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The winning ideas from youth across the country: Future City Builders pitch-off results

From housing, to water, to emergency preparedness, see the winning ideas from Canada’s Future City Builders. 

Winners of the Hamilton 2019 Future City Builders Urban Action Pitch-Off. Image: Andrew Parrins
Image: Andrew Parrins

Published on June 10, 2019

After months of brainstorms, plans, discussions and workshops, the Future City Builders took to the stage to present their ideas for creating better cities.

The Future City Builders program engages youth across Canada as they develop work-ready skills, make new contacts and improve the health of their city. For months they worked on developing ideas based on their city’s theme to present to a panel of judges. The winning teams each received financing to turn their ideas into reality. 

Check out a list of winners and their innovative ideas below.

Halifax – Housing

Halifax is one of the fastest growing cities in Canada. With that in mind, the seven groups in Hamilton’s 30Lab got to work preparing their pitches to address housing issues in eastern Canada. 

Winners: ROOF ($5,000)

ROOF is a centralized online platform to help individuals find public services near them, such as addiction recovery, food resources, shelters, clinics, events, and emergency and mental health services. By centralizing all this information in one place, ROOF addresses housing insecurity through their web platform. 

Runners-Up: HFX Resilient Housing Network ($1,500)

Vancouver – Emergency Preparedness

In Vancouver and surrounding communities, emergency preparedness is a popular topic for discussion. Rising sea level, increasingly frequent natural disasters and the effects of climate change were all on the minds of those pitching their ideas to the Vancouver panel.

Winners: PushPin ($5,000)

The winning idea in Vancouver was presented by PushPin, who proposed installing weather balloons at disaster support hubs across the city. During regular days, the balloons act as public art and wayfinding. In the event of an earthquake or other large-scale emergency, they will be released into the air so people in the area can find their nearest disaster-support hub.

Runners-Up: Disaster Games ($1,500)

Calgary – Food Resilience

In Calgary’s pitches, groups addressed urban food challenges in the city, from Calgary’s unusually short growing season, to Calgary’s high level of food waste, to the city’s reliance on international food shipments.

Winners of Calgary's Urban Action Pitch-Off: Feed Your FlatPhoto courtesy of Star Calgary.

Winners: Feed Your Flat ($5,000)

Feed Your Flat will create modular, personalized gardening kits for apartment-dwellers, modified depending on the customers’ gardening experience, balcony-size, sunlight, etc. Their project was created in response to surveys from youth in Calgary that identified they do not have the knowledge or the space to grow their own food.

Toronto – Housing

It seems every day, a new headline comes out stating the obvious: housing in Toronto is in crisis. The Toronto cohort examined housing from a holistic perspective, unpacking and creating community projects that dealt with housing affordability, access and quality of housing.

Winners: CommunAlley

An interactive web map, CommunAlley allows homeowners to view the eligibility of their property for laneway housing. The program also provides next steps to begin the development process. By highlighting laneway housing in Toronto, the team aims to put a focus on making the most of underutilized spaces and building on the shoulders of existing communities. 

Hamilton – Water 

The City of Hamilton is surrounded by water. Bordered on one side by a Great Lake and dotted with waterfalls, the city is seemingly flush with the natural resource. Hamilton’s 30Lab worked to come up with ideas on ways to better utilize, protect and clean the resource of which they are most abundant. 

Rainhaven presentation still.

Winners: RainHaven

The winning team in Hamilton pitched a community initiative called RainHaven. Through their work, they aim to map rain gardens in the City of Hamilton and to pilot one rain garden in the city designated as a space for youth engagement.

Congratulations to all the winners! We can’t wait to see where these ideas take you next. For more information on all the Future City Builders pitches, visit YouthfulCities.

Future City Builders is an initiative of Future Cities Canada. It is presented in partnership by Evergreen and YouthfulCities, and championed by RBC Future Launch.