We rely on advertising revenue to support the creative content on our site. Please consider whitelisting our site in your settings, or pausing your adblocker while stopping by.


We are in Dark Mode in May.Find out why
Safe in Public Space
This series of essays is part of an initiative by The Bentway in Toronto that takes a deep, critical look at safety and equity in public spaces everywhere. It unites a passionate group of creators, artists, activists, researchers and other partners to develop new practices and strategies to ensure safer public spaces for all.
Shared Governance: A Democratic Future for Public Spaces
塔利奥斯本standing against a teal backdrop.
A group of people gather to take a photo on a mobile phone at a Carnival event.
An aerial view of Fort York / Tkaronto, looking over the Gardiner Expressway and the Toronto Island Airport.
Decolonizing Design: The Case for Universal Inclusivity
Looking Back, Moving Forward: How Public Health Shaped Toronto
Safe in Public Space

图片Berczy Park在多伦多– before the cute dog statues were added to the fountain. On a hot summer day at this modest little slice of green in an otherwise busy downtown area, a woman decides to sit on the fountain’s edge. She dips her feet in the water. Before long, others have joined. And in that moment, she considers the safety of her impulse, the confidence of her action – and this opens a door to thinking about the many versions of this space and of her act. Her inner line of inquiry leads to questions about power, rules and people. Would every person in the city feel just as allowed to dangle their feet in the water, and to be the first to do so? And what is it that determines how we engage with the public realm and our shared commons?

The possible responses to these questions are typically, and unsurprisingly, centred around urban design: the physical features of public spaces – that is, what’s in them and how they look and could be used. And yet, a big challenge in creating optimal public spaces and technologies – ones that are people-centred, accessible, responsive and adaptive – is not only about the “what” but also the “who” and the “how.” Who is involved in the process of their creation and how are they invited to collaborate and co-design? This goes beyond thinking about the space itself, but a co-design process for the rules that govern the space.

Because to create truly democratized public space, we need to first embrace governance as a part of every design conversation from the very beginning. But well beyond this, we need to establish a共享管理我们的空间,一个采取的形式是在代表机构和社区成员之间就规则制定和规则修改进行对话。照顾我们的共享空间是一个永无止境的过程-这是唯一的方法,以确保我们的在线和离线领域服务于与生活,工作和娱乐广泛的需求。要做到这一点,我们需要问人们如何才能长期共同管理这些关键资产。在实践中,更多的这种方法将把城市的真正权力——人民——与市政府的体制形式结合起来。诀窍在于设计模型并投资使之实现。要想在社区和国家的议程之间找到更多的交叉点,最困难的部分是持续投入时间、精力和过程专业知识。betway必威中心

For public space to function, rules can be helpful. Rules, and the models that hold us accountable for them, are one way to create different safeties for all and freedoms from harm – physical, mental and otherwise. But safety is subjective. For so many of us, it is self-defined and self-designed, centring our unique identities and experiences of the world. When it comes to day-to-day operations, many of local government’s primary concerns in relation to rules and safety pertain to liability – criminal and otherwise – in terms of a government’s legal responsibility to the public. This is an important and complex issue with a long and tangled history relating to private property. But the analysis is simple – the way cities think about liability cannot be the only frame we use when we talk about human safety.

Designed by Claude Cormier, the Berczy dog park (here and at the top of this article) invites people to play. PHOTO: INDUSTRYOUS Photography

So many rules are unwritten and open to interpretation, causing some of us to wonder if there is a behavioural code we aren’t privy to. TheBerczy公共喷泉是一块基础架构的看似无害的例子,暗示了暗示它是关于它的且不意味着要使用的。有时,如奥斯陆的歌剧院的歌剧院,那就是不成文的代码显然是邀请函:这里是一个鼓励人们爬上它并直到它的屋顶 - 这是一个典型无法进入公共行道的建筑物。但是这样的纪念碑,无论如何在他们拥抱所有用户的内容中,只是公共领域的标志,其中嵌入到其监督中的隐形代码是不平等的遗迹。

For so many people, the rules are defined by their upbringing and the community to which they belong – and are enforced by institutional inequity. Consider how unsafe and excluded many residents currently are due to a range of racist urban planning and policing policies, and status quos that don’t take disabled communities into full consideration. Governments fail to create safety for everyone because they were and are shaped by colonialism. Inclusiveness doesn’t figure into a notion of “public safety” that derives from this violent history and worldview, one which still influences how the country and its cities operate today, and which includes overspending on policing versus investing in community. As ever, where our governments fail it is the people who pick up the slack to keep each other safe. So how can we better create safe shared spaces that advance inclusion and encourage creativity, joy and freedom?

Snøhetta’s opera house in Oslo telegraphs that passersby can climb all over it – without breaking any rules.

First, we can set “positive” rules. These are rules that lay out what we want to do and what we want to encourage both online and offline. Positive rules grow the foundation for self-governance in a way that requires us to constantly define and redefine how our public spaces work for us, support us and nurture us. A primary design principle in creating public spaces is the management of certain types of liability related to property, but this prioritizing of liability concerns results in spaces that are exclusionary. It needs to stopIt’s not equity-based, and it won’t get us to creating spaces that support the kind of connection and urban commons we want to see.

When we manage liability related to property as our primary consideration, a list of rules and a mindset about “what you can’t do” emerge as a dominant force. When we leverage a more collaborative governance process, where taking care of this public infrastructure is shared, safety is explicitly co-defined and redefined on an ongoing basis, and different understandings and approaches to safety emerge. From there, people can hold the government accountable to deliver on these approaches. Imagine a city bench with a sign that says, “enjoy a quiet moment here” or “have a great conversation with a friend.” Something so simple can inspire us to generate joyful ways of using the space, versus only focusing on what we can do within its constraints. We can create commons where people find spaces to play, to be light, to experience joy, and know how to support each other in those activities.

Setting positive rules and communicating them “gives people the confidence to engage with the space, especially when they are framed in a positive tone that encourages use…and is particularly important when it comes to new spaces or new amenities” (North of the Water, 2018). These are the kinds of opportunities that can arise when there is shared governance that is focused on having the space be used actively and collectively, leading with the creation of trust through relationships and accountability over liability. It gives communities a chance to explicitly define which kinds of behaviour are encouraged versus which kinds violate our social contract, and how these agreements amongst ourselves will be held up. Investing in our capacity for self-governance allows us to show up for one another – it’s a method to pull long-standing and under-discussed issues of exclusion out into more public forums, and a way to do it more consistently. It’s urgent work. But who pays for it, how does it get done, and how does it plug into our formal local government?

Economist Elinor Ostrom life’s work is about investigating how communities succeed or fail at managing common resources such as land, forests and waters. One of the core principles of her thinking, which can be applied to managing shared resources such as public spaces, is that those impacted by their use should have a say in designing and overseeing them. Sheila Foster, a professor of urban law and policy at Georgetown University, has been doing extensive research and writing on the practical application of Ostrom’s work in cities for years.结果令人兴奋和鼓舞,从社区住房和土地信托到社区互联网网络的共享治理。奥斯特罗姆和福斯特是两位思想家,他们为我们提供了一个起点,让我们不断发展我们用来让我们的公共空间更好地为我们中的更多人服务的方法,并思考如何更好地定义国家和社区治理之间的界面。从这一思路出发,这里有两个与自治有关的关键机制需要更详细地考虑:

Beginning with a collaborative design process

To support being in right relations with each other we need to embed collaborative design approaches early andofteninto any public space development process.Design approaches centred on equityoffer a window through which we can start to think about a deeper approach to collaborative design that moves beyond superficial co-creation and goes further to understand key elements related to power: why a project is being developed and the context of its development, if there is history and healing to be acknowledged about how the intended community has been served (or underserved), and identifying nodes of power that will enable an ongoing, iterative process of design that sustains key relationships and honours community voice throughout the lifespan of a development.

值得庆幸的是,随着最近的努力,更多地努力思考如何将人们置于这种设计谈话的核心。betway必威中心Eglinton - 文化映射研究的黑期货andCommunity Power for Anti-Displacement report about Chinatown’s Downtownexemplify. Across Canada, there are numerous equity-centred participatory design efforts; the most successful ones clearly identified who will share power and accountability for the infrastructure over the long-term – and did so early in the process. In this structure, the community plays the role of being eyes and ears on-the-ground, evaluating the success of the space, and sharing back with institutional and government stakeholders the issues and opportunities as they emerge so that changes can be made. Constantly. Parks groups often model ongoing and shared stewardship; among them is theThorncliffe Park Women’s Committee, where community members actively engage with the municipal government, philanthropic organizations and charities to ensure a continuous dialogue about critical public space needs.

Understanding the Internet as a commons

Another space – this one online – that is experimenting with commons-based thinking is多伦多Mesh。在那里,一群居民正在研究一个社区驱动的互联网接入和治理模型,称为社区网络。这种令人兴奋的倡议超越了让人们的互联网访问:它旨在建立数字识字和社区能力,居民可以为如何为我们希望本地技术系统创造如何工作的规则,同时考虑更广泛的社区和经济带有它的力量。这包括构建知识,以支持新技术企业以及这些企业的行业模式,包括合作社,以便在组织设计中分享工作人员的合作途径。betway必威中心世界各地的网格社区 - 德国西班牙和弗利内克的Guifi是着名的先例 - 在实践中提供广泛和积极规则的故事;他们表明,从现状发展社区权力的务实潜力 - 将公共和私人资产与社区设计和监督的新结构和格式混合在一起。betway必威中心一如既往,科技就是容易的部分。找到一个人来建立和维护网络的时间和能力是棘手的部分,它是应该探索与城市政府的新接口的地方。

这两个关键机制 - 从协作设计过程开始,并在一个总体方向上使用了广泛的治理 - 点:公共服务和公共政策必须发展以betway必威中心适应能够实现的多元化和使其发生的方式。撇开选举政治,公共服务 - 政府的大和专家机械 - 为忽视太多而且才能挽救。必须演变它的形状,形式和结构,以通过公共方法匹配更多人的需求。这涉及设计界面和翻译空间,并betway必威中心以新颖的方式进行网络投资和人员。然而这一点都不是新的;它全部是关于合并和重组现有系统和知识,社区和城市政府。我们必须停止思考社区流程和城市流程作为独立的方法,而是开始积极地将它们映射在一起。

也许管理的最重要的预期之一是混乱的。没有一套自治规则,使其简单,整洁或完全达成共识。成功的结果往往看起来像一群人决定他们共同规则的结果是他们可以居住的东西 - 这是远离野生庆祝活动或彻底绝望的灯光。治理和管理不仅仅是创造完美的完美无暇的政策,这些政策是为每个人提供服务。这是关于Praxis - 创造一个民主框架,允许新的积极和消极规则从社区中出现并以其需求发展。它还考虑了这些规则如何插入由市政府管理的措施更正式的治理方法。通过这种方式,我们应该考虑公共领域,脱阵线和在线,而不是设计和定义的“地方”,而是作为一个过程。betway必威中心这一点是为能够使这种情况和行为的方式创造空间,这可能会发生这种情况,并再次又一次地又一次地发生这种情况。

Bianca Wylie.is an open government advocate with a dual background in technology and public engagement. Her main areas of interest are democracy and civic technology.
Zahra Ebrahim不朽的CEO,一个organization dedicated to supporting an equitable recovery from COVID-19. She has led organizations in the social and private sector that design and deliver participatory and equity-centred approaches to policy, service, and infrastructure development. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto, the Chair of the Board of Park People and the Vice-Chair of the Canadian Urban Institute.


塔利奥斯本standing against a teal backdrop.

什么是可访问性?作为一个3'5“踏板车用户没有手臂,对于我来说,可访问性意味着无障碍访问全球所提供的所有。这是一个简单的原则,但在我们的公共空间中经常看到一个人。即使是法律规定和设计标准也意味着确保普遍的可访问性通常会缺乏他betway必威中心们的目标,如果他们完全遇到。从“可访问性”的有限假设需要执行强制执行它的代码不足,还有很长的路要走。我们需要完全改变我们如何考虑可访问性的方式,从真正的定义开始,这意味着什么 - 一种植根于残疾人的人们的不同生活经历。



塔利奥斯本standing beside a lowered, accessible toilet in a public bathroom.

无法进入的空间意味着超过物理障碍的存在;它们也是一种安全威胁。有时候我在寒冷或深夜陷入困境的时候。有一个实例在两个门之间被困在哪里,无法出去。我是否被困在地铁站内,因为电梯失货或我在门后面没有办法打开它,这些障碍不仅无法满足规定的标准Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), but they are immediate safety hazards. Being trapped is scary and makes me feel helpless. I hate the thought that — even as I type this — others are trapped in places around the city. We should all feel safe navigating our cities, not just able-bodied people.

每天,我必须提前了解我需要对我有所访问,或者如果甚至有一个可访问的路由到达那里。人们认为在加拿大 - 在2021年 - 大多数地方都符合这些标准;然而,这不是这种情况。在大部分社会中不仅有很多空间不容易导航,而且即使被认为是可访问的地方,它也是一种尺寸适合的方法。而没有明确的定义“可访问”偶然的意思,我可以看到为什么。

我用标准的踏板车来走。这是一般公众可用的型号,而不是专门为我定制。然而,我已经在许多场合被告知公共交通,可达性升降机,甚至是我的滑行公司太大的电梯。为什么只有移动设备的标准尺寸仅基于最小的轮椅?每当我在城市遇到一个据说“可访问”的城市的物理障碍时,我想,“可供谁进入谁?”并且答案似乎只是人们使用手动轮椅的人,他们可以充分利用他们的手臂。显然,这是一种非常有限的方式,思考与可访问性一样重要 - 它排除了这么多人。这些问题需要从更广泛的角度考虑:我们都如此不同,这意味着我们的需求也不同。


So, who’s missing the mark? Unfortunately, the answer appears to be everybody. From top to bottom: the people who created the standards with a narrow view of disability, those in charge of ensuring the standards have been implemented, the architects and city planners who treat these features as an afterthought – all able-bodied people. But the only ones who know what works and what doesn’t are those actually living with a disability and having to navigate the city every day.


For starters, I see this committee covering four categories: transportation, housing, interior public spaces and exterior public spaces.


The Greater Toronto Area has a long way to go before it has implemented even the most basic accessibility standards. Every TTC subway station needs to have an elevator, all buses need to have a kneeling function, and every bus stop needs to have space to deploy a lift or ramp. That said, there is still a lot of room for improvements with transit’s existing accessible infrastructure. On the GO bus, I’m often told that my scooter is too big to fit in the designated spot. On numerous occasions, when arriving at a subway stop that’s listed as accessible, the elevator is out of service — with instructions to get back on the subway, go three stops to the next accessible stop, and wait for an accessible bus to then take me back to the station I was already at. I would want my committee to make elevators our top priority, and to ride on every mode of transportation to ensure cohesion with accessibility features, like subway and train cars lining up with ramps.


Recently, I was in the market to find a new place to live. Even in 2020, my choices were limited, and the resistance of some building managers to install even the most basic accessibility features was infuriating. I asked for an automatic door to be installed in a building I was considering and the response was that they would install grab bars in my unit. Grab bars! For someone who has no hands! When I finally found a building that was willing to accommodate some of my accessibility needs, they put a huge sticker of the universal accessibility symbol on the outside of my apartment door, announcing to all the other residents that “a disabled person lives here”. Does that sound dignified to you?




And have I mentioned how frustrating washrooms can be? My committee would be in charge of going through every public building, ensuring that there are truly no barriers for people using mobility devices or with other accessibility issues. If this sounds like a monumental task, that’s because it is.

Exterior Public Spaces



塔利奥斯本on a green lawn with hula hoop.


These kinds of small fixes are encouraging — even if they remain one-offs. However, to build a truly accessible city, the needs of individuals with varying abilities must be critical to the initial design of public spaces, and not an afterthought. If only Toronto’s architects, designers and urban planners could see access as an exciting challenge to be incorporated, instead of defaulting to the eyesore accessibility features we often see now.

Part of an architect’s job is to not only build beautiful spaces, but also to fit into the city — and even more specifically the neighbourhood — they’re building in. That idea needs to be extended toallof the people who will be enjoying these spaces. It would be an absolute honour to create a committee to help make this city truly first class and accessible to all.

虽然Talli Osborne天生疯狂地错过了她的武器,但她被认为是相信她可以做她想起的任何事情,这正是她生活的生活。Talli与北美的数千名学生分享了她的故事,一直是许多企业活动的主题演讲者,并在2015年做了第一款TED谈话。她还收到了Richard Branson的视频认可,他们在他的前10名中包括她最鼓舞人心的人。Talli在CBC上分享了她的个人经历,并希望真正产生差异。

While Talli feels that being an inspirational speaker was something she was born to do, she also loves music and is recognizable in many punk scenes around the world, fronting her own melodic-punk band. Talli’s positivity is infectious. She loves changing perceptions and attitudes, and sharing her stories with others. She wants to spread inspiration, love and punk rock, across the globe, one talk at a time.

Lead image by Ian Pettigrew.

The street as public space— as site to reclaim for civic possibilities — gained new potency during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. Building on the roots of the Occupy movement, the Arab Spring and the social protests of 2015 (which brought attention to the re-appropriation of privately owned public spaces for gathering), streets increasingly operate as collective sites for both protest and everyday gatherings.

Streets are transforming into urban communication devices to assemble and broadcast support. With the demands of social distancing, they are also becoming pedestrian zones as roadways become sidewalks and domestic spaces like living rooms spill onto sidewalks and stoops. Since the late 20th century, however, many major cities have increasingly turned towards securitization – and de facto privatization – of public space, harnessing design as a tool of protection and restriction.

PHOTO: Marylynn Antaki via Agency-Agency.

这种证券化的趋势也会产生a visual language of defensive urban design。It manifests itself in a number of both visible and invisible ways that control and dictate how people can access the city. Consider the spikes installed on windowsills to deter entry, the扶手on benches designed to exclude the unhoused from sleeping, or myriad electronic modes of surveillance (such asCCTV cameras对于手机的交通监控和GPS),也可以用于跟踪人们的运动。此外,在公共场所的安betway必威中心全方面倾向于基础设施工程而不是基础设施设计,导致环境进入汽车而不是身体。但我们应该问为了whom— rather than为了什么- 是街道设计的吗?betway必威中心如何将街道作为设计的网站重新击败街道,以帮助源于我们的公共空间中的归属,包容性和自发互动?betway必威中心

在my studio, we are engaged in working on the street as a public space to focus on the civic possibilities for designing and considering alternative uses for small scale urban infrastructures that are typically in the background of everyday urban experience. These elements, which include safety infrastructures such as fire hydrants, Jersey blocks, delineator posts, and traffic bollards, are often treated as an urban residue, leftover or forgotten artifacts that make up the city yet go unnoticed. The following offers three key frameworks that we would like to propose when thinking about safety infrastructures in public space.

渲染由代理机构(背景照片由Ian Cheung)
Everyday Collective

Political expression does not just happen during times of emergency or calamity – it is embedded into everyday exchanges and unplanned interactions in the city. Infrastructural elements that act as civic resources and essential services of cities (for example that manage transportation, circulation, or the delivery of water) have a latent potential to support publics. They can become endowed with new aesthetic qualities and charismatic possibilities if attended to and designed with this in mind. While infrastructural elements may seem minor sites for design, they are connected to larger systems that proliferate across the city and can simultaneously operate at multiple scales.

新公共消防栓。PHOTO: Agency—Agency

作为一个例子,我们的工作室正在进行的项目新公共消防栓transforms the emergency infrastructure of a fire hydrant into an accessible drinking water fountain or bottle fill station for everyday use, connecting the hydrant itself to the larger system of drinking water throughout New York City. Investment in essential safety infrastructures that are necessary for the functioning of cities, could be redirected towards designing social utilities that endow these infrastructures with the capacity to nourish an enriched collective civic experience.

Double Duty

If infrastructure is typically designed with a singular functional purpose, we instead would like to think about the capacity for infrastructure to operatedouble duty。The Bentway perfectly illustrates this concept of an infrastructure that was created for automobiles as the Gardiner Expressway but which now worksdouble duty作为在其下侧的收集和事件的公共空间。

概念启示由James Gibson创建的,这里是有用的,因为它描述了对象具有邀请由于其交互功能而邀请某些行动的方式。例如,门把手可以以这样的方式设计,以邀请用户推动或扭转手柄以操作它。betway必威中心然而,通常,安全基础设施被分配为整个城市的控制行为,几乎不考虑身体或经验。但是,如果这些物体的潜在特征被重新考虑,可能会有替代方法可以让他们有益于公众?

As sociologist Harvey Molotch has described in his essay “Objects in the City,” it may be possible to consider inanimate objects in cities asactants这产生了互动关系,产生了特殊的运动的运动和“呼唤特定的行为曲目,成为社会性和生产世界的内在。”例如,可以考虑人行横道,交通信号和交通描绘师等安全基础架构actants, as they choreograph the movement of people by identifying where and how to cross streets and direct ways of moving that become habitual in cities and produce relationships between people and the objects themselves. In this way, how can behaviours and habits of use affiliated with safety infrastructures be disrupted, nourished or re-conceived to reanimate public spaces in more interactive, inclusive and participatory ways?

New Rituals of Public Space

在my practice, we have been intervening on urban infrastructures in public space (many linked directly to safety) to investigate methods of endowing new rituals to everyday urban experiences. In our competition proposalFlatiron Crossings,对于毗邻纽约市的Flatiron大楼的网站,我们重新申请了交通描绘师的安全基础设施的语言,并将它们重新发送到一个照明和沉浸式场,产生普遍的可访问空间来停止和互动而不是仅仅是通过。

Flatiron Crossings. Rendering by Agency—Agency

新公共消防栓(与艺术家Chris Woebken的合作),类似地恢复了一个无处不在的紧急基础设施,以向公众提供淡水,代替使用塑料水瓶。通过一系列设计探头或“消防栓黑客”设计将betway必威中心消防栓转变为能够在紧急使用和日常使用之间振荡的城市物体,以多种方式向公众提供水:作为超大瓶填充;作为多物种喷泉;并且作为身体缩放的小气候。



Parking lot current condition. Rendering by Agency—Agency

在our proposal, we rethink the sidedness of the Jersey barrier to re-specify an interior and exterior of the object through its profile. While any number of profiles might be possible, it could be as simple as introducing a two-sided profile system to the Jersey barrier to produce hospitable zones for seating and rest or homes for other welcome species that could take the form, for example of a planter profile. If new barriers and profiles were to be produced along these lines, a consideration for embodied energy must be taken into account to rethink the materiality of these infrastructures to support a more sustainable and resource-conscious approach to the production cycle.

扁平路reimagined. Rendering by Agency—Agency

在the parking lot illustrated above, the existing condition illustrates an unfinished, in-between area in the approach to the linear park, with guardrails and Jersey barriers marking a pathway protected from vehicles. Instead of viewing the Jersey barrier as a defensive object, our proposal rethinks the weight of the barriers as a ballast to support a flexible and easily repeatable and expandable play structures using arches and horizontal members embedded into the barriers. By marking the interior of the Jersey barriers as occupiable, this system could afford any number of activities including tire swings, hammocks, monkey bars, or lights for spontaneous interactions and gatherings. Meanwhile, the arches, delineated with colour, can also produce an identifiable threshold condition both moving inside of the barriers towards the Bentway or from afar when the barriers align. These two design proposals are just some of many approaches to consider new affordances that the Jersey barrier might offer within public space to support an everyday collective experience.



泰卡彭特, Associate AIA, is an architectural designer, educator and founder of Agency—Agency, an award-winning New York City and Toronto-based architecture and design studio. She is Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, where she teaches design studios and seminars.

A group of people gather to take a photo on a mobile phone at a Carnival event.

It’s in the streets that we both find and create our liberation.Historically, they have been among the many sites where Black people across the diaspora have turned to in order to relieve their collective anxieties with and within the state and its systems. The streets are where we have fought for and achieved our rights, dreams, desires and needs. One of the myriad ways that we can see this in practice is through Carnival.

For the unacquainted, the Afro-Caribbean roots of contemporary Carnival reflect an ancestral tradition grounded in我们对解放并颁布了一种在殖民时代回收我们的时间的手段。Although the histories and conceptions of Carnival vary among countries within the region, once-enslaved Black people collectively invested in their immediate and future joy, as well as in the protection and safety of their communities, using music and dance to score their movements in the streets.

2013年多伦多的卡里巴纳。照片:克里斯哈特通过Flickr Commons。



This is why prioritizing the safety of the people who participate in this practise — particularly Black people — is a public health issue. When our safety is negated and our means for engaging in this practise is disrupted, our health and ability to express our culture is at stake. Simply put, if our街道不安全to play mas, thenwe不安全to play mas.

PHOTO: S Kelly via Unsplash

Despite the endurance of our cultural production around the world, Blackness and the precarity of safety are inextricably linked. As a Black person and woman, this has been my experience in private spaces – and one heightened in public ones. Especially so as a person with Caribbean heritage who participates in Carnival. Playing mas has always been an opportunity for me to experience euphoric salvation. Black-skinned, sun-dipped and soca drenched, I make my way through the host city. But even with the gleeful illusion of safety, I’m always reminded of my Blackness, I’m always reminded of my womanhood.


I don’t ask these questions to pander to decency or to consider what answers may form under the white gaze. I ask these questions because they relate to material consequences. Outside of Carnival, our conception of safety is already fragmented. Each year I adorn myself in a costume, I contemplate the tension and fragility between what solace and violence playing mas on the road may bring.

在加勒比地区,“普及” - 以平纯的衣服参加游行的人,提出了破坏性服装和侵犯伪装者的个人空间 - 是许多嘉年华的主要原因,特别是多伦多的加勒比纳。努力减少他们的行为,在2009年首次竖立了四到十二英尺高的围栏,有效地将伪装权置于我们的路线高钢水屏幕范围内。在安全的幌子下,运动中的黑人身体成为一个大多数白众观众的奇观,他们正在接受凝视,观看,盯着,审讯,微笑,笑,要点,要沉思。

Men in plain clothes dance with a group of women wearing Carnival attire.
A street scene in Toronto’s Caribana, 2010. PHOTO: Loozrboy

The optics are bad and the feelings are familiar. And while Toronto’s crude steel structures were removed eight years later, the question of our safety still lingers with each passing summer.

Carnival is a place bound up in possibility. Individually and collectively, the roads and streets that we march along embody this ethos. Yet at any given time, a public official or a government document can reclaim streets as property, asserting the state’s power to deem what is and is not permissible. But Black people across the world, despite their circumstances, have mastered the art of subversion to create alternative realities — ways of living and ways of knowing — so we may find peace, joy and community in whatever spaces are available to us.

Mundane Roads成为重要的公共论坛,黑人参与填海道,他们为自己和后代寻求的期货。2020年,街道成为自由的途径,因为集体解放的示范成为动力全球运动的燃料。据说,世界各地的黑人争夺街道的人的名字,为我们的革命带来了街头。


照片:Ruth Choi通过拆卸

Sometimes we end up travelling paths familiar to us even if we’ve never walked down them before.

减少空间的城市黑人再保险sidents to call their own, Toronto’s Caribana exists as among the last vestiges that many of us have to express our culture on a public scale. But with Carnivals around the world (including Caribana) cancelled over the past year and into this one, the pause gives us a moment to see how we can actualize our wants and needs for safer spaces for us to participate in our traditions. If a fraught set of negotiations concerning our safety persists, it not only ruptures our attachment to the city, it also stifles our ability to engage with and continue the traditions of the people before us.


Sharine Taylor.(she/her/hers) is an award-winning, Toronto-based writer, critic, editor, producer and director, as well as the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher ofBASHY Magazine

在2019年夏天,while walking through the perpetually buzzing Yonge and Dundas Square — Toronto’s little-sister imitation of New York City’s Times Square — I encountered a homeless man. He was Black like me, young like me and judging by his accent, Jamaican like me. All of this undoubtedly contributed to my motivation to stop and chat with him. But I had also long ago resolved to never cross the street, avert my eyes, pretend I didn’t hear, or ignore someone experiencing homelessness. I imagine it must be dehumanizing and isolating — not to mention a key contributor to mental illness — to have thousands upon thousands of people pass by you every day and for most of them to pretend you don’t exist. I stopped to talk to him.

Though I don’t remember how we got there, he ended up telling me his story. He had been in Canada for a few years, working a full-time job, living independently, hoping to get settled enough that he could sponsor his mother to join him in Toronto. Then, six months prior to our meeting, he was suddenly laid off. Without any close friends or family in Toronto, and unable to find another source of income — leaving him without the means to even fly back home to Jamaica — he became homeless within weeks. He intimated to me that he now struggled with depression and suicidal ideation. For him, the worst part about being homeless was not the hunger, packed shelters or sleeping outside, but that people do not see him as human.


多伦多’s Yonge-Dundas Square.

And we don’t. We know that experiencing homelessness is not a crime, and we know it shouldn’t be a judgement of an individual’s worth to society. But our actions, policies and design decisions speak louder than thoughts. Regardless of whether we show compassion on a personal level — and many of us don’t — the way our cities are built and policed reflects an assumption that there is some key human quality or virtue missing that makes people experiencing homelessness less worthy of humanity. In a public realm that does not cater to the needs of the unhoused, homeless folks effectively become perceived as intruders into “our” space.

For instance, when obvious signs of mental illness are present in a public setting – which occurs frequently, since67 per cent of the homeless population live with two or more diagnosable mental illnesses– we call 911. This criminalizes folks for attempting to survive in the only spaces reliably available to them: those that are public. And as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to re-shape our social fabric, a public landscape of tents and improvised shelters lays bare the inadequacies of Canada’s social safety net with greater urgency than ever before.

在sidewalks and in parks and public squares, to be unhoused is to be unwelcome: just consider the rigidly uncomfortable “hostile architecture” of spikes, bench dividers and slanted seats designed to prevent people from lying down – or the “nuisance” tickets selectively issued by the police for trespassing, loitering or sleeping in parks.

Bench on the sidewalk, with curved armrest divider in centre
Slanted benches with strategically placed middle armrests make it all but impossible to lie down. PHOTO: Cara Chellew
Bench with low separator bar in centre of the seat
公共空间研究卡拉Chellew检查subtle but meaningful differences between inclusive design and hostile architecture.

Even on the rare occasions that public assets are leveraged to provide housing, the community response evinces an apparent assault on the natural order. When COVID-19 respite shelters were opened to provide emergency shelter in affluent midtown Toronto, theCBC reportedcommunity members likening the situation to “living in a nightmare,” while shelter residents complained of discrimination. “The vast majority of us are good people, but apparently we are offensive that we even exist,” shelter resident Jen Reece told the CBC. “Oh no, somebody has to see somebody being poor for a minute.” But whose space is it anyway?

Housed or unhoused, our public spaces belong toallof us. And yet, we, the housed, sometimes feel that we deserve more ownership of our city and its amenities because we are in the privileged position to afford a私人空间to rest our heads, eat, congregate with loved ones and even indulge in our vices. Individuals who are not housed must, unfortunately, do all of the above — to live — in public, for all to see. Our shared environments, then, must function as more than just settings in which those who are housed can play, shop and do business; they must function as places where the unhoused can live, learn and recover.

Given that unhoused folks are also members of society — of our community — it stands to reason that our collective spaces ought to be designed for their needs. Instead of wishing the “homeless problem” away by herding people into particular areas of the city the rest of us can knowingly avoid — such as the corridor of Sherbourne between Dundas and Queen in Toronto — what if we did something radically different and instead utilized our shared assets to provide resources and services that can support unhoused people in getting back on their feet?

在Tokyo, this accessible public washroom (designed by Fumihiko Maki) is part of an ambitious city-wide program to introduce inclusive public amenities throughout the city.

我们已经看到一个类似的想法和玩the advent of supervised injection sites, typically situated in and around public spaces shared by homeless folks. Supervised injection sites have had a variety of positive impacts, including reduced injection behaviour, municipal cost-saving, and decreased overdose risk, according to a2014年报告by the Ontario HIV Treatment Network. The same report also suggests that supervised injection sites, “do not lead to any significant disruptions in public order or safety in the neighbourhoods where they are located.” In other words, our public spaces don’t need to be protectedthe homeless, they need to be leveraged为了the homeless.

多伦多’s StudioAC has proposed transforming disused trucks into accessible public showers – while doubling as a canvas for works by local artists.


Here are a few ideas for addressing these needs:

  • 为公共浴室配备淋浴所需的便利设施,并为其配备服务员,以便在分发卫生用品时提供友好的面孔。这些公共淋浴空间可以每天有专门的工作时间,以增加体面的访问。
  • 重新使用使用的TTC总线作为移动服务中心,配备WiFi,笔记本电脑和员工支持。这些移动中心可以提供案例管理,心理健康支持,教育机会和技能培训。(在类似的静脉中,当地设计师StudioAc提出了cbetway必威中心onverting big rig trucks into public washrooms and showers)。
  • 提供一个附在邮政信箱上的地址——也许可以改名为套房号——以减少求职者的耻辱感。
  • 介绍明确的指导方针,以确保在保持可访问性同时消除敌对架构的公共设计标准。betway必威平台betway必威中心
Park Politics:Covid-19期间的股权和公共空间


As for that Jamaican man I encountered at Yonge and Dundas, I often think about how he is doing and if the world has been any kinder to him since we met. I wish I didn’t have to wonder. In the future – if we have leveraged our public spaces for the most vulnerable among us and invested in the proper supports that universally allow folks without shelter to become housed – we will know that everyone who falls on hard times will have a real second chance.

Asante Haughton is an advocate for social justice causes and a storyteller specializing in narratives detailing the impact of family trauma on mental health. A veteran of the speaker circuit, Asante has presented across the globe, including a pair of TEDx talks. Asante was also named a CAMH 150 Difference Maker, recognizing his contribution to Canadian mental health discourse.

An aerial view of Fort York / Tkaronto, looking over the Gardiner Expressway and the Toronto Island Airport.

Understandingplaceis an integral part of Indigenous design.The simplest way to explain the difference between colonial views and Indigenous ways of thinking is to look at how places are named. Consider Fort York vs. Tkaronto; the former is a reference to a military presence and a cathedral town in Britain, the latter means “the place in the water where the trees are standing.” While some may see something primitive in Indigenous Peoples’ deep reverence for nature, the reality is that we are all completely dependent on it for sustenance and happiness.

Decolonization of这开始认识到多伦多地标it, like many places in Canada, was formerly inhabited by Indigenous people. Tkaronto would have been home to the Haudenosaunee, Mississaugas, Anishnawbe and Wendat peoples for thousands of years. We, as Indigenous people, see this as an important place to start “re”-conciliation. In our practice of architecture, and as Indigenous people, we approachplacethrough a deep understanding of the site’s environs and the history imbedded there, including study of the area’s natural processes and of the beings that have made it their home. Documenting the history allows us to see that our sites are alive and they change over time, which can in turn affect the approach we take in designing and building contemporary spaces.

As we reconsider place names, the terms we apply toplace-making同样优秀仔细审查。谈到这个词包容性,大多数人会想到可访问性——也许是AODA标准或通用设计原则。但我想让你们以一种不仅仅包括所有人的方式来思考包容性-betway必威中心one但是每一个 -thing。花,雨,动物,昆虫,the sun, and then humans. We have forgotten that we share this world with millions of other species, and it is time we start thinking about not just what we design but how we design, in a manner that acknowledges that humans are only one part of this enormous system. This is the first step to producing design through Indigenous knowledge: We must appreciate that we are part of a system that is larger and, in many ways, more important than ourselves.

Humans were placed on this earth with unique gifts that have allowed us to dominate the landscape. Now, imagine this same landscape through a larger lens, one that zooms out from humanity to all living species. As we work towards an equitable urban realm that helps reconcile differences in physical ability, race, caste and social status, and the human-imposed artificial hierarchies that are echoed in our architecture and urban landscapes, we must also ask ourselves what would happen if we placed ourselves within the system, as opposed to above the system. What benefits would we realize through understanding the importance of our connection with nature – with rain, with the life energy of amphibians? How would this approach help to heal our cities, making them not only a safer place for humans, but a safer place for all living things?

All of these big questions reflect the same philosophy – one that removes us humans from having domination over the land and places us in an equal partnership with the world around us. Decolonizing the way we think about design and architecture and the processes by which we create the built environment begins with taking humans off the top of the pyramid and placing them as an equal part of a circle.

A graphic showing the difference between a hierarchical system (represented as a pyramid) and connected system (represented as a circle).

This may all seem like a lofty dream. In fact, it’s ancient knowledge. Here are a few ways in which this approach can impact the design process and well as the final result:

Consultation vs. Relationship-Building

Consultation has long been deemed an important part of Indigenous design, as it directly relates to our cultural practices of consensus building through conversation. I like to think of “consultation” more as relationship building. Whereas a consultation process is often viewed as a finite – even perfunctory – practice, a relationship continues on long after the architecture is complete. It’s not about just checking a box; it means that conversations continue from pre-design all the way through the design process.



景观as a Resource

You don’t need to read a book on the science of biophilia to experience how healing it is to take a walk in the forest.Placing nature first in our approach to design benefits humans and the natural world. Our landscapes should not be a secondary thought; they should drive our design approaches, especially in urban environments where nature has been stripped to isolated trees in a concrete prison.

What would happen if we approached urban landscapes as a resource, where we planted not only for aesthetics but for function? Food equality and access to food is a major issue around the globe – it is for this very reason that the UN’s World Food Program has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. By prioritizing our landscapes and then planting them in a manner that supports growing our nourishment we can begin to address issues of food security.

在Two Row Architect’s work with Biindigen in Hamilton, Ontario – a project driven by Indigenous service providers – we have put community, family, health, food and ceremony at the forefront. Urban agriculture has led the layout of the site, with the buildings’ massing melting to create the best angles for food production. The built form has in fact followed sun and wind angles; in this way, it is reminiscent of Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, where the preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings demonstrate how well our forebears understood the benefits of their natural surroundings.

Place-Making vs. Place-Keeping

This type of land stewardship is calledplace-keeping。拥抱它的好处是一个本土的关键pproach to design. One way to view this practice is to attempt to understand the capacity of any given landscape by thoroughly investigating what it can support. This is accomplished by studying the history of the site, including the displacement of its natural systems, and giving great consideration to the seventh generation looking forward. A design based onplace-keeping考虑到场地和场所的整个生命周期。这并不是通过象征性的肖像来表示一个土著人的存在。Place-keepingis understanding the importance of that place forall生物。

A distant view of the Toronto skyline from the Lake Ontario waterfront, depicting the city within a natural context.

The value of place for Indigenous people is not found in dollars per acre; it is rooted in the understanding that the land is what allows us all to live. Developers would never demonetize the value of a parcel of land; in reality, they do the exact opposite in the pursuit of the exceedingly narrow aim of profit. It takes strength to value the whole and not just the part – that is, to ensure that what is built is best for every-one and every-thing and not for just the bottom line.

Universal Inclusivity

The Indigenous Hub in Toronto Promises a Brighter Future
在tegrating facilities for healing, education and childcare in one purpose-built project, the Indigenous Hub promises to provide a safe space informed by Indigenous design tenets.

尊重所有生物:这就是我所说的universal inclusivity. 这是一种包容,它超越了身体能力、种族、性别,进入了物种、气候和土地本身。由keeping-place for all we push towards a greater acceptance of the various users of the place. Respect for the site, attained by educating ourselves of the space’s intent, is key. It makes everyone aware of the importance of all who inhabit the space, and this education–awareness component supports safe relations, similar to the way we respect religious sites because we understand their history.

The design of safe spaces goes beyond making people feel physically safe. Created landscapes should support health across all aspects of life, including mental health. How we think about safety itself needs to similarly extend to protection of our health on many levels. Through approaching design in a manner that addresses more than just the basic human need of shelter and by acknowledging that the world around us plays a significant part in our health, physical and mental, we start to realize that inclusive design is not just about reconciling our human relationships. It is really about understanding how we constitute one piece that fits into the larger cycle of the earth.

Matthew Hickey是来自六个国家第一国家的莫霍克,并获得了12年的授权建筑师,在保守的建筑公司工作。betway必威平台作为与两排建筑师的高级合作伙伴,Hickey的重点是再生设计 - 包括生态,文化和经济原则。betway必威中心他的研究包括土着历史和对现代北美气候的传统可持续技术的适应。

当我们输入另一个阶段时在公共的COVID-19时代,伟大的思想家health and planning are conceptualizing and re-conceptualizing major aspects of urban living. Yet these conversations often lack context. How we re-imagine our cities to ensure our health and safety feels imminent – because it is – but it is not novel. Acute, intense periods that force us to consider how health should influence urban life, pandemics are recurring scourges that shape our worlds – for better and for worse. But if we truly aim to survive this latest iteration equitably, we have to be honest about the history that brought us here and which learnings will move us forward in a more progressive manner.

以多伦多为例,我现在居住、工作和娱乐的城市。我们今天看到的多伦多,从它所处的土地到城市的形成以及赋予它生命的街区,has alwaysbeen shaped by our attention to health. But the shape it has taken has been governed by larger social systems that have ultimately dictatedwhosehealth deserved attention. This comes as no surprise (or, at least, it shouldn’t). I notice this emphasis on a privileged group of people constantly: during my graduate degree in public health when professors skirted questions of non-binary genders; over lunch with colleagues who scrambled to address race in light of the BLM protests; and now when government officials present a false dichotomy between the saving the economy versus saving peoples’ lives.

多伦多鸟瞰图。照片:Maarten Van Den Heuvel

在order to truly understand these inequities, we need to engage with the longer, inseparable histories of public health and urban life in Toronto. Our current, collective spatial memories of the cityscape are deeply informed by them. And they hold a multitude of insights into the deep fractures that COVID-19 has only now laid bare.

The Land

多伦多站立的土地已被许多名字 - 飓风早期法国定居者,由休伦 - 温特特和康纳斯克瓦尔格的绅士,其中包括许多国家的家园。There are recordsof contact between Indigenous peoples in and around Toronto with settlers since the 1600s. During the process of colonization that followed these initial meetings, waves of Roman Catholic missionaries were dispatched to Turtle Island.

They were swift to condemn Indigenous forms of spirituality, so unlike their own. Like many colonial projects across the world, these missionaries soon “不仅破坏信仰,而且是社会结构” of the Indigenous people they sought to “save”. They would认为在digenous ways of knowing and relating to the world “magical”, “primitive” and eventually “psychopathological.” When European psychiatry was first being developed, in fact, it was already being mixed with种族主义意识形态asa means to exert power

For the Huron-Wendat peoples, this resulted in being rationalized as “insane” and “disease-inducing”. In the 1630s, Gabriel Sagard, a Jesuit missionary,wrote of them:

“It is quite within the bounds of belief that these sick persons are not so completely possessed that they do not see the damage they do, but they think they must act like demoniac in order to cure the imaginations or disturbances of their mind…and what before was only a mental caprice…is converted into a bodily as well as mental disease.”


Yet, many of us living in Toronto today move through the city without feeling the weight of this history. And it shows. Land ownership dominates our access to spaces, within which we must navigate competing “spatial entitlements”, as Jay Pitter and John Lorinc characterize them in their 2016 bookSubdivided: City-Building in an Age of Hyper-Diversity. 加拿大各地的土著民族通过reclaiming land stolen from them经常遇到暴力的机构警察。在公共场所,抗议者封锁街道和铁路,同时与武装部队对峙,以倡导一个集体进程,恢复我们与土地的关系。

他们还明白,我们还必须承认有权获得该土地的许多其他人,如莫霍克建筑师希吉further reminds us:

“通过了解我们会意识到什么好处ing the importance of our connection with nature – with rain, with the life energy of amphibians? How would this approach help to heal our cities, making them not only a safer place for humans, but a safer place for all living things? All of these big questions reflect the same philosophy – one that removes us humans from having domination over the land and places us in an equal partnership with the world around us.”

土地配置我们的关系“primitive” way means digging through layers of history and unraveling hierarchies among all living things dependent upon it. This philosophy, sadly, also works as a foil for what happens when we don’t. As is abundantly clear, the colonialists caused mass displacement not out of concern for the health of Indigenous people but in order to seize the territory on which they lived.

The City

Over a century after this displacement, this same land would become the Town of York, a regional hub with new economic, housing and health challenges. In the 1830s, the region was governed by a select group of wealthy individuals working as “magistrates” whose control over funding gave them great political power over local governments. And it soon became evident that there was a vast divide between regional and local interests in how areas should be planned and developed. Unsurprisingly, this led to growing political unrest. Those in power were mostly “of sufficient income to render them indifferent to the hardships and needs of the average hard-working settler.” When cholera hit in 1832, it was precisely disadvantaged people who bore the brunt of the health implications caused by insufficient infrastructure.

缺乏适当的污水,垃圾处理和清洁水,意思是霍乱的传播快速,决定性和阶级分裂。估计死亡人数达到了200左右 - 寻求左右,这座城市的人口仅在5,000左右。可以理解,作为记者Noor Javed writes, “the cholera epidemic led to a fundamental change in the way the city viewed itself and its citizens’ interests”, and two years later, in 1834, the Town of York became the City of Toronto – the first incorporated city in the province. In “The Impact of Cholera on the Design and Implementation of Toronto’s First Municipal By-laws, 1834,” Logan Atkinson writes:


The tensions across political and economic divides in 1832 sound disappointingly familiar in 2020. Even more so because the consequences both then and now are so dire. This context helps frame many of the disconnects between the federal, provincial and municipal policies that have left essential workers in precarious environments. Today, it is not inadequate sewage and garbage disposal infrastructure that makes them vulnerable. Instead, it is their high-risk work environments and the crowded public transit they use to get to them that put people at risk. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), a historically underfunded public transit system,has often run over capacity in many of the city’s low-income neighbourhoods


The lack of investment we see today into ameliorating the built fabric for vulnerable communities is also what made the 1832 cholera outbreak so deadly. In the process of that earlier epidemic, the city’s name change, to Toronto, represented an effort to distinguish it from other new urban centres bearing the same name. Ironically, the misinterpretation of the Indigenous word Tkaronto, which means “the place in the water where the trees are standing,” as “meeting place” would serve as an ode to an earlier history yet attach new narratives to this space.

The Neighbourhoods
Slum house, The Ward, City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 682

一个关键的新叙述是在不断增长的大都市中清洁的愿望。卫生部的早期政策优先考虑卫生和传染病控制。然而,这些优先事项慢慢转变,因为它明确表示人们的健康与他们生活的条件之间存在深远的联系。作为滑铁卢大学历史教授Heather Macdougall在“活动家和倡导者:多伦多的卫生署,1883-1983”,到20世纪初,对不安全的住房条件,一个“威胁到公共卫生”成为部门的重点。

在1911, Medical Officer of Health Charles Hastings published “Dealing with the Recent Investigation of Slum Conditions in Toronto, Embodying Recommendations for the Amelioration of the Same.” Quickly picked up by local newspapers (with headlines such as “Enough Filth in One Block to Turn a Whole City Sick”), his report brought intense scrutiny to the neighbourhoods he studied.

这些“贫民窟”居住着几乎没有其他选择的人。其中包括沃德,这是一个位于现在市中心核心区的街区,居住着各种各样的新移民,他们从事着城市里一些收入最低的工作。它的故事在书中叙述得最生动The Ward: The Life and Loss of Toronto’s First Immigrant Neighbourhood, published by Coach House Books in 2015. TheMyseum of Torontoalso pays tribute to it:



Without affordable housing, the ethnic and racial communities of the Ward were dispersed to make room for other, more attractive uses of the space in an ever-changing city. Many of the Chinese residents would eventually relocate west and establish a new home along Spadina. Earlier this year, as COVID first entered communities, Chinatown and its residents would again be the target of xenophobic attacks. The once bustling streets, filled with sidewalk fruit stalls and clothing racks, are还在努力恢复

多伦多’s Chinatown. PHOTO: Maarten van den Heuvel



在2007, David Hulchanski’s seminal“Three Cities” report表明,战争的消失d was not an isolated incident but part of a larger trend in Toronto. It forced us to confront our complicity in allowing for a spatial dissonance between a predominantly white, wealthy downtown core and predominantly racialized, low-income suburbs. But we have yet to confront the role of public health in this history.

Higher rates of COVID-19 cases in the city’s racialized communities cannot be separated from the fact that these same communities live at an intersection of systems that further marginalize them and put their health in peril: precarious employment that does not offer an adequate number of paid sick days; a built environment that dictates inequitable access to green space and its mental health benefits; and a lack of affordable housing that means that people already dealing with all of the above are slowly excluded from our city.

As Toronto continues to grapple with a pandemic the likes of which we haven’t seen in our lifetimes, we need to connect the dots between the city’s spatial memories and its public health history. Only this context will provide understandings of how the city’s current shape has always been attentive to health – in ways that prioritize certain segments of society over others and in a manner mediated by the very same systems of power that COVID-19 has now emphasized.