Making Space is a set of tools which will support more effective engagement with equity-deserving groups around spaces, policies and programs delivered by the City of Toronto. The tools can be applied across a range of engagement activities, from initial consultations, to receiving feedback during implementation stages, and final project evaluation. The ultimate outcome for the project is to allow those facilitating engagement to better serve and engage with equity-deserving populations every step of the way.
The tools you will see here are curated based on a set of how-tos which represent the engagement-related needs identified by planners at the City of Toronto. This beta-toolkit is a prototype - the hope is that the tools included here can provide a starting point for the development of a more comprehensive engagement framework for the City.Learn more
These how-tos form the primary organizational criteria for this online toolkit. They were informed by one and a half years of immersive research with City of Toronto Planning staff, engagement practitioners, and community organizations and included an analysis of case studies, conducting interviews, and a series of co-design workshops. The how-tos presented on Making Space enable practitioners to start anywhere (not have to move through a linear process), access specific and applicable tools that help them begin to interrupt conventional processes, and build on the good work that is already out there by adding some specificity and context on how to use some of these best practices.
In an attempt to make tools and ideas around equitable engagement easily accessible, Making Space includes short descriptive case studies on engagement undertaken by City of Toronto staff on a variety of projects. These case studies are intended to provoke interest and inspiration for more creative ways of approaching engagement at the City.See all case studies
The work of engagement is about dialogue and meaningful co-creation, which can only happen when trust has been built. In every interaction with community, prioritize relationship-building by understanding and learning about the people you’re speaking to.
Wherever possible, be clear and honest about the process, what is possible to influence, and what is more difficult to influence. Work together with communities to build a shared language that everyone understands, so that the processes and outcomes are clear to all.
Where possible, identify barriers to meaningful engagement that exist only because they’re “business as usual” defaults, not rules. These conventions can be as modest as changing elements of the setup of a room, to challenging the notion that more people in a room means a more successful engagement.