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STRATEGIC ADVISORY

Community engaged co-creation sessions

LITTLE JAMAICA – BLACK URBANISM TORONTO

OACC was honoured to work with Black Urbanism Toronto (BUTO) and allied organizations in cohosting two conversations with Black business owners in Toronto’s Little Jamaica Neighbourhood. The conversations revolved around the compounding issues of disruptive ongoing construction, COVID-19, future development and planning for the area, gentrification, and the importance of culture.

We synthesized what we learned from those conversations, as well as secondary source research into recommendations for building a prosperous and vibrant neighbourhood from within a local community, into a comprehensive report that was published and shared with the City of Toronto.

Location: Eglinton West, Toronto

Date (completed): 2019-2020

Community Partner/Client: Black Urbanism Toronto (BUTO)

External Contributors: 

OACC Team: Shanna-Kay Smith, Mona Dai Negar Hashemi, Marveh Farhoodi,
Priyasha Singh

Other Services: Research and Development

Output of Project: Issued Report “A Black Business Conversation on Planning for the Future of Black Businesses and Residents on Eglinton Ave W.”

Outcome of Project:

Desired Impact:

EXPROPRIATE 214-230 SHERBOUNE

OACC collaborated with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) and allied intern architects and academics on a campaign to call on the City of Toronto to expropriate a series of vacant lots on Sherbourne Street in the downtown east for rent-geared-to-income housing.

We helped facilitate a design charrette to gather feedback on what local residents desired for the site, in terms of overall building form, ground floor programs, public space qualities, and domestic space qualities. These findings were compiled in a report which included a speculative design for the site that synthesized the inputs of the community and galvanized support for the project. Together, we presented the report along with a model of the speculative design, at a meeting of the Affordable Housing Committee at City Hall.

Location: Toronto

Date (completed): 2019-2020

Community Partner/Client: Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)

External Contributors: Sneha Sumanth, Matthew Lawson, Louise Liu, Adrian Blackwell, Ryan Hayers, Stanley Sun, Joseph Zaleskl, Approx. 100 participants of community feedback sessions

OACC Team: Mona Dai, Shanna-Kay Smith, Lisimar Campero, Negar Hashemi, Joel Aguilar, Lisimar Campero, Noel Kristen Cochon

Other Services:

View the Campaign Report
Media Coverage: Toronto Star and CP24
Deputations: Part 1 and Part 2

Output of Project: Issued report “A community-driven proposal for public housing at 214-230 sherboune street” 

Outcome of Project: Deputation to the Affordable Housing Committee, City Council has been asked to direct CreateTO to look into expropriating the properties.

Desired Impact:

SIMUYE COMMUNITY CENTRE

The Simunye Foundation building project initiative is to create a beautifully designed multitiered space. The building should reflect the culture of those from African and Caribbean decent. Each floor should keep with the foundation’s mantra of “Unite, Empower and Enlighten”.

The first floor will be an arts and cultural space which will include a museum, rooms for cultural activities, a bookstore/library, a community space and possibly a daycare. This floor should embrace the theme “Unite” as its purpose is to bring the Black community together to celebrate its rich history, legacy in Canada and preserve the culture.

The 2nd floor will carry the theme “Empower”. This floor will provide resources to help in career development, entrepreneurship, skills development, financial management education and business/legal support.

The 3rd floor will embrace the theme “Enlighten” – that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind, thus giving birth to a healthy spirit. When we invest and care for our bodies, we move toward developing our highest self, therefore improving the quality of our lives and positively impacting our community. This floor will be a state-of-the-art wellness facility with a gym, running track, pool, group fitness studio, indoor cycling studio, outdoor rooftop terrace where classes and/or community socials can be held, rooms for physiotherapy and massage services.

After the initial building is built, we would like to expand and create a theater add on dedicated to celebrating Black Film and the Performing Arts.

Location: Toronto

Date (completed): 2018

Community Partner/Client: The Simunye Foundation

External Contributors: 

OACC Team: Shanna-Kay Smith, Hiwet Dega, Yaw Tony

Other Services:

Output of Project: 

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SOMALIA IDP

Samo Solutions is a one storey low-cost housing project in Kismayo, Somalia. The focus of the project is to create a housing prototype which is easy to construct and creative in design. The prototypes will be constructed of Samo Earth Blocks and will house IDPs and refugees in Somalia who are currently living in refugee camps but who need permanent housing which addresses the issues of safety, privacy, and sustainability.

Location: Somalia

Date (completed): 2015

Community Partner/Client: Samo Solutions

External Contributors: 1,113,000 Internally Displaced Persons in Somalia, 7 Volunteers in Design Team, 10 Units involved in pilot phase

External Contributors: Shanna-Kay Smith

Other Services:

Output of Project: 

Outcome of Project: 

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