Evergreen is a longtime grantee and partner of the Foundation, and a leading civil society organization working on urban revitalization in Canada. Founded in 1991, Evergreen has provoked bold action in transforming public landscapes into thriving community spaces with environmental, social and economic benefits. At the core of their work is the belief that involving people directly in the process of restoring the health of local ecologies and their communities positively affects the attitudes and behaviours that lie at the core of the sustainable city.
Having transformed over 4,500 school grounds, as well as disused industrial sites – including its home at the Brick Works in Toronto – Evergreen is an innovator in the practice of city building and placemaking, creating accessible spaces that integrate environmental, social and aesthetic values.
A grant from the Foundation will be used to create Future Cities Canada to support urban innovation across the country. The network will focus on innovation in four areas: 1) capital investment; 2) infrastructure; 3) governance; and 4) civic participation.
Future Cities Canada will initially anchor with two new urban innovation hubs in Toronto and Montreal. A hub strategy will be developed with other cities through existing initiatives and partnerships. The network aims to address the lack of multisectoral collaborative infrastructure that would enable systems thinking and working to catalyze positive change for inclusive urban innovation. Future Cities Canada will include:
- Future Cities Hubs that will operate autonomously and interdependently to share expertise, collaborate in research, coaching and training activities. The hubs will provide evidence-based recommendations to policy makers, elected officials, academics, residents and practitioners.
- Future Cities Labs that will develop new approaches to address urban challenges through multisectoral collaboration.
- Future Cities Network that will enable participants to exchange knowledge and build networks across disciplines, geographies and innovation areas will be supported through peer-to-peer and city-to-city exchanges.
- Network Grants and Awards Program: Modelled in part on Urbact in Europe, this program will bring together groups of cities to develop action plans on specific issues or urban problems. This would build on the Foundation’s 2016 Civic Innovation Awards, which involved Universities Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
- Future Cities Biennale: a cities exposition to profile leading and inclusive urban innovation in Canada, including winners of City Challenge programs.