Your monthly roundup of news, tools, and events from the world of 8 80 Cities.
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8 80 Cities in 2022: A Year of Revival in Transforming Public Space  

After a long pause during the pandemic restrictions, this year felt like a comeback year. We were back…like really back! And boy, did it feel good.  

At 8 80 Cities, we believe in the power of public space to bring people together and to spark radical change for people and the planet. We transform public space as a catalyst for creating better cities for all people. But more importantly, we transform mindsets and narratives about who the city is for; who has the right to mobility; the right to public space; and the right to full participation in the city.  

We often make the improbable happen. The term “first ever” appears a lot in our project descriptions. Venturing into uncharted territory is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage and perseverance to innovate. It takes compassion, vulnerability, and a commitment to something much bigger than us.   

So thank you to all of the changemakers, partners, collaborators, artists, activists, activators, connectors, and good troublemakers who helped us along the way.  

While we continue the work to recover from and respond to the impacts of the pandemic, we say goodbye to 2022 feeling revived. Take a look at the incredible projects and collaborations that our brilliant 8 80 Cities team has been able to bring to life.  

Amanda O’Rourke
Executive Director 8 80 Cities 

Our Year In Projects

Activate Downtown Brampton
A collaborative project between 8 80 Cities, The City of Brampton, and the Downtown Brampton Business Improvement Area and funded by the Government of Canada through the Main Street Community Activator program, Activate Downtown Brampton was a series of interactive installations and activations that took place in downtown Brampton’s laneways and public gathering spaces from May to October 2022.
Ontario Community Changemakers 
Funded by Balsam Foundation, Ontario Community Changemakers is a fellowship and micro-grant program for young civic innovators with bold ideas to activate public space, enhance civic engagement and foster social inclusion, and is now in its second year.
Visit the program website...
Illuminate Caledon
8 80 Cities and the Town of Caledon have come together to host a series of pop-up engagements in coordination with diverse community partners. The engagements focus on creating space for conversation, dialogue, and idea generation on equitable and culturally responsive placemaking opportunities.  ​

AARP Livable Communities – Technical Advisors Program
8 80 Cities has been working with AARP state offices in the U.S.  to host virtual and in-person workshops on good practices for Creating Parks and Public Spaces for People of All Ages in partnership with the American Association of Retired Persons.

Seniors Outdoor Activation Toolkit
The Seniors’ Outdoor Activation Toolkit tells the story of a partnership between WoodGreen Community Services, 8 80 Cities and over 100 seniors who saw the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to flip the standard for seniors programming in parks and public spaces in Toronto’s east end.

Read the toolkit...
Ontario School Streets Pilot
Funded by Green Communities Canada through the Ontario Active School Travel program, Ontario School Streets Pilot was an initiative that tested the implementation of School Streets programs in four Ontario communities – Hamilton, Markham, Mississauga and Kingston - during the 2021-22 school year. 

Read the report...
Kitchener Pop-Up Park
We partnered with the  City of Kitchener and launched the first-ever pop-up park in downtown Kitchener to build excitement and engage diverse communities in reimagining parks and public spaces from an equity lens. 

Learn more here...
Town of Caledon’s ATMP
8 80 Cities has partnered with the Town of Caledon to engage the community in a process that will inform the upcoming Active Transportation Masterplan. The ATMP will identify an All Ages All Abilities network of safe walking and cycling facilities that supports active transportation all year round. What does the future of active transportation look like to you? Take the survey and have your say.
8 80 Neighbourhood Diagnostic
We worked in partnership with the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association, the University of Alberta, and the University of Waterloo to evaluate how the downtown neighbourhood of Whitecourt, Alberta, is performing using 8 80 spatial audit tools.

Learn more...
Canada Healthy Communities Initiative
The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative is a $60 million investment from the Government of Canada to transform public spaces in response to COVID-19, and provides funding to a broad range of organizations for projects that help communities create safe and vibrant public spaces, improve mobility options, and provide innovative digital solutions. Since the initiative started, we have offered technical support for participating teams from different cities in mobility and other areas.  

Events & Announcements

Our Founder, Gil Penalosa, is back as Chair of the Board of 8 80 Cities. Gil revoked this responsibility during the second semester of the year to embark on the mayoral campaign in Toronto. Gil wanted to change the conversation about creating a Toronto for everyone! In just 100 days since registration to the election, Gil went from 100 to 100,000 votes and, more importantly, changed the conversation on many vital topics to Torontonians. 

Applications are now open for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) planning grants for Implementing Healthy Urban Policy. These grants support collaboration between city leaders and researchers and the co-development of activities related to implementing and evaluating interventions in urban settings that would improve health and well-being. Winning teams, composed of four city leaders and one researcher, will participate in a five-day workshop in Copenhagen focused on active transportation and public space, organized by 8 80 Cities in Copenhagen next Fall! Apply here by January 5, 2023.

Thank you to our amazing funders, partners, and collaborators! 

AARP Livable Communities, Canadian Urban Institute, Community Foundations of Canada, Balsam Foundation, Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Canadian Healthy Communities Initiative, Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario, Canadian Parks and Recreation Association, Parks and Recreation Ontario, Open Streets TO, Housing for Health, University of Alberta, Park People, University of Waterloo, City of Kingston, Queen’s University, Town of Whitecourt, City of Markham, City of Mississauga, City of Hamilton, ICLEI, World Urban Parks, University of Toronto, UTSC, Toronto Metropolitan University, Woodgreen Community Services, Jay Pitter, City of Brampton, Downtown Brampton Business Improvement Association, Cycle TO, Bike Brampton, Alzheimer’s Society of Peel, Roots Community Services, Alta Planning Canada, Weston Consulting, City of Kitchener, Muslims in Public Space, Anishinabeg Outreach, EarthScape Play, Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds, Sullivan Renaissance, Healthy Places by Design, Town of Springwater, Town of Caledon, Movium, Swedish Lund University, City of Helsingborg, Real Play City Challenge, The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities 

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