Programs & Projects
Future Cities Canada accelerates innovation through three integrated programs: Labs, Hubs, and the Learning Network.
Incubators of new approaches, providing a unique space for collaboration.
Many of the challenges municipalities face in transitioning to low-carbon, inclusive cities are so complex and polarizing that no one organization can address them in isolation. The Future Cities Canada Labs seek out opportunities that are a critical stage of transition in order to apply a range of strategic processes to scale these into systems transformation – opportunities that are at a tipping point where concentrated action could lead to scalable outcomes.
This collaboration provides the required infrastructure for us to collectively imagine our future, focusing on four areas of urban innovation, including: capital, infrastructure, governance and participation.
The Future Cities Canada Labs accelerate innovation by:
- Scaling Best Practices: Where solutions already exist that can be replicated with minimal modification. The Future Cities Canada Labs work to scale best practices.
- Solving Technical Challenges: Where no solution exists, but experts agree on what the problem is and how to assess alternative solutions. The Future Cities Canada Labs work to identify technical solutions that can be implemented.
- Inspiring Adaptive Challenges: Where experts disagree on what the real problem is and a solution will need to engage citizens and stakeholders in framing the challenge, resolving value conflicts and finding solutions. The Future Cities Canada Labs work to affect systems change.
This multi-challenge approach allows the Future Cities Canada Labs to advance both rapid solutions and systems change that requires longer time frames, and regulatory interventions.
Future Cities Canada Urban Data and Governance Lab, Future Cities Canada Capital Innovation Lab, and Our Urban Futures are exciting examples of Future Cities Canada Labs.
Physical spaces that spark collaboration where people can meet, learn and organize to spur creativity.
By connecting existing and new hubs, this creates the Future Cities Canada Hubs – a network of hubs that accelerates innovation to create more equitable, regenerative and prosperous cities for all.
Hubs create a collaboration and learning platform that build local capacity to support evidence-based decision making, promote civic participation in the city building process and enable urban innovation. They act as civic incubators for emerging needs, opportunities and trends by monitoring their neighbourhoods. Connecting existing hubs provides a platform through which to deliver a broad range of benefits to cities and their residents.
The Future Cities Canada Hubs accelerate innovation by:
- Developing a National Hubs Network: Enabling local hubs to learn, collaborate and prototype urban innovation in the areas of capital, governance, participation, and infrastructure, removing current barriers to scale.
- Promoting Civic Participation: Hubs are located in the community and play an important role in catalyzing civic participation.
- Connecting and Supporting Urban Innovators: Increasing local hubs’ capacity to support urban innovators to prototype and scale solutions.
- Supporting Evidence-Based, Resident-Informed Decision Making: Developing a place-based research model that brings together the viewpoints of academics, practitioners and residents positions local hubs as leaders within the urban innovation discourse.
- Creating a Global Hub: The Future Cities Centre will be a Canadian and global destination for urban thought leadership. The Centre will be a space for convening events, exhibiting ideas, training and collaboration.
A platform for knowledge sharing and a means for fostering partnerships - the backbone of our collaborative approach.
We are at an unprecedented moment to transform city building to better serve generations to come. To harness this moment, Canada needs to rapidly scale its culture of innovation. This culture of innovation requires effective collaboration across sectors and between communities. We need sophisticated collaboration models to establish common ground, build partnerships, find solutions and move swiftly to decisions and action.
The Future Cities Canada Learning Network generates, curates and shares urban research to promote knowledge sharing and capacity building for urban innovators and city builders. It provides virtual and physical interaction and collaboration among cross-sectoral stakeholders to foster discourse and stimulate action. The Future Cities Canada Learning Network, together with the labs and hubs creates a national network to accelerate innovation.
The Future Cities Canada Learning Network accelerates innovation by:
- Promoting Evidence-Based Decision Making: Through a public call to researchers and practitioners across the world, research and best practices are curated, published and disseminated through a variety of formats such as articles, social media and online publishing platforms.
- Building Capacity: By generating, curating and sharing urban research to build capacity for accelerated innovation.
- Connecting Stakeholders: The Learning Network provides opportunities for innovators and stakeholders to come together to learn from one another, collectively problem solve and co-create solutions and action agendas. Key engagement activities include city-to-city exchanges; communities of practice; forums, summits, conferences and exhibits; dialogue and speakers series.
- Facilitating Online Engagement and Communications: The Learning Network curates research and thought leadership content through a digital learning platform that connects researchers and practitioners and advances the discourse of building inclusive, resilient and regenerative cities of the future.
Capacity Building Through 100In1Day Canada, Connecting Stakeholders at the Future Cities Canada Summit, and Future Cities Canada Platform are a few of the projects increasing community capacity to collectively build our future cities.
Within the Future Cities Canada Hubs, there are two anchor locations. One at Toronto’s Evergreen Brick Works, a demonstration hub for the best of urban sustainability. Evergreen is retrofitting the largest building on campus into an urban thought leadership destination. This retrofit is the first of its kind in Canada to strive for carbon neutrality. This high-efficiency venue is striving to make Evergreen Brick Works a carbon neutral campus, inspiring future low-carbon sites across Canada. The Future Cities Centre will include improved spaces for convening events, exhibiting ideas, training and collaboration. It is a unique place where urban thinkers create prototypes, conduct research and development, and test and showcase innovation to over 500,000 visitors annually.
The Future Cities Centre will work closely with the second anchor hub in Montreal, Ville d’Avenir at Maison d’innovation sociale to advance a cross-Canadian agenda accelerating collaborative action for Canada’s Urbanization Agenda. Ville d’Avenir at Maison d’innovation sociale will collectively imagine, design and prototype positive social impact projects.
The Future Cities Canada Urban Data and Governance Lab will guide data-driven solutions and inform the design and development of a national data policy strategy for cities and ensure that the urban digital transformation benefits all Canadians.
The Future Cities Canada Capital Innovation Lab is bringing together stakeholders from the capital provision side (funders, impact investors, foundations), three levels of government, the development industry and others in order to collectively mobilize public, private and philanthropic financial capital in new and more efficient ways to accelerate low-carbon, inclusive innovation. The lab will develop policy recommendations, design new funds, new instruments, new intermediaries and look to align with key Federal and Provincial innovation funds.
In the coming decades, unprecedented public and private-sector investments in urban infrastructure will transform our cities in Canada, and around the world. If managed with foresight and vision, this investment represents a tremendous opportunity to position Canada as a global leader in low-carbon, inclusive city building. Our Urban Futures is a phased research and scenario-planning project that aims to support and enable this ambition, aimed to help chart a path forward for the next 50 years and show the world how cities can and should be developed.
100In1Day Canada is part of a global movement that inspires residents to activate 100 innovative ideas to transform their city all in one day. With 12 cities across Canada participating, and hosting capacity building workshops, 2018 will be the biggest year yet.
This project would not have been possible without the support of the province of Ontario. Our implementing city partner network: City of Burlington, Crane Institute for Sustainability, Green Calgary, Green Up, Impact Hub Montreal, Invasive Species Council of BC, North Columbia Environmental Society, Synapcity, unLondon.
The Future Cities Canada Summit is a national gathering on the future of cities. It brings together city builders from all sectors to create and strengthen new relationships and collectively accelerate innovations for more inclusive, sustainable and resilient cities. The inaugural event is scheduled for November 7 to 9, 2018 at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto to:
- Catalyze conversations across sectors
- Share knowledge and best practices
- Enable critical conversations and increase the profile of critical urban issues, challenges and opportunities for innovation
- Showcase and accelerate urban innovations to transform cities for the benefit of all
The first day of the event is delivered in partnership with Urban Land Institute. Interested in participating in the Summit? Find out how you can get involved.
We are building a collaboration platform to fast-track connections, learning and belonging like never before. The platform curates research and thought leadership content through a digital learning platform that connects researchers and practitioners and advances the discourse of building inclusive, resilient and regenerative cities of the future.