By Kaitlyn Kochany
Published in Yonge Street Media
On Saturday November 7, over 200 emerging leaders, community builders, and public space enthusiasts gathered on the University of Toronto campus to discuss the future of the GTHA’s public spaces. As part of CivicAction’s ELNstudio event, Globe and Mail Focus Editor Hamutal Dotan moderated a panel discussion of a half-dozen local experts—including Denise Pinto, the global director of Jane’s Walk, and Ken Tanenbaum, who was instrumental in the construction of Toronto’s Pan Am Athlete’s Village—that asked participants to consider the unique challenges facing the region’s public spaces.
Over the past five years, the percentage of people in Toronto living in apartments jumped by 42%, which has placed an added onus on public spaces to be identifiable and accessible. Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO of CivicAction, says that public space is just one of several key issues the organization is working on after this spring’s Better City Bootcamp “This was the summit theme that was most interesting at the ELN,” she says. “The panel created the bookends of knowledge to allow the people in the room to have a shared understanding of the issues of public spaces today.”
After the panel discussion, participants broke out into groups to identify and work on challenges around public space use.