‘Incredible’ need for better public spaces inspires new incubator fund
Visionaries have until the end of the month to submit proposals to the Public Space Incubator.
|Report an Error|
Share via Email
The Bentway transformed a highway underpass into a skating trail and treasured city space.
It's in that spirit that a new initiative, Public Space Incubator, is looking for bold and creative ideas to liven up more of the city's unused or under-utilized open spaces — anywhere from alleyways and schoolyards to parks, plazas and neighbourhood streets.
"We want people to think about new ways to use these spaces and bring people together," said Jake Tobin Garrett, manager of policy and planning at Park People, the Toronto non-profit that's running the incubator.
"It could be arts programming, it could be performance, it could be food, anything that we haven't even thought of."
Through a $340,000 fund donated by renowned urban planner and architect Ken Greenberg and his wife Eti as well as the Balsam Foundation, the initiative will support 10 projects through 2018 and 2019. The awards range between $15,000 and $50,000 each.
Garrett said any community groups, artists, collectives and designers are encouraged to apply for the grants, and projects must be clearly defined as either temporary or permanent. The key is to be community-driven and push the boundaries of what's possible in public spaces.
"This is a way to test ideas on how to create really dynamic and interesting public spaces, but it can't be a one-off event or just a piece of art with no programming element," he said.
Greenberg said he and his wife donated money to support the initiative largely because of their interest in the power of public space. The city is experiencing an unprecedented population boom, and the need for better use of shared space is "incredible."
"Perhaps when everybody lived in low density neighbourhoods with their own backyards, public space wasn't much of a need as it is today," he said, noting both downtown and suburban areas have many people living in smaller units and sharing outdoor spaces.
Densely-populated cities like Melbourne, Paris and Barcelona have re-purposed streets, laneways and other post-industrial infrastructure into lively social spaces, said Greenberg. With Toronto's growing diversity, people are bringing ideas that were successful where they come from, and this initiative can help put them to good use here.
"This is an opportunity for people to use and enjoy these spaces, and not let them to always be overrun by cars," he said.
How to apply:
More information can be found at parkpeople.ca.
More on Metronews.ca