As the 2016 OPPI Symposium in Hamilton draws near, planners from around Ontario will gather to learn and share ideas around Planning for the Public Realm. In concert with this, OPPI is releasing a Call to Action that encourages planners, designers, the various levels of government, municipal departments and agencies, other related professionals and members of the public to make the public realm a focus in community building and placemaking efforts across Ontario.
Picture yourself standing on a city street corner.

You are absorbing the sounds of people, traffic and the hum of the unfamiliar city around you. How do you go about navigating this space, understand where you are and how to get where you want to go? Are there signs nearby that clearly indicate the street names, are they close and easy to read, are they consistently located? Are there maps that indicate your location and nearby amenity?
New Ontario Building Code ("OBC") amendments to permit six-storey wood-frame construction were enacted early in 2015, creating considerable buzz from developers trying to gain a competitive advantage, as well as planners looking to introduce a mid-rise and mixed-use development format into challenged urban environments. The amendments increase the permitted height for multi-residential, commercial office, and other mixed-use format developments from the previous four-storey cap.
Achieve the drop of standards versus the established guidelines by being prepared to pioneer a new solution when historical design standards may not apply to contemporary objectives in street design. Incorporate stakeholder involvement with innovation in the form of interactive workshops and great visual representations.

The Community and Public are Gendered

May 02, 2016 | Posted by OPPI | Post Contributed by Toronto Women's City Alliance (TWCA) | Culture & Diversity, Equity, Gender-Sensitive Planning, Public Realm
The Community and Public are Gendered
When we design a public space, we design it for the public. But who is that public? In Toronto, where women comprise 52% of the population, do they ever come to mind as more than half of "the public"? Usually not. If gender and women's needs were more included in city planning, cities would probably look quite different.

Are We The North?

April 01, 2016 | Posted by OPPI | Post Contributed by Sue Heffernan, RPP | engagement, history, human settlement, northern Ontario
Are We The North?
Historians and Geographers have often noted that Canadians claim to be 'northerners' but they don't travel or read about the north. In 1972, Daniel Francis wrote:

"Canadians may think that we are a northern people, but blessed little attention has ever been paid to the area or its inhabitants; unless, that is, the Americans show an interest in it, or there appears to be the possibility of some gigantic mineral discovery."
Rural communities are home to approximately one in five Ontario residents, who experience unique environments and lived experiences that can contribute to specific, and often negative health outcomes. These health outcomes call for concerted action and responsive public policy.

Curate The City

February 01, 2016 | Posted by OPPI | Post Contributed by Mojan Jianfar, on behalf of The STEPS Initiative | capacity building, Community, community design, community engagement, Engagement, healthy communities, Public Art, public realm
Curate The City
Construction boarding lines our streets for up to five years. An otherwise unwelcome disruption can be used as a blank canvas to engage local citizens in community building activities. With momentum building among Toronto's city councillors to require public art on these vacant spaces, there is a growing demand for public art from Council, as well as the public, and the opportunity to transform them into an outdoor gallery for residents and visitors alike.
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