residents, informal groups, community-based organizations; meetings, programs, administration; multi-purpose [and] dedicated space.”

Two types of  measurable spaces have been identified: community meeting space, which allows informal and grassroots interactions, and community program space, which is more likely to be booked and permitted for service delivery.

Similar to the work of the Strong Neighbourhoods Taskforce, the measure could also include the percentage of the population with one kilometre of meeting space, such as in libraries, recreation centres, and community-based organizations.

However, the CSP is more than an inventory of local resources. In consultation with community, city staff are exploring the “when is enough, enough” question to answer what benchmarks would work: how much space is needed in a neighbourhood and what functions does it need to fill? How do the needs of various neighbours differ? What’s the baseline requirement for any neighbourhood?

Not enough research — or policy-wrangling — has been done to determine these answers yet, so the early stages of the CSP are more likely to provide an effective way of comparing Toronto neighbourhoods to each other. Now, thanks to the CSP, that conversation will have a good evidence base.

April 11, 2010

Community Partnership Strategy: Neighbourhood Well-being Index

(Updates – July 1, 2011: The NWI is has been re-branded and launched as Wellbeing Toronto. July 29, 2010: This should now be referred to as the Neighbourhood Well-being Indices. Revised by the City researchers.)

Statistics and geography is about to get a whole lot more fun in the City of Toronto. City staff are working to create interactive, flash maps which allow users to explore neighbourhood-level indicators.

This fresh concept of a way to measure the vitality of a neighbourhood has now evolved into a first draft of the Neighbourhood Well-being Index (NWI). The NWI will collect neighbourhood-level information from a broad range of sources, including Statistics Canada demographic data and the City’s own administrative databases.

The NWI  is a new and separate initiative from City of Toronto staff, but it dovetails neatly with Council’s newly adopted Community Partnership Strategy, providing the broad evidence base for the strategy. The NWI also complements the move towards open data initiative, OpenTO, acting as an open data warehouse.

Some of the data to be mapped data is already available, in less friendly formats, through the City’s neighbourhood profiles, the Community Social Data Strategy and TO iMapit. The NWI will enable users to identify key populations groups or services of interest and then produce a user-friendly map of the data.

Several good examples from the U.S.A. give a preview of what the NWI might look like:

  • The New York City website Envisioning Development Toolkit is a friendly tool which compares neighbourhood rent and incomes.
  • California’s Healthy City is a more data-rich site which allows users to map local services and demographics.
  • The Reinvestment Fund’s Policy Map compares a range of data across numerous American cities.

In a sophisticated web-based interface, Toronto residents will be able to select the indicators and identify their own “priority neighbourhoods,” a shift from the current Priority Neighbourhood Areas that were selected using more universal indicators which don’t always match specific local priorities. Service-providers for youth or newcomers or seniors will able to identify the highest need neighbourhoods for each of their own populations.

Two overarching data clusters will be used as measures of a neighbourhood’s wellbeing, allowing a more granular examination of Toronto neighbourhoods. These are

  • Population Characteristics, such as Age, Gender, Language, Ethnicity, Family structure, Income.
  • Human Service Infrastructures, from and about Community Centres, Libraries, Parks, Police Stations, Schools, etc.

The NWI’s ten domains and particular indicators will likely expand as additional neighbourhood-level data becomes available. The first draft is exploring the following areas:

  • Arts, Culture and Heritage: Agency Funding & Grants; Community programs; Neighbourhood-permitted events
  • Civic Engagement and Social Inclusion: Agency Funding & Grants; City Beautification Initiatives; Community Meeting Spaces; Donations; Volunteerism; Voter Participation
  • Economic Security: 211 Calls for Service; Child Care; Community-based Services; Debt Load (excluding mortgages); Local Neighbourhood Employment; Long-term Employment; Social Assistance; Unemployment; Variety of Local Businesses; Wages & Benefits.
  • Education: Community-based Services; Early Development Instrument (EDI); High School Students applications to college/university; High School Drop-out Rates; High School Students passing Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT); Library Circulations
  • Environment: Open Space; Pollution/Toxic sites; Soil conditions
  • Housing: social housing waiting lists; property taxes; affordability (sales); adequacy (standards); rooming houses; Streets-to-Homes placements; Long-term Home Care Services survey; Toronto Community Housing tenant profiles; Homelessness & Hidden Homeless; 211 calls for information; and community based services.
  • Recreation and Leisure: Participants and drop-ins users of parks and recreation programs; waiting lists; facilities capacities
  • Safety: By-law inspections/Standards complaints [although these tend to rise with the income of a neighbourhood]; Calls for EMS; Community-based Services; Crime by major categories; Domestic Violence; Fire Code inspections; Firearms shootings and victims; Fires & Arsons; Grow Ops; Pedestrian & Cyclist Collisions & Injuries; Toronto Community Housing Safety and Incidents;
  • Transportation: Commuting; Public Transit Access; Wheel Trans Use; Traffic volumes. [One potential but unnoted measures is walkability]
  • Personal and Community Health: Birth Outcomes; Communicable Diseases; Community-based Services; Vulnerable Children (with data from Children’s Aids Societies)

Reviewers, both academic and from the community sector, are being asked to review the indicators, help identify priorities for the roll-out, and advise in the creation of an index for each domain.

The hope is that the NWI will be ready to launch in the next 16 – 18 months.

read more »

January 20, 2010

Community vitality in Transitions

Community vitality is in focus again, in the current edition of the Vanier Institute for the Family‘s Transition.

Writing the lead article in VIF’s quarterly publication, Katherine Scott provides an overview of the concept of community vitality, describing the evolution of the idea, growing from ‘competent communities’ in the 1960s, through 1990s ‘social capital,’ to present-day’s emphasis on ‘social networks.’

In other pieces in the issue:

Barry Wellman et. al. writes a great piece on internet and communication technologies, arguing that rather than isolating individuals, these technologies are more likely to enhance social relations. Using the example of parents and their children, the authors the tension between connectivity and surveillance which this new technology enables.

Monica Patton, president and CEO of the Community Foundations of Canada, also writes a piece in the issue, selling the strengths of the Community Foundation brand.

The very excellent Katherine Scott, of the venerable (and now seemingly vulnerable) Canadian Council of Social Development (CCSD), has recently moved into her new role at the VIF. [Conflict of interest declaration: decades ago, my uncle headed VIF, an organization which brings a very non-American connotation to the word family].

These national research, policy, and advocacy organizations, such as VIF, CCSD, The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and Kairos among others, are all an important part of our civic dialogue and worth supporting.

Buy a membership today. Keep this work rolling.

January 8, 2010

Toronto Community Partnership Strategy: Priority Neighbourhood Areas revised

What if we could measure the quality of a neighbourhood — systematically assess what’s missing and what’s in place? How could we use that information to ensure each community was strengthened?

Over the past year, City of Toronto staff and invited community members have worked to develop such a tool: that is the Community Partnership Strategy (CSP) [as described, a year ago, in one of the first posts on this blog]. The new strategy, if adopted when presented in the spring to Council, will allow all of the city’s 140 social planning neighbourhoods to be assessed across a range of domains so that priorities for supporting each neighbourhood can be set.

The City of Toronto set out to develop such a tool because, as Chris Brillinger, Director of Social Policy, explained at the end of November during cross-city consultations, “One weak neighbourhood affects us all.”

And more bluntly, he explained, the CSP will help to address when enough is enough, a question raised by Council members who push back at the seemingly continual call for additional community funding. The adoption of the CSP will allow a more systematic response to that question.

Community agencies are interested in the development of this new strategy because of the way the focus on Priority Neighbourhood Areas (PNAs) has funnelled funding into the 13 city areas since 2005. The PNAs created a rush to funding, as agencies followed the dollars and moved into these admittedly under-served areas. Brillinger reassured the crowd about the scope of this exercise, “Moving services from one part of the city to another is not on.”

As a place-based intervention, the PNAs made sense, leveraging scarce resources to address complex problems. As a long term strategy, PNAs are a recipe for starving the rest of the city — and other areas with high needs.

Under the proposed strategy, “focus neighbourhoods” would be identified according to marginalization of the neighbourhood and its residents, the [lack of] structures in place to support them, and the availability and capacity of local services.

The overall strength of the system would be assessed on the following areas:

  • Community Organizations
  • Community Space
  • Connectedness
  • Reach
  • Adaptability
  • Resources

(In future posts, I’ll look more at each of these areas in more depth.)

By looking at the strengths and weaknesses of every neighbourhood, the new CSP will allow a broader analysis of needs across the city. So, for instance, the areas with the highest unemployment rates or the poorest access to food can be identified, or the top ten neighbourhoods deserving youth programming can be threshed out from the top ten requiring additional seniors’ services. Each of these maps may be different,  but they will allow more targeted programming to be delivered where it’s needed.

read more »

September 30, 2009

Right to the City

This flyer came across my desk (well my computer) for an upcoming seminar. Cities Centres at the University of Toronto, The Wellesley Institute and Rooftops Canada are bringing Ana Sugranyes, the General Secretary of Habitat International Coalition to speak on the topic: Right to the City! Lessons from Chile’s social housing experience. An estimable guest, to be sure, but a bit of a dry topic — unless one is one of those dedicated souls who maintains a keen interest in diverse worldly affairs.

But one of the phrases popped out at me: Right to the city.

It’s been chortling around in leftist circles for a little while, spreading across equator and creeping north now into the United States and Vancouver. Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman has profiled the topic. Right to the City chapters have erupted throughout U.S. cities, on three coast. Vancouverites have united under the same rallying call in their anti-Olympics advocacy.

The concept of Right to the city holds that, as inhabitants of the same urban space, we are all equal participants. The movement has become a way to capture the wide range of interests (of women, low-income people, immigrants, people of colour and all other diversities under one banner. It frames how we live together in these urban spaces.

Right to the city has been more eloquently described:

The question of what kind of city of city we want cannot be divorced from that of what kind of social ties, relationship to nature, lifestyles, technologies and aesthetic values we desire. The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city. It is, moreover, a common rather than an individual right since this transformation inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power to reshape the processes of urbanisation. The freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is, I want to argue, one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights.
David Harvey, The Right to the City

The Wellesley Institute has a notable record of identifying and acting on issues ahead of the curve, as examples their work on community-based research, social determinants of health, housing and inclusive zoning. Cities Centres and Rooftops are also no slouches.

So, if they’re bringing Right to the City to Toronto, it’s probably time to pay attention.

%d bloggers like this: