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Sustainable Cities

Background

Cities are the places where most of the global population lives, works and plays. Over 80% of the Canadian population and nearly 2/3 of the world’s population live in urban centres. The environment and services found in urban centres are critical to the health and well-being of urbanites. As well, the concentration of people and activities in relatively constrained geographic areas pose a considerable challenge for maintaining a healthy environment.

Cities offer the opportunity to be involved in local decision-making at a level that directly affects you. They are the most immediate and nimble level of government, where the province and especially the federal government are most difficult to access and effect change. As such, it is important to understand the factors at play in city-wide governance and how you, as an individual, can be involved. Please familiarize yourself with jurisdictional responsibilities of the city versus the province and federal government.[1] Examples of initiatives taken a the municipal level include those coordinated through ICLEI[2] (an organization that brings together local levels of government), c40 which has brought together cities to work on climate-related initiatives,[3] and the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Cities initiative.[4]

Goal

Goal of this assignment is to identify the top priorities that you want to see changed in Toronto, things that you really love about Toronto, and actions that you can take to bring about positive change in the city.

Your Assignment

What was planned: We would have met in groups to brainstorm, starting with thinking of your own ideas and then sharing those ideas with your group to come to a consensus. This would have been an exercise in creative thinking and in working with others to arrive at a common understanding of the ideas. However, instead of a group discussion, you will either brainstorm with yourself, yourself and your cat or dog, or with a chat group, if possible.

  1. Issue Identification

First, write down ideas of what works well in Toronto. Second, write down what does not work well in Toronto.

  1. Issue Priority Setting

Consider the ideas that you have written down to arrive at,

  1. the top three things you want to change, and
  2. the top three things you (and perhaps your family and friends) love about Toronto.

Then, identify specific actions that you can take to bring about changes to help realize your top priorities for change.

Your write-up must be a maximum of one page. Marks will be deducted for responses longer than one page.

Your write-up will consist of:

  1. Top three things that you want changed in Toronto (one sentence for each)
  2. Top three things that you like about Toronto and that do not require change (one sentence for each), and
  3. Three specific actions that you can take to bring about the change prioritized in (a). You must:

–  provide three specific actions that address issues identified in (a), that must be feasible, and that you believe can lead to change (maximum three sentences per action or nine sentences total),

– for each action you must include to whom the action is directed and why; examples include other members of your community, a citizen’s group, city council, the province and if so, which ministry (one sentence each),

– you must explain why you chose each action to be the most likely to bring about change (maximum two sentences for each action).

 

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