Forty days from now, I’m turning 40.
If you’d like to help me celebrate, please put aside one dollar each day between now and then, and join me for a potluck picnic at Trinity Bellwoods Park!
The donations will be split among these local all-star organisations: Social Planning Toronto • SOY • Urban Alliance on Race Relations • Unlock Democracy • Women in Toronto Politics • Toronto Environmental Alliance • Gerstein Centre • Cycle Toronto • Art Starts • Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance
The picnic is on October 5th, at 2pm, in Trinity Bellwoods Park. We’ll be in the south end of the park. Look for blue balloons. : )
RSVP on Facebook
painting by Liam Rainsford. Check out his amazing video showing how he painted it.
[note: this is cross-posted on the spacing wire]
We often lament the lack of citizen engagement in our cities. But the blame shouldn’t be directed solely at residents, but rather at the municipal bureaucracies that often make it difficult for citizens to become engaged or informed.
A great example is our public development notices. Their purpose is allegedly to inform citizens and solicit participation, but they accomplish neither. They are designed so poorly, and filled with so much alienating jargon, they only serve to further disengage and alienate the average person.
[note: this is cross-posted from spacing magazine]
Bathurst and Davenport cross each other just below the steep shoreline of ancient Lake Iroquois. The intersection is lush with greenery and steeped in history.
On one corner lies the TTC Hillcrest Yards, where our streetcars have been repaired and rebuilt for ninety years. A recent makeover has transformed the landscape adding new shrubs, trees, interlocking brick and public benches to the corner.
Across the street is a public park, the home of Toronto’s historic Tollkeeper’s Cottage museum.
Just steps away you’ll find the Wychwood Park neighbourhood, a former artists’ colony and the first residential zone in Ontario to be granted heritage status. Walking north on Bathurst, you’ll find yourself in a picturesque Toronto scene with large trees leaning across both sides of the wide street casting a broken leafy shadow on the streetcar tracks below.
And then suddenly, like one musical instrument terribly out of tune with the rest of the band, something sharply interrupts the thick green grove of trees. Steel structures protrude from the maple branches, inserting two massive commercial billboards into the scene.
Someone might ask themselves “Who would possibly allow billboards like this to get a sign permit?”. It turns out the answer might be: nobody would, and nobody did. In fact, I have been told by City Staff that they do not have any records of permits for these signs. This is not an isolated scenario. It’s quite possible that dozens of billboards across Toronto, if not hundreds, are illegal signs without any proper permits.
I’m in Los Angeles, spending an entire week with the Department of Neighbourhood Empowerment. I’ll be posting updates each day!
Four years ago, I was researching innovative methods of citizen engagement for the upcoming Fourth Wall exhibit, hosted at the Urban Space Gallery.
I stumbled upon a group in Los Angeles called the Department of Neighbourhood Empowerment. It sounded too good to be true: a city-funded program that promotes public participation in government and coordinates 90 autonomous locally elected Neighbourhood Councils.
Four years later, I decided that I needed to see it for myself! So I’m here in LA for one week, embedded at the Department as a foreign researcher/admirer.
The Downtown De-Fence Project is at it again, and we need your brawn to help us out!
No experience required. Bring a pair of pliers, if you have any. (Available at Dollarama)
There’s an abandoned house on my street. According to my neighbours, it’s been empty for about ten years. The front yard has grown into a jungle of weeds, some of them extending more than six feet high, and the City has posted violation notices on the front door. Weed violations:
Many people view it as an eye-sore, a neglected mess. But it occurred to me recently that the property is really nothing less than a naturalised habitat! Rather than fretting about the abandoned property, why not embrace it as a neighbourhood treasure? So I made my own sign and posted it on the yard. Voila!! Continue reading
Each time we take down a fence, we liberate a lawn, and our hearts.
Open neighbourhoods say “hi“. Fences say “go away“.
Learn more about the Downtown De-Fence Project, and then join us on Sunday!!
Neighbourhood Fence Removal
Sunday June 16, 2pm
50 Campbell Ave