WSP: Revitalizing Under-utilized Open Spaces in Toronto

Disclaimer: This is a group project, so all design deliverables are made together by the group except when specified.

Date: September 2020 – April 2021

Design Challenge

Public open spaces have become increasingly rare in Downtown Toronto even as the number of semi-private common spaces within new developments rise in higher-income neighbourhoods. Lower-income neighbourhoods in the city have also historically experienced a lack of public green spaces as well as private yards, due to developers monetizing these areas as much as possible. 

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The Client

WSP: The future ready team

The WSP: Underutilized Open Spaces project aims to retroactively find pockets of opportunity in underutilized spaces, and explore ways of transforming those areas to better serve the constantly evolving needs of its respective communities. For this cause, we will develop a toolkit that would be a methodology in identifying, assessing, and suggest ways to creatively revitalize spaces in areas with varying amounts of existing open space.

This toolkit will be in the form of a decision matrix. Driven by equity-based design practices, this toolkit will help stakeholders and other actors determine how to identify and transform under-utilized spaces. Ultimately, this decision matrix will assist in designing public spaces that better serve the evolving needs of urban communities.

The Team and My Roles

  • My Team

Grace: Communicator

Angela: Overall Compressor and Editor

Daisy: Economic-related infomation researcher

Christie: Policy / scholarly papers researcher

Kateryna: Architecture-related information researcher

Erxun: See below

  • My Roles
    • Specializing in providing user research methods & user experience design concept (for the entire design process)
    • Format and references editing for each document

The Final Deliverables

Decision Matrices Presentation & Flowcharts

The Design Process

My Learnings and Feedback

(Bullet points about what I have learned, feedback from peers/supervisors/clients)

  • Collaborate with students from different academic background (architecture, economics, sociology and urban studies) . I have learned that the knowledge of UXD can also be applied to other fields (such as urban design), since everywhere needs USERS.
  • Be brave to talk to the clients in order to gain more feedback. Since we are all students, sometimes we were a bit hesitant or worried to communicate ourselves with the clients. However, over the course of collaboration, it turned out that the clients really needed our feedback and input as well.
  • Focus more on the design component rather than the process. I find the entire year we were focusing on how to build a flowchart to showcase the usage of decision matrices, but we ignored the design components where we could integrate our creativity into the project. It was also because not all group members are coming from a design background. If we had more time, we were to put more emphasis on brainstorming different solutions of redesign.