Placemaking & Engaging Diverse Communities: Exploring Opportunities for Community Arts in Toronto’s Mobility Hubs
thesisposted on 25.05.2021, 07:14 by Roozbeh Nayeri
As high-volume nexuses between different modes of transportation interfacing with various other employment, retail, residential and recreational land-uses, mobility hubs are a key component of expected future improvements in Toronto’s transit infrastructure. Transit-oriented considerations have increasingly become a central factor guiding urban development and growth. The inherent challenge of engaging a diverse urban population in decisions about the built environment can be further compounded when seeking to animate communities with marginalized populations while using ‘one size fits all’ engagement methods. Nonetheless, the dynamic nature of sustainability creates a need to revise community visions frequently. This paper draws on interviews with community arts professionals and art educators, as well as representatives from transportation, urban planning, urban design and architecture to explore the potential of community art as a transformative tool and as a way of fostering more inclusive urban regeneration. The potential for community art as a more central element in the planning and development of mobility hubs is also examined. The results identified that community arts and arts-based engagement strategies have the potential to help overcome many of the pervasive barriers to participation associated with traditional engagement methods. A host of process- and outcome-oriented benefits were identified by participants, including the potential for fostering inter- and intra-neighbourhood dialogue, building a stronger sense of neighbourhood identity, and developing capacity towards community-led neighbourhood regeneration. The results have implications for the transformative and capacity-building potential of community art and arts-informed engagement strategies as perceived and utilized by urban planners.