Moss Park Reimagined: Community-Driven Urban Development

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Moss Park Reimagined: Community-Driven Urban Development

Written by: Lawrence Rodriguez

Lawrence Rodriguez is a youth journalist for FOCUS Media Art Centre

On April 30th, David Roberts, an Associate Professor and Director for the Urban Studies Program at the University of Toronto, did a presentation discussing Moss Park's history regarding urban development challenges it experienced in the past, critiquing the More Moss Park project for its dependence on philanthropy and lack of community engagement on the matter. He advocates for community-led methods for the future improvement of the neighbourhood and emphasizes the importance of urban planning that prioritizes public investments that lead to the betterment and benefit for all residents.

David Roberts is an Associate Professor and Director of the Urban Studies Program at the University of Toronto. He joined the Urban Studies Program 13 years ago after completing his PhD and MA in geography at the University of Toronto. Before that, he worked for several years in a shelter for homeless and refugee teenagers in Seattle. It was during these times at this shelter that he had a special interest in urban issues and urban life. His future goal is to construct a better future in urban life, and has embraced his commitment to this goal through his research, community engagement, and teaching practices.

In this presentation, Professor David Roberts discusses the urban planning and development of Moss Park, specifically its attempts to revitalize the neighbourhood. He goes into detail about the More Moss Park project, a failed revitalization project aimed at redesigning Moss Park and its community centre. It was a public-private partnership involving an anonymous donor, the City of Toronto, and the 519 Community Centre, a non-profit organization known for its advocacy towards community-building efforts and creating a more inclusive and supportive space for 2SLGBTQ+ communities. The reason for its failure was due to various challenges such as disagreements between the parties over the vision of the park, and failure to accrue the necessary funds to initiate the project.


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Video Upload Date: May 17, 2024

FOCUS Media Arts Centre (FOCUS) is a not-for-profit organization that was established in 1990 to counter negative media stereotypes of low income communities and provide relevant information to residents living in the Regent Park area and surrounding communities.

We seek to empower marginalized individuals and under represented communities to have a voice, through the  use of professional training, mentorships and participatory based media practices that enable the sharing of stories, experiences and perspectives on relevant matters and issues. In brief our mandate is to empower marginalized individuals and under-serviced communities to have a voice and tell their own stories.


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