More than a Book Name

When I started this blog, back in June, I did a public request for assistance to help me find a good title.  Suggestions flowed in, and Mez Dispenser was by far the best (as suggested by Ryan McLaren).  The best ideas are often just out of reach and can only be found with a little help from some friends.

And so, I once again ask for your help.  This time I need to name a book.  And I need to name it fast.  While the book is in its infancy and won’t be in stores until late summer, there are other deadlines (such as industry catalogues), which are impacting our timeline in a significant manner.  My title deadline is tomorrow.  I have 24 hours to name a book, and you can help me.

First, let me tell you a bit about the book.  It’s being published by Coach House Press and I’m co-editing the book with Alana Wilcox and Christina Palassio.  The collection of essays is the sixth, and final, edition of the uTOpia series which began in 2005.  The series, so far, represents a comprehensive collection of great ideas for a better city.  From environment, to culture, to architecture, the series is a manifesto for an ideal Toronto. This final book shifts the focus away from the ideas themselves to the ‘how’ of city-building.  How do cities work?  How do people engage as citizens and how do we interact with the myriad of institutions (City Council, bureaucracy, funders, the media, etc) that make up a city?

In my opinion, there are no shortage of great ideas in this city.  What we’re lacking is a general awareness of how to actually get things done. Essentially the book is an exploration of how civic engagement works and how to get ideas off the ground. The uTOpia series was born out of a general feeling that anything was possible in TO.  Now it’s time to get deeper.  We need more than a feeling. We need more than ideas.  And most importantly,  we need a title for this book.

We’ve been brainstorming, and have come up with some ideas.  Some are ok.  Some are horrible.  I know, deep down, there is a perfect name out there for this book.  You can help us find it.  Please add your ideas in the comments section.  Later today or tomorrow, I’ll post a poll and we’ll all vote on our favorite.

The name should summarise the key themes of taking ideas to the next level, being engaged, and making a difference.  We don’t want it to sound activisty, or academic, or preachy or earnest.  It should be fun, but serious.

The title can have a tagline, but ideally should also stand on it’s own two feet.  Here are some brainstorm ideas, in random combinations of title / tagline:

More Than a Feeling

The art of civic engagement and
the journey of turning ideas into action

How to Build a Better City

Citizen 2.0
Building a Better City

City-Building for Dummies

I am Citizen
How you can change your city

City-Building 101

Local Motion
The Tools of Engagement

Let’s get  Physical
Moving for Change in Toronto

Let’s get Engaged
Taking it to the next level

Ok.  It’s your turn. Leave your ideas below.  Don’t be shy.  There’s no such thing as a bad idea in a brainstorm.  (Well, there is.  But no one will say anything…)


44 responses to “More than a Book Name

  1. Toronto 2.0
    Citizens building a better city

  2. Toronto 2.0
    Citizen involvement in building a better city

  3. ManifesTO
    An action plan for transforming Toronto

  4. From the list above, I like HowTOpia.

    is there something around City Building 101, or the building blocks of a city?

  5. I don’t have anything brilliant off the top of my head. But what about a take on home improvement books (home being your city, not your house)

    Home Improvement:
    DIY City Improvement

    something down those lines …

  6. Or

    Home Improvement:
    A step by step guide to civic renovation for the Do-It-Yourselfer ..

  7. what about acTOvist — citizens building a better city?

    Stay away from 2.0 – it will immediately age the book. Personally, from the list, I like Local Motion but that might be copyrighted (gack!) already.

  8. CitizenTO
    Making Real Change

    I also really like:
    City-Building for Dummies

  9. Hello, from the West Coast!-

    I liked: “How you can change your city.”

    My brain is storming:
    Mez to Wez (me to we)
    Little guy with ideas for better big city.
    Build a better city. From ideas to action.
    We have the power to change it all (power of one + one + one…). People power in TO.
    Using brain power in big city.
    Brains unite for better cities.
    Smart change in TO.

    Best of luck finding just the “right” title. Looking forward to your book, Mez!

  10. I like the ‘for Dummies’ references but I wouldn’t go there. They have ‘for Dummies’ so trademarked, copyrighted, patented etc., that the law suits would probably start before the book was published.

  11. From MySpace to my space.
    Dream into action.
    Do the Mez.
    Action speaks louder than words.
    How to get stuff done in a city with two and a half million people and three million opinions.
    Getting stuff done.
    Get ‘er done.
    Give ‘er.
    Twelve ideas to turn dream into action.
    Make this the year you get engaged.
    Actions are harder than words.
    Ideas are the easy part.
    How to stop talking and start doing.
    You can get there from here.
    How to get there from here.
    Everything you need to know to get things done in your city.
    How to make your city the place you want to live.
    What’s the difference between an activist and a citizen?
    If an activist marches and a politician compromises, what does a citizen do?
    Definition: Citizen (verb, transitive)

  12. I see there are new additions already…

    Really liked both “acTOvist – citizens building a better city” and “ManifesTO – an action plan for transforming Toronto”.
    Maybe a combo of the two: ManifesTO – citizens building a better city.

  13. CitizenTO: aTalk is Cheap

  14. *Sigh* remove the “a” from “aTalk”

  15. howTOpia
    Toolkit for City Building

    Putting Ideas into Action

  16. YouTOpia
    Get to know how your city works

    please include a chapter on how the city works in relation to the province and the feds. it’s important that people know what revenue sources are permitted, and that cities are rather limited in what they can do without needing approvals/powers/grants from the province or the feds. (Municipal Act, Planning Act, etc…)

  17. I am going to go ahead and say that “YouTOpia” is almost the best of all possible names.

  18. Toronto 2.0 is smart, like a 211 guide, and Citizen 2.0 works nicely (Toronto Edition)…

  19. I love howTOpia and the new suggestion of ManifesTO.

  20. -TO do list

    -City on the Make

    -How TO

    -Toronto Citizen Field Guide

  21. Another voice for HowTOpia, with a tag line that won’t bring other publishers down on ya.

  22. City-Up!
    Building a Great Place to Live

  23. I will agree that you should not include 2.0. It will date the book really quickly.

    How about MezopoTOmia?

  24. Mezo Soprano?

  25. There’s also ActTOVision – which has some nice words in it, but I don’t know how many people would get the reference.

    I still like the home improvement thing too though.

  26. Another vote for YouTOpia. It’s good!

  27. step up
    crank it up a notch
    recipe for the Toronto of tomorrow
    recipe for getting things done
    mixing up a better Toronto
    turn up the volume

    ha, almost everything is food related for me ….

  28. More Than a Feeling


    but i don’t like the “city building for dummies” part

  29. Rebooting The System

    Kick Out The Jam: How To Get This City On Track

    Hogtown: This Pig Needs Re-Greasing

    Toronto Waning? Let’s Start Waxing!

  30. Second Znoosle’s idea of

    the ‘How TO’ Book
    …instructions for building a better TOronto.

  31. Making it work.
    a play on the old tagline of Toronto–the city that works.

    Peter Ustinov called Toronto “New York run by the Swiss” in 1987. The title could be a play off that quote. “Toronto –a global village run by YOU!”

  32. Leslie Hetherington

    The Best Lay::Plans

  33. “It Takes A Village to Raise a City”

  34. Not to spoil anything, but it should be mentioned that ManifesTO is the name of a Toronto urban music association.

    Here’s a few suggestions I came up with:

    Push it Forward
    Point B
    Step Up
    Civic Advance
    Materialize Actualize Realize
    Civic Actualization

    Civaction – Making the transition from Wanting to Having

    Conceit to Concrete – How to turn the city you want into the city you have

  35. I agree with David that YouTOpia is the best name I’ve seen so far. Here are a few other ideas too:

    Yes You Can TO!

  36. YouTOpia
    How your ideas can rebuild the city

    Get engaged in how your city works

    Get engaged in how your city works

    More than a Feeling from Ideas to Action

  37. Gregory Alan Elliott

    Title: Citizen Can.
    Support line: (You are the “U” in Utopia.)

    P.S. Nice meeting you at #ChangeCampTO last night, and for drinks at the Pilot Tavern afterwards. I had no idea I had worked with you on the Power Plant project years ago. Small world. I’d be happy to design the book/cover for you. Greg.

  38. I like “Step Up”.
    Anything with “TO”in the title would annoy me, I never liked that abbreviation for the city. I bet many people can’t even agree what it stands for, the first 2 letters of Toronto, the first and last letters of Toronto, or short for Toronto, Ontario.

  39. The Life and Death of a Great Canadian City

  40. From Here TO There

  41. is that guy on the left, in the video, the suicidal train-jumper ghost, from Ghost?

  42. …how about….

    “Yours, Toronto”



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