Civic Commons Lab

A view of a public square

The Civic Commons are the backbone of a city.

They exist across Canada as vibrant places such as libraries, schools and community hubs. They often serve the needs of residents, offer public benefits and economic opportunities, and instill a sense of belonging. Civic Commons are shared assets that have the power to foster engagement, equity and prosperity in our cities.

In some communities, we are seeing a degradation, underinvestment and underutilization of our civic commons, while in others the growing privatization of place further reduces the commons. This trend is contributing to feelings of apathy and disengagement in our communities.

The Civic Commons Lab is an initiative focused on profiling civic commons and the value they create with and for residents and prototyping new tools that help to strengthen civic commons so they may continue to create community cohesion. This project demonstrates how civic commons, particularly smaller, place-based community hubs, continue to be important anchors in our communities.

The Lab has three main components:

  1. a national hubs learning network engaging participants in monthly webinars and published research,
  2. a Lab convening hubs practitioners to identify and solve for the collective challenges of existing resourcing models for community hubs across Canada,
  3. an innovation incubator within the TD Future Cities Centre focused on strengthening participatory culture and social resilience. The Community Studio is a space for residents, practitioners, academics, community organizations and social innovators to come together to collaborate, design and prototype innovative solutions to the current urban issues facing communities.

This work is led by Evergreen in partnership with BC Arstcape (Vancouver), COLAB (Halifax), Entremise (Montreal), Synapcity (Ottawa), and Winnipeg Boldness Project.

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