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, to 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.

This toolkit encourages users to reimagine engagement from being a linear process to one that is iterative and generative, and designed more closely with community. It challenges the notion of one-time engagement practices and advocates for long-term relationship building with communities.

What is Making Space trying to achieve?

The tools presented here emerged through a multi-year research process with planners, community organizations, engagement professionals, and City of Toronto staff. They provide accessible starting points to begin interrupting traditional consultation processes. Making Space hopes to:

Curate Knowledge

Making Space allows individuals to connect with a wide body of theories and practices around engagement with equity-deserving groups. It supports practitioners who want to integrate an equity lens into their engagements but don’t know where to start in searching for resources.

Improve Engagement Quality

Making Space helps practitioners add more rigour, depth and consistency to how they engage with equity-deserving groups. We hope this can lead to more meaningful engagements and increased trust in government and participatory processes.

Improve Policy Outcomes

There is a clear instrumental goal of Making Space: if policies are designed in ways that are inclusive and equitable they will in the end be more effective in achieving their goals.

A note about the visual identity

Making Space’s visual identity is characterized by the exuberant use of complex, decorative patterns. It speaks to the myriad cultures that define Toronto. The design challenges the dominant Western design tradition, which prioritizes White Space and eliminates elements it sees as unnecessary or non-functional. 

In the same way, Making Space challenges dominant ideas of how community engagement should happen in Toronto. The design re-imagines the planning landscape in the City of Toronto as one that shape-shifts to respond to the needs of communities who are most impacted by planning decisions.

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