Most North American cities continue to apply zoning by-laws with parking minimums whose logic and purpose is rooted in the fundamentally different planning, economic, demographic and environmental context of the mid-twentieth century. And yet they persist, even as they routinely and systematically produce urban landscapes ranging from the kind of disappointing to the utterly dystopian.
As municipalities across the Greater Golden Horseshoe continue to grow in population and density, new strategies for creating parks and public spaces in more urban environments are needed. How do we engage communities and program parks when there are so many different users? How do we plan a public space system that is connected and accessible? How do we design public spaces in a flexible way to respond to their urban context?

Pokémon GO - a phenomenon that swept the world this past summer! Cities around the globe experienced an influx of citizens into their public spaces as everyone tried to 'catch-em-all.' Crazed Pokémon trainers wandered the city swiping their phones and battling to win gyms, ultimately searching for the coveted Pikachu.

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?
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 | 1 comments
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.

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 | 0 comments
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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Planning Exchange LogoThe Planning Exchange blog exists to facilitate the exchange of planning knowledge, best practices and issues important to planners, as identified by OPPI’s Learning Strategy. OPPI wants to foster meaningful and respectful discussion about planning issues, while simultaneously supporting members in the development and maintenance of their competencies as professional planners.

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