Growing UP – CondoHack

The Dept devised and led an ethnographic research approach to explore the perspective of children and families with children in vertical communities.


The purpose of this planning study, and subsequent design guidelines, is to encourage all city-builders to plan from the perspective of a child, consider the unique needs of families with children, and instigate a culture-shift in the design of vertical communities as complete communities.


The Dept devised and led an ethnographic research project, involving in-depth interviews and walk-throughs with families in their living spaces and neighbourhood. We asked people what was and wasn’t working at the unit, building and neighbourhood scale, in addition to documenting the fascinating and inventive ‘hacks’ they had made to address specific challenges in their condos and communities, like a lack of storage, children’s play space and walkability.


This participatory consultation approach offered numerous insights and a key lesson: instead of “hacking” their homes, many families have “hacked” their thinking about what they need to successfully raise their children in the city. In subsequent phases of the study, consultation activities included public workshops, online surveys and pop-up events in major growth centres of Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough and the downtown core.


Overall, Dept of Words and Deeds acted as the public facilitation co-lead and executed process design, survey development, interviewing and reporting to the client, City of Toronto/Urban Strategies (2016-2017).


The City of Toronto's Growing Up website is here.


ACCOLADES

Canadian Institute of Planners 2018 Award for Planning Excellence (Social Planning Category) – Growing Up: Planning for Children in New Vertical Communities/CondoHack. The award represents the highest level of recognition the Institute bestows for professional planning, in recognition of innovation, impact on the profession, implementation potential, and overall presentation. The jury was excited that the focus was adapting an urban lifestyle to meet the needs of children.




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