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Civic Commons: Convening residents to create flourishing cities

Learn how Evergreen is continuing to support and build up the Civic Commons in our cities.

People sit at a picnic table at Summer Wednesdays at Evergreen Brick Works.

Published on June 11, 2019

An inclusive and welcoming city is made up of a network of thriving public spaces that make all feel welcome and included, giving residents a sense of belonging.

This network is the Civic Commons. The Civic Commons is the backbone of our cities and has the ability to connect residents to one another.

They exist across Canada as vibrant places such as libraries, schools and community hubs. They often serve the needs of residents, offer public benefits and economic opportunities, and instill a sense of belonging. Civic Commons are shared assets that have the power to foster engagement, equity and prosperity in our cities.

They are the places for all to convene.

Civic Commons definition: A network of public spaces and facilities that enable communities to learn, celebrate, express collective actions, collaborate and flourish, together. Can include libraries, parks, community centres, squares and more.
While bringing together stakeholders, decision makers and leaders to discuss a host of issues is a vital aspect of city building, being able to provide a space for residents to do the same is just as important in creating flourishing cities.

Evergreen is continuing its work to support and build up the Civic Commons in our cities.

Our We Are Cities campaign engaged thousands of residents, asking them to imagine an agenda for the future of our cities. In the end, five priority areas for action were recognized, including a need for a Civic Commons Strategy.

Our subsequent report, Towards a Civic Commons Strategy, continued this work and led the way for our collaborative initiative Future CIties Canada.

Since that work with We Are Cities four years ago, we have continued working on the Civic Commons at our testing site in Toronto at Evergreen Brick Works, and through placemaking in the city’s Don River Valley Park.

Our new initiative through Future Cities Canada, the Civic Commons Catalyst will build on this expertise and work.

The Catalyst will offer an array of programming seeking to support and scale existing civic initiatives, prototype new participatory models, and support resident-led activities.

This initiative has three different streams: a supported network of hubs, a lab to provide a space for problem solving and innovation, and an innovation incubator within the TD Future Cities Centre at Evergreen Brick Works.

Want to learn more about the Civic Commons Catalyst and the state of the Civic Commons in Canada? We are launching our new initiative with a webinar series featuring voices from across Canada, exploring the work around our country’s Civic Commons.  

For more information on these webinars, and to keep up-to-date with our Civic Commons Catalyst, visit the Future Cities Canada website.