In the last twelve years the Strathcona Community Gardeners Society has done community development, park design and construction, organic agriculture education and wildlife habitat restoration on three and a half acres in the East End of Vancouver - this in addition to feeding a number of households, some of which have incomes so low they would be hungry without the food they grow.

Strathcona Community Gardens (EYA)


Ecological Design for the Toronto Region

The objective of this workshop is to explore the possibilities for a new kind of green urbanism that will allow Toronto to flourish economically, enhance its livability, strengthen its green infrastructure, and function in a post-carbon, climate neutral world. Facilitation methods will ensure respectful and multidisciplinary dialogue and design resulting in a substantive summary report to help catalyze ongoing work towards a comprehensive regional sustainability plan for the Toronto region.

Specifically, participants will be offered the following content in the morning:

  • Overview of Design Exchange
  • Overview of Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
  • Introduction to Pattern Language approach to design and its use in regional planning through the Conservation Economy framework
  • Zero Energy / Eco-Density Development framework for responding to peak oil and a post-carbon world
  • Introduction to sustainable finance at the regional scale
  • International Case Studies at block/district and regional scales demonstrating sustainable urbanism
  • Introduction to principles of landscape ecology, ecosystem services, and multifunctional landscapes
  • Toronto regional context for development and planning

In the afternoon, participants will engage in a powerful design experiment with the following objectives:

  • Use open space facilitation technique (see What is Open Space Technology) to ensure the most urgent ideas are explored by those most interested in engaging with them.
  • Use pattern languages (see WHOLENESS - The Foundation of a Living Neighborhood) as a way to suggest, test, and record responses to the regional design challenge of a post-carbon future.
  • Record through verbal, pattern language and graphic means the visions of 6-8 participant workgroups.
  • Develop a final report summarizing the vision developed during the course of the workshop for use by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, the Design Exchange, and other interested parties in an attempt to catalyze long-term sustainability strategic planning.



  • Participants with suitable laptops will be able to access wireless Internet during the workshop. An access password will be provided on the day of the workshop.
  • Flip charts, paper and pens will be made available to working groups.
  • A digital projector will be available for working groups that create computer-based output. 

A limited set of hardcopy case studies will be provided for the afternoon working sessions.

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