Design ManifesT.O. 2020


Image: Kick-off panel discussion as part of DesignTO 2019 with political activist Dave Meslin, Chair of Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee Sabina Ali, City Councillor for Ward 13 Kristyn Wong-Tam, public art critic Sarah Ratzlaff, and Manager of Policy and Community Connections at the Centre for Connected Communities Adjeeve Bhatia.

Toronto has experienced massive growth with both positive and challenging outcomes that come with fast-paced urban sprawl including: racial and economic inequity across neighborhoods, gentrification of neighborhoods, a growing schism between left and right political perspectives, and ongoing efforts for reconciliation with the indigenous population. The project Design ManifesT.O. 2020 asks what are the future, provocative, and creative interventions for community-based placemaking in a dynamic, diverse, and ever evolving city such as Toronto and how can we learn from these initiatives to foster similar action in others?


Citizens make change on a daily basis through creative-practice and these changes directly affect their neighborhoods and communities. This participatory action-research project has an inclusive design focus that expands our thinking about accessible environments by considering cultural, ethnic, racial, physical and other diversity. Most importantly, inclusive placemaking must happen from the inside and work out—it must come from the people who live, work, and play in those places.

The research team (Associate Professor in the Inclusive Design progream at OCAD University, Cheryl Giraudy, along with Assitant Professor in the School of Design at San Francisco State University, Saskia van Kampen) are recipients of the 2018 OCAD University Research Seed Grant and the SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant. The project launched with a panel discussion as part of the 2019 DesignTO festival. The project continues with Community Forums across Toronto's six boroughs where citizens share their stories of placemaking within their neighbourhoods—including the challenges and how to overcome them. The forums provide opportunities for community members to network and workshop placemaking ideas together.


The project is ongoing with Community Forums continuing the data collection process.