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Partnership with City of Toronto engages public in future planning of City Hall

A photo of Toronto’s City Hall on a cloudless day with a Canadian flag on the left of the image.
Partnership with City of Toronto engages public in future planning of City Hall

The City of Toronto has partnered with OCAD University to explore how a transformation of Toronto City Hall’s first floor could be more inclusive, inviting and meaningful for residents.

The University’s Strategic Foresight professors and graduate students are providing their expertise to gather public feedback about their experiences visiting City Hall and other civic centres. This will involve an online survey and virtual focus groups.

“Strategic foresight is an important tool that will support the City of Toronto in reimagining its places and spaces,” says Ziyan Hossain, Acting Managing Director of OCAD U CO, the foresight, design and innovation consultancy at OCAD U. “This redesign project will help the city explore a variety of plausible futures that could arise, alongside the opportunities and challenges that may result from any of the proposed scenarios and concepts.”

Survey now open

From now until July 18, 2022, the public can participate in the Future of City Hall Survey, which will be followed by virtual focus groups in July 2022. Data collected from the survey and related workshops will guide city staff decision-making and service design planning.

The short survey, which should take approximately 10 minutes to complete, focuses on a person’s experience in accessing and using first floor services at Toronto’s City Hall (or other civic centres). The survey includes a mixture of questions, including socio-demographic, to better understand current experiences with Toronto City Hall and other civic centres.

Following the survey, there is an option for interested participants to sign up for one of the virtual focus groups that will take place in July 2022, with exact dates to be confirmed soon.

Through this scope of research, the City of Toronto aims to nurture an accessible and welcoming public realm that allows all people to fully participate in public life, including the most vulnerable individuals and groups. With the City’s support, OCAD U will meaningfully engage with communities that face barriers, including those that are disenfranchised or are vulnerable.

“The outlined foresight research is an exciting opportunity to expand civic engagement and enable more Torontonians to feel like they have a voice and belong at City Hall,” explains Miriam Kramer, Executive Director, Government and Community Relations at OCAD U. “We are grateful to the City of Toronto for engaging OCAD U in this scope of work and providing our students with an applied design learning experience that will serve them in their careers.”