Welcome to Own Your City

Welcome to my new blog, Own Your City. Own Your City is an invitation, to you. It’s a request for your presence, for your participation, in taking ownership over the city that you call home. Just as a great city offers so many choices for its residents and visitors, a broad variety of perspectives and inputs hold the potential to elevate our planning processes, and profoundly shape the city we are building together.   We do have some mechanisms to do this — public meetings, open houses, advisory groups  — but we need to figure out how to do it much, much better.

That’s where you — and OwnYourCity.ca — come in.

To open the conversation, we need to generate access to good information, data and evidence.  You’ll notice that at Toronto.ca you can access reports, documents, studies and decisions.  They can be a little hard to find, but spending some time figuring out how to penetrate the site and identify what you need is worthwhile and rewarding.  There’s great stuff on there.

OwnYourCity.ca will not replicate Toronto.ca but will provide a different layer of insight and perspective, and at times respond to the media, current issues, and your postings.  I’ll do this in my blogs. 

To elevate our conversations, I’d like to suggest we all should listen more, both with openness to new ideas and with a willingness to change our positions as we learn and grow.  After all, city building is fundamentally a creative and evolutionary process.  New evidence, experience and best practices from elsewhere — and citizens — matters.

The Ideas Forum area of this site is where we can listen to each other.  Now, if you have something that needs fixing, call 311 to get help.  If you have a local issue, call your Councillor. But if you have a constructive idea about how we can better build the city, why don’t you let me, and others, know about it? Read a cool new report you want to share, with a bit of commentary? See something in a city that you are visiting that caught your eye? Just had a bright idea? Let me know.

I won’t be able to respond to each individual idea. But I’ll monitor and read them all.  I will also tailor my own blogs to be responsive to key ideas and themes that emerge over time.

I’m inspired by the creative energy in this city — this is one attempt to tap it.

OwnYourCity.ca is a site for me. It is a site for you.  It’s a site for all of us. After all, we need to get beyond soundbites and headlines if we want to collectively build the city we want.  So stay posted, the fun is just beginning.  I’ll see how this goes over the next several months and make refinements as needed. I look forward to hearing from you.