Community Meeting Notes (Feb 28, 2018) - Co-creating 8 80 Cities: How to meaningfully engage communities to build inclusive cities


Presenters: Ryan O'Connor, David Simor

8 80 Cities believes that if everything we did in our cities – from building parks to designing transportation systems - was great for eight year-olds and eighty year-olds, then we would create inclusive and thriving cities that work for everyone. Creating 8 80 Cities begins with meaningful and inclusive community engagement. This presentation will describe our unique approach to community engagement, which focuses on building trust and ensuring everyone has a voice in the city building process. Through case studies and stories from our own work in cities across North America, we’ll share how engagement can lead to the inclusive design of streets and public spaces that work for all community members.


Video Recording

The public are often left out of the design process until the final stages, this tends to lead to bad design that isn't accessible or usable.

  • 8 80 cities is a a non-profit in Toronto
    • core servies
      • Open street planning
        • free recreational programs that open streets to people by closing them to cars
        • allow for people of all abilities to explore their cities
        • streets become like paved parks
      • Ideas labs
        • full/half day retreats 
      • Unconventional Engagement
    • most of their work is in the public realm
      • not just parks and plazas, but streets, sidewalks, parking, transit stops, alleys, intersections waterfronts, etc.
    • philosophy
      • if everything we did in our cities was safe and accessible for an 8 year old and an 80 year old we would have cities that were accessible to all of us
    • Central park in New York was designed to be a meeting place for everyone regardless of background to come together, in Bogota they did this with their streets. 
      • The government will not try to remove the open streets because the community is so actively involved in it.
    • Preconceived notions
      • The typical consultation process tend to re-inforce preconceived notions public of government and vice-versa
      • Macro level requires government
      • Micro scale is done well by the public
    • "It's about People"
      • start with the people rather than the place, design, or plan.
      • in this way the plan is reflective of the people
      • Traditional consultations tend not to be diverse
        • middle aged, affluent 
      • Forms of engagement aren't one-size-fits all
        • need to ask the public how they want to have the consultation first
    • 8 80 Cities rules of engagement
      • Take it to the streets
        • meet people where they're at
        • builds public trust
        • breaks down first barrier, when you start a project, that you're expecting people come to you
          • instead you go to the people where they already are
      • Be Inclusive
        • recognize that people of different ages will want to engage in the project differently (e.g. fill in a blank, draw a picture, place a dot on a board, etc.)
      • Play with a Purpose
      • Value People's time
        • it's a reciprocal process
        • people should be compensated in some form to show you value their time, could be food, events, cards, etc.
      • Create some buzz
        • Make outreach materials as engaging as possible
      • Take Action
        • Demonstrate that their participation is worthwhile
      • Iterative process