Your monthly roundup of news, tools, and events from the world of 8 80 Cities.

Meet the 20 Ontario Community Changemakers

We are so excited to announce the winners of our new Ontario-based program that invests in young civic innovators and public space advocates across the province. The goal of the program is to create more space for learning and action for young people who want to be engaged in their communities and take a leadership role in their own creative projects that foster positive change. The program’s mission is to support and elevate the voices of emerging civic leaders in communities across Ontario to inspire and enact change.  
OCC is a mini-grant program designed for Ontario residents aged 19-35 with innovative ideas to activate public space, enhance civic engagement, and/or foster social inclusion. This program is unique in that it offers both leadership development and training and a $5,000 microgrant to implement their idea.  

OCC is powered by 8 80 Cities with funding from Balsam Foundation.
Learn more about the 20 Changemakers

Playing in Public: A Neighbourhood Exhibition in the Bentway, Toronto

Playing in Public is a neighbourhood exhibition put together by The Bentway in Toronto. The exhibit explores the history and future of play and its role in shaping decisions about public space. Learn more about how can we integrate play into the post-pandemic recovery in cities.

8 80 Cities co-presents a two-part panel discussion with World Urban Parks, featuring speakers for whom play is a core component of their work. The first talk focused on how COVID has impacted play for all ages and the strategies that have been employed to mitigate the negative effects of lockdowns over the last year. Watch the recording here

The second part of the discussion will explore how play has shaped the design of our cities over time and what play-based spaces reveal about shifting political, social and cultural values. Panellists will reflect on play’s critical role in learning and development for all ages, and speculate on the ways the pandemic will re-shape play-based design and engagement in the years to come. Register asap.

The Necessity of Urban Green Space for Children's Development: A Unicef Paper

Green spaces can significantly benefit children’s physical, mental and social development - from infancy into adulthood. This paper outlines the many benefits of green spaces on children's health and development, as well as actions to improve access to green spaces. Recommended interventions focus on empowering communities to claim and maintain their local green spaces, securing government support to improve and create green space in cities, and prioritizing schools and child care centres for greening.

Continue reading...

Building Socially Connected Communities

Rates of social isolation are soaring around the world, with profound impacts on health and wellbeing. As the world heals from the impacts of COVID-19, how can we weave stronger connections among families, neighbourhoods, and communities? We need community-led solutions focused on local communities' talents, assets and values. Learn how communities can improve social connection in this short video based on "Socially Connected Communities: Solutions for Social Isolation".

And if you want to keep learning, join Healthy Places by Design and 8 80 Cities for A Vibrant Communities Webinar, on August 18, 2021, at 1:00 pm EST. Speakers Risa Wilkerson and Amanda O'Rourke will discuss the systemic drivers of social isolation and community-level recommendations for action. Register here.
Dangerous By Design Report

The number of people struck and killed in the U.S. by drivers nationwide while walking increased by an astonishing 45 percent over the last decade (2010-2019). The four most recent years on record (2016-2019) are the most deadly years for pedestrian deaths since 1990. During this ten-year period, 53,435 people were hit and killed by drivers.

In 2019, the 6,237 people killed is the equivalent of more than 17 people dying per day.  

In the 2021 Dangerous by Design webinar, Smart Growth America’s Beth Osborne and report author Rayla Bellis explored the report’s findings and rankings, and offered solutions to make streets safer for people walking and biking.

Watch the webinar and report here.

8 80 Cities Partners with CitiesWithNature to Make Cities Greener

We are happy to share that 8 80 Cities is now collaborating with CitiesWithNature to make cities around the world greener, healthier and happier places for young and old. CitiesWithNature is a unique initiative that recognizes and enhances the value of nature in and around cities across the world. It provides a shared platform for cities and their partners to engage and connect, working with a shared commitment towards a more sustainable urban world. 8 80 Cities is joining other leading partners of the CitiesWithNature initiative such as WWF, UNEP, IUCN, Cities4Forests and World Urban Parks.
On the CitiesWithNature platform, cities can embark on a journey to reconnect their communities to nature. Cities can showcase their nature projects on their city profiles, access over 200 cutting-edge tools and resources from partners on the Tools and Resources Hub, use the robust framework of the Nature Pathway to mainstream nature in their cities, connect with partner organizations, and more. Joining CitiesWithNature is free. Representatives from city governments can do so on the website or by writing to Not part of a local or subnational government? You can still access various benefits on the website and subscribe for free to the CitiesWithNature Buzz, a monthly round-up of urban nature news and events from around the world.

ExploreTools and Resources...

A Free Bi-Weekly Webinar Series

A Walk in the Park with Gil is a partnership of 8 80 Cities and World Urban Parks, both renowned organizations for work related to urban parks and their uses. It will provide compelling, interesting, and useful information about park management and programming, park systems and strategies to create more accessible and equitable urban parks. 

In this free webinar series, Gil (Guillermo) will invite knowledgeable guests, who will present fascinating stories and successful cases of urban parks, followed by a provocative and inspiring dialogue with Gil followed by a Q&A. 

In the inaugural session of the series, Gil Penalosa, Founder and Chair of 8 80 Cities, twice chair and now Ambassador of World Urban Parks will talk with Mitchell Silver, NYC Parks Commissioner and AICP President. Mitchell was President of the American Planners Association from 2011 to 2013. Recently he announced his departure, after 7 very successful years running the NYC park system from 2014 to 2021.

Make sure you tune in today at 11:00 am EST.

Register here for the webinar.

Edmonton’s New Parking Rule Is an Urban Planner’s Dream

Like almost every municipality in North America for the past fifty years, Edmonton has told businesses, developers and landowners how much parking they must provide on their property. Last month, however, Edmonton implemented a radical rule change: going forward, other than mandatory accessible spaces, no property would be required to provide any parking whatsoever.

Ashley Salvador, via Reasons to Be Cheerful,  tells us about the impacts of such a rule.  

Continue reading...

How to Design Streets for Everyone 

Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. An environment should be designed to meet the needs of all people who wish to use it. This should not be a special requirement for the benefit of only a minority of the population. It is a fundamental condition of good design, and also means the right to mobility. If an environment is accessible, usable, convenient and a pleasure to use everyone benefits. By considering the diverse needs and abilities of all humans, throughout the design process, universal design creates products, services and environments that meet peoples' needs in the most democratic way. Video by City Beautiful.

Watch the video...

Valuable not vulnerable – how Greater Manchester Is Changing the Narrative on Ageing

The Centre for Ageing Better is a charitable foundation, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, and part of the government’s What Works Network in the UK. The main goal of the organization is to make sure everyone enjoys later life. They create change in policy and practice informed by evidence and work with partners across England to improve employment, housing, health and communities. 

One example of the kind of resources they share on their website is the campaign launched in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority about the value of older adults and the crucial roles they have played in the city region during COVID.

Read all the details in this blog by Greater Manchester Partnership Manager, Nicola Waterworth. You can also watch the campaign video.


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