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September 21 and 22
2 days, 2 disciplines, 2 ways to participate – defining our professional roles and uniting to build more equitable, accessible and inspired communities.
Mid-sized cities are important! They make a huge contribution to Canada’s identity, drive a large part of our national economy, and represent about 40% of our country’s overall population. Yet, these mid-sized cities often face significant challenges our larger Canadian cities don’t. Many struggle with slow growth rates, low levels of net migration, drastically aging populations, lagging economies, challenged urban cores, limited municipal budgets and difficulties attracting economic investment. This can be a very challenging context as they attempt to improve the quality of life and prosperity for all of their citizens. History has shown us that mid-sized cities have defaulted to traditional economic development tools focused on chasing elusive smokestacks through recruitment trips to foreign lands, offering tax-draining financial incentives, and abandoning good planning measures to represent themselves as the most development-friendly cities on the planet.
But, there is new hope for mid-sized Canadian cities, and it comes in the form of placemaking. Cities are getting wise to a new strategy focused on planning and designing cities that offer a strong quality of place and can attract and retain the type of talent businesses of all kinds are looking for. In doing so, these cities can become powerful magnets for new investment. Within the limitations mid-sized cities are faced with, they need to be creative in their placemaking efforts — through city-led development projects, impactful public realm improvements, and delicate design regulations that ensure private delevelopment is aligned with a purposeful vision for creating place.
This session will be delivered by members of the Council for Canadian Urbanism who have undertaken work in mid-sized cities across Canada. It will bring participants into the conversation interactivley, giving them a platform for exploring their own thoughts on key issues, sharing these thoughts with others, and hearing from experts. Revealing examples will be used to illustrate key concepts, showing how creative placemaking has been applied to great effect in a variety of Canadian cities.