Spacing: How Planning Institute Fees are Holding Us Back

Some believe that Canada’s provincial and national urban planning institutes are increasingly moving towards principles of social inclusion and equity. However, a major factor inhibiting the inclusion of young people and others working outside higher paying private and public sector jobs in planning is the institute fees, which can be a serious financial burden. The burden is exacerbated for those with student debt or other barriers to employment. Read more here.

Spacing: Is Public Sex in Parks a Public Safety Concern?

By Marsha McLeod and Jen Roberton

The presence of public sex in parks is a long standing tradition in urban centres. For some, having public sex is a fetish. For others, they may frequent parks for sex because they do not have access to an indoor space for sex, notably true for some homeless people and queer people. Cruising, the practice of seeking anonymous sex in parks or other public spaces, has a specific significance for men who have sex with men (MSM) who may not identify as part of queer or gay communities, and may not have other means of meeting other MSM. Read more here. 

Thesis: LGBTQ2+ experiences of public safety in the urban form

The Master’s thesis, “LGBTQ2+ Experience of Public Safety in the Urban Form”, seeks
to find out how LGBTQ2+ inclusive cities can be planned and designed. Geographies of identity around visibility and passing are used to frame perceived safety in public spaces. Using the City of Toronto as a case study, the thesis unpacks the current state of perceived and experienced public safety as articulated by LGBTQ2+ people. Focus groups, interviews, an online survey and secondary readings are the data sources used. Quantitative and qualitative data on hate crimes and discrimination in Toronto are also triangulated to contextualize queer and trans experiences of harassment, physical assault, discrimination, microaggressions, verbal harassment and sexualized violence. This study challenges conventional feminist safety planning and the concept of normal/abnormal uses espoused by proponents of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) by bringing queer intersectionality to the forefront of discussion. Recommendations stemming from the collected data include sensitivity and inclusivity training for authority figures, poster campaigns on inclusivity, gender neutral bathrooms, better programming, and the breakdown of systemic barriers faced by LGBTQ2+ communities. Read More.

Spacing: Can Raccoons Teach Us How to Build the City of the Future?

By George Patrick Richard Benson & Jen Roberton

Raccoons are unexpectedly resilient creatures in urban landscapes. They have complex territorial boundaries demarcated, typically around a three block area. Additionally, they have the capacity to learn how to overcome various obstacles using their opposable thumbs and tools (notably removing many bungy cords, rocks and other means used to protect compost bins). Despite their incredible intelligence, city dwellers often regard raccoons, at best, as an anthropomorphized pet and, at worst, a nuisance to the cleanliness and peace of residential areas. Read more.