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September 01, 2016

Planning for the Public Realm – A Call to Action

Planning for the Public Realm – A Call to Action
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.
The public realm is comprised of publicly-owned places and spaces that are accessible by everyone. These spaces are crucial to achieving healthy communities across Ontario as it is the place where civic life flourishes, where society intersects and where people are encouraged to interact.  A well-planned public realm can increase pedestrian activity, enhance public safety, encourage private investment and allow citizens to embrace and celebrate their places and spaces.

The Call to Action challenges planners to explore and consider the key issues and actions surrounding different aspects of the public realm.  Those aspects include:
  • The Changing Role of Parkland
  • Planning for Inclusiveness and Removing Barriers
  • Promoting Active Life and Street Eco-Health
  • The Reuse and Multi-Purpose Function of our Spaces and Places
  • The Role of Public Art
  • Programming the Public Realm
Waterfront-Park-EDITED.jpgFor more information on how you can contribute to planning for the public realm in your everyday work, attend the “Healthy Communities and Planning for the Public Realm” session at the OPPI Symposium. You can also download the Call to Action when it is released on World Town Planning Day (November 8th).

What should planners be doing to enhance the quality of the public realm in their daily practice?  Please share your ideas and experiences in Ontario on the public realm, and what you think are the key issues we should be tackling?

The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author(s), and may not reflect the position of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute.

Post by Eldon Theodore, RPP

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