Future Cities Canada: new initiative aims to accelerate inclusive innovation in cities

(TORONTO, ON — May 7, 2018) Realizing the potential of Canadian cities is at the heart of a new nation-wide city-building initiative launched today. Future Cities Canada brings together people, ideas, platforms and innovations from across sectors to find new and collaborative ways to address the challenges facing cities. Drawing on the expertise of its founding partners, Future Cities Canada’s unique collaborative infrastructure aims to accelerate innovation to build regenerative, inclusive cities of the future.

Future Cities Canada was created in response to a national and global need for a collaborative framework that would harness the momentum for change already in progress in cities. Four founding organizations have come together to start this work: Evergreen, Community Foundations of Canada, the McConnell Foundation and Maison de l’innovation sociale. Together with a diverse and growing network of partners, Future Cities Canada will co-create solutions to fill the gaps in the urban system, ultimately informing policy and regulation and how people engage with their cities.

The foundation for catalyzing change is a new platform of hubs, labs and learning networks where city builders from across the country can connect, learn and advance solutions to address some of the greatest challenges facing urban centres – among the most pressing: inequality and climate change. Through a suite of projects, Future Cities Canada strives to connect with new partners and find new ways to build cities that are equitable, regenerative and prosperous.

Projects are already taking shape, with new partnerships and ideas forming as Future Cities Canada reimagines how cities can be built — together. Among its initial projects:

  • Our Urban Futures — Stakeholders from across Canada will work together to develop a collective vision for cities, considering various scenarios that take into account population growth, climate change and alternative infrastructure investments over the next 50 years. The goal is to establish an informed, effective and long-term strategy for Canada’s cities.
  • National Leadership on Urban Data — In the spring, Future Cities Canada will convene experts from government, academics, civil society and industry to inform a framework for a national urban data strategy. The outcomes will provide insight on current and emerging concerns and next steps in filling the fundamental governance gap related to data in Canada.
  • Future Cities Canada Summit — A national gathering on the future of cities will bring together city builders from all sectors to work together to accelerate innovations for more inclusive, sustainable and resilient cities. The inaugural event is scheduled for November 7 to 9, 2018 at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto.
  • 100In1DayCanada and Civic Incubator — Future Cities Canada fuels the annual civic engagement event taking place in 12 cities across Canada — the largest to date – on June 2, 2018. 100In1Day Canada is part of a growing global movement that provides a platform for residents and organizations across the country to showcase urban interventions aimed at sparking change within their communities. Its success has led to the creation of a year-round Civic Incubator program, which provides city builders with skills training and education, and access to a network of resources.
  • Knowledge Network — The Future Cities Learning Network generates, curates and shares urban research to promote knowledge sharing and capacity building for urban innovators and city builders. It provides virtual and physical interaction and collaboration among stakeholders to foster discourse and stimulate action. Together with the labs and hubs, the Future Cities Learning Network creates a national network to accelerate innovation.

Future Cities Canada will have two city-based anchor hubs — at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto (currently part of the redevelopment of the historic Kiln Building) and Ville d’Avenir in Montreal – that will function as innovation and training centres to improve capacity, take on new projects and test and prototype solutions. A hub network will connect and enable collaboration within existing community hubs.

From our Founding Partners:

“Cities are on the verge of transformative change,” said Geoff Cape, Evergreen CEO. “Future Cities Canada and its collaborative approach enhances participation and capacity to rethink how cities can be built — together, ensuring that urban digital transformation benefits all Canadians.”

“It takes collective intelligence and collective action to realize the urban futures that we want and need,” said Dr. Jayne Engle, lead for Cities for People, an initiative of the McConnell Foundation. “Future Cities Canada has an opportunity to enable hands-on city-building, where people can make their cities together. There is a great need to rapidly scale the culture of innovation in cities, and social innovation has to be foundational to that to ensure equality and inclusivity.”

“Our urban centres are becoming more diverse, dense and socially and economically inequitable,” said Ian Bird, President of Community Foundations of Canada. “Aligning with a national network will help ensure that opportunity and access are inclusive and accessible to all and that Canada continues to be a leader in building and shaping thriving cities of tomorrow.”

“Future Cities Canada and its hubs play an important role in making urban innovation accessible at a local level,” said Patrick Dubé, director of Maison de l’innovation sociale. “Providing dynamic and inspiring spaces where residents, practitioners and organizations can meet, discuss, learn and organize to spark creativity and make connections. Future Cities Canada gives a voice to and place for the next generation of city builders.”

To learn more and join the initiative visit: www.futurecitiescanada.ca

Stay informed by signing up for the newsletter and join the conversation: @FutureCitiesCA

For media information, please contact: Renee Tratch | Sr. Manager, Public Relations| Evergreen | 416-596-1495 X 273 Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Avenue, Suite 300, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3X8

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About Future Cities Canada: A national cross-sector initiative with the mission to accelerate innovation to transform cities for the benefit of all. Led by four founding partners, and with a growing network of partners, Future Cities Canada collectively strives to address the challenges facing cities and city-dwellers to reimagine cities that are equitable, regenerative and prosperous.

Future Cities Canada Founding Partners:

Evergreen is dedicated to making cities flourish. Since 1991, the national not-for-profit has been hard at work transforming spaces into great places so that communities can thrive. We believe that by connecting people, natural and built worlds, we can enable Canadians to do great things that will shape our cities for the better.

McConnell Foundation is a private Canadian foundation that develops and applies innovative approaches to social, cultural, economic and environmental challenges through granting and investing, capacity building, convening and co-creation with its grantees, partners and public.

Community Foundations of Canada is a national organization that mobilizes a diverse network of community-based philanthropists to achieve greater collective impact across the country. Community Foundations Canada leverages the power of collaboration to address complex issues facing Canadian communities, such as belonging, inclusion and reconciliation.

Maison d’innovation sociale is an organization dedicated to developing social innovation capabilities and the emergence of social entrepreneurs in Quebec.

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