When developing We Built This City, we had four key considerations for how the artist studio could contribute to the urban planning process/landscape:
1) To act as an educational forum where participants can learn about how urban planning works, specifically the TOcore Study, and how they can inform the process. A creative process such as this can also help develop interest and excitement around urban planning issues and ask participants to think about our city in new ways.
2) To engage diverse communities that typically do not participate in conventional public meetings. This includes youth, people of colour, artists, museum goers etc.
3) To foster out-of-the-box thinking - By bring together urban ‘professionals’ (planners, urban designers and architects) and the general public in this creative forum, where the goals are exploration and discover, the professionals are asked consider new ways of thinking about urban planning processes and develop new perspectives on the ‘business as usual’ approaches to planning.
4) To elicit feedback from the general public about what is needed in the downtown core, which could potentially contribute to the City’s TOcore initiative.
While we felt the project successfully acted as an educational forum that engaged new communities, we are interested in exploring ways our process can solicit more meaningful feedback, better engage artists and urban professionals and address other themes of equity and inclusivity. Some ideas include:
- Longer term projects - This project is an introduction, a spark, an initiation but to gain valuable participation from citizens, we need to develop longer term processes. How can the artist studio stay involved in the long term?
- A more targeted focus on equity - How we can engage more people of diverse background and lower socio-economic statuses? How can we better focus the discussion on creating an equitable community?
- More involvement from city planners and developers - How can de better engage decision makers in the process?