November 25, 2021

Top Six Moments From Six Months Of The Summit

People walking down street with sun flare.


From May to October 2021, Future Cities Canada: The Summit brought together urban thought leaders, private- and public-sector innovators, mayors and community leaders to showcase the what’s-next in creating more resilient communities of the future.

There is no shortage of pressing issues communities are facing, and it will take all of us with our unique skills, experiences and perspectives to advance innovative solutions, together. From community-driven innovation in the COVID era to working in step with Indigenous partners to NASA experts using satellite space data for climate mitigation, if there’s anything that The Summit reminded us of, it’s that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to city building.

This wealth of content lives on here. Get started by exploring the sessions highlighted below, and continue down a rabbit hole of city-building solutions through 100+ 2020 and 2021 thought-provoking discussions hosted by Future Cities Canada.

1. Canada in 2050: Infrastructure Planning for a Green & Inclusive Future

“Infrastructure is what connects us.” Quote from Lisa Helps, mayor of Victoria, British Columbia.

In this session, City of Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps urges us to reflect on how we can use solutions to the growing gap in infrastructure to re-knit the social and economic fabric of our communities post-pandemic. Panelists explore the possibilities around the Canadian Government’s recently-announced National Infrastructure Assessment. This once-in-a-generation undertaking aims to identify Canada’s evolving infrastructure needs and priorities, and use an evidence-based approach to plan for an inclusive, net-zero future.

Watch the session here.

2. (Re)claiming Our Common Grounds: Indigenous Placekeeping in Public Spaces 

Tanya Chung-Tiam-Fook, author of the Civic-Indigenous Placekeeping & Partnership Building Toolkit, brings Toronto-based civic and Indigenous practitioners together to discuss their experience and efforts to do parks planning differently. Through the case studies of Toronto Island Park’s Master Plan process and The Don River Valley Park, they explore the need for city builders to work in step with Indigenous partners and cultural protocols.

Watch the session here.

3. Creative Disruption with Edward Burtynsky, Elder Catherine Tàmmaro and Umbereen Inayet 

Graphic with Quote from Umbereen Inayet

How can we disrupt outdated systems within public art for a future that supports social change? Three artists come together to share their stories and experiences with art as catharsis and discuss the future of public art. Investigating the spiritual, social and emotional narratives motivating their work, they explore how art can depict the impact of our actions – and potentially stimulate a process of deep healing.

Watch the session here.

4. TD Future Cities Speaker Series: Back to School: Future of Learning 

In this session, we hear from those on the frontlines both inside and outside of schools, on how student-centered approaches to education build resiliency and how generating a sense of community that extends beyond schools can be used as a critical tool to help create effective systems of care and support. In the chat, one participant offers a solution towards shifting systems within education with “How about thinking about a ‘learning’ system instead of education? Individuals learn, an active process. People are educated, which is passive.”

Watch the session here.

5. Connecting Canada: Missing Pieces in Broadband Equity 

Visual of a quote from Joe Moses.

What barriers do smaller communities face in contrast to urban centres and established providers? From remote, northern and Indigenous communities to small towns and rural areas, many areas of Canada face challenges related to connectivity that have been exacerbated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts in broadband connectivity and community leaders come together to explore how awareness, capacity, and partnerships can be built around launching and financing community broadband networks in rural areas.

Watch the session here.

6. Back to Earth: Climate Adaptation and Mitigation with NASA 

As Dr. Lesley E Ott, Climate Scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, puts it: “When people hear the word NASA they think of watching the moon and stars and planets. But it’s also about looking back at earth, the only planet that supports life, and helping to make better decisions to manage cities on earth.”

In this session, NASA experts Dr. Christian V. Braneon, Remote Sensing Specialist at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Dr. Ott share insights on how satellite data from space helps municipalities and corporations make on-the-ground decisions for climate adaptation and mitigation. Think: cities like Paris doing innovative work on measuring their greenhouse gas emissions, using a technique where they shoot lasers across the city to measure how much CO2 is being emitted.

Watch the session here.

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