| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feed


Shape My City Invites City Builders to Advancing Citizen Action in the 6ix Unconference

You're invited! On April 17, Shape My City hosts an unconference for city builders, community organizers, and change makers, Advancing Citizen Action in the 6ix. The event is an 'unconference' meaning that there will be no set agenda and no talking heads, and that’s the event’s purpose: to connect people with ideas in Toronto about what to do to for the city.

YongeStreet caught up with Caitlin Colson, project manager for Shape My City and Meta Strategies project manager/consultant at 401 Richmond, to ask a few questions about the mission of Shape My City and the upcoming event. 

“Shape My City was started by Margie Zeidler, who owns this building, 401 Richmond; she is really active in city building and philanthropy. People would come to her and say, we are thinking of doing this in the city, and what do you think, and she was always connecting people across her networks, thinking haven’t you heard about this person over here working on this already, and look at this group they tried this already two years ago and it didn’t work, so maybe you should talk to them about why,” Colson said. “Margie would constantly connect people across her network, and she soon realized that there are many people with ideas in Toronto about what to do for the city, but not necessarily a place to centralize them or find other people to collaborate with. That’s where the idea for Shape My City came from. That’s how the three co-founders of Shape My City, Margie Zeidler, of Urban Space Property Group; Liz Rykert, of Meta Strategies, and Annabel Vaughan of Centre for City Ecology started to scheme together and put resources, time, and web development into figuring it out.”
Shape My City launched the online network in the fall of 2014 and hosted the YIMBY festival in the fall of last year. A treasure trove of events and projects, shapemycity.com is quickly becoming a go-to resource for urbanists and change makers to stay connected and engaged. 

The purpose of hosting events like YIMBY and the upcoming unconference, Advancing Citizen Action in the 6ix is to connect city builders in person. “We learned really quickly that Shape My City needs to happen online and offline. Often people find events online and go set up a coffee or go to events. It’s really important to connect city builders, people who are doing things to improve the city. And people tell us they want more time to have these conversations make connections. There aren’t a lot of places in the city where people come together for that purpose,” Cole said. “You might go to an event and the side-effect is networking; and you see people who seem interesting, but you’re there for the talk and maybe don’t have enough time to connect.”
Shape My City hosted YIMBY event last year
At the unconference, there will be stories. Shape My City worked hard to create a space where people feel comfortable sharing their own journey into change work, vision for the city and looking for allies. Since there’s no agenda, there will be time to connect beyond traditional areas of focus and find new alliances, tap into each others' skills, resources, knowledge and networks. Then participant-generated breakout topics will move into the Open Space part of the event, intended to deepen the new connections to ultimately influence and make the changes you want to see happen in Toronto.

“We’re hoping that this ends up as a city-wide event. We recognize that this is squarely in the downtown core, but we hope to get people out from all parts of the city. That's why we decided to host the event at a central location, so that if you’re coming from Etobicoke you’re not going all the way to Scarborough. We need to be connecting across different parts of the city and aligning our strategies. Mayor Tory came out to YIMBY festival last year, and so we will try and explore ways to work with the City going forward, too. We’re hoping that what comes out of the discussions at this Advancing Citizen Action in the 6ix event helps people collaborate, look at the future of Toronto, and build that future together.”

ThinkFresh Group, The STEPS Initiative, and Centre for Social Innovation have partnered with Shape My City to make this unconference for change makers and city builders happen, and the tickets are still available here
Signup for Email Alerts
Signup for Email Alerts