Planning Resource Centre

Why?

In 2007 and 2008, PPT held a series of forums to talk about problems with the City's planning process.  The central message was clear: people want to participate but they don’t understand how.  People told us that they want to engage with developers and the city, and to join with other residents to build stronger communities and better neighbourhoods.  But public consultations were seen as inadequate and the City's processes were seen as baffling and complex.  Moreover, the challenges raised by development often go beyond planning and architecture to deeper and more complex urban issues, including, among others, transportation, community services (or lack thereof), poverty and marginalization.

What?

In response, PPT is proposing to create a Resource Centre, to be developed with input from all stakeholders in the planning process.  Our vision is to create an organization that will, among other things:

  • provide clear and useful information about planning, design, and Toronto’s planning process to citizens and community groups;
  • facilitate the provision of professional assistance to community groups; and
  • enable communities to share information and build relationships amongst each other. 

By empowering citizens to have a stronger voice in the planning of their neighbourhoods, the Centre will work to foster a more collaborative, less adversarial planning process. Critically, it will also help ensure that projects are better planned and designed, thus playing a vital role in strengthening neighbourhoods and improving the quality of development projects across the city.

Models from elsewhere

The concept of a Resource Centre is not new: indeed, about 40 “Community Design Centres” exist in the U.S. alone. Some are located in universities; some take a multidisciplinary approach to community-building; some are more focused on design and architecture; others, on advocacy, community justice or community capacity-building. 

The Canadian Urban Institute has prepared a for us of a selection of such organizations to help us understand how they have been structured, funded and operated, and to assess best practices in the field.

We are now moving forward to refine the mission, mandate, structure and business plan for such a model.  Your comments are encouraged!

Sat, 2013-02-16 12:33

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