Foresight & Insight

City of Toronto:
100 Resilient Cities

 

Scope of work

  • Engagement
  • Research
  • Horizon Scanning
  • 3 Horizons Workshop
  • Report


100 Resilient Cities—Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation, 100RC has been dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. 100RC supports the adoption and incorporation of a view of resilience that includes not just the shocks—earthquakes, fires, floods, etc.—but also the social stresses that weaken the fabric of a city on a day to day or cyclical basis, such as unemployment, endemic violence, inequity and lack of access to necessary services and infrastructure.

Toronto is striving to build an inclusive, livable and prosperous city, and to develop strategies to bring that vision to reality in the face of growing environmental challenges with enormous impact on the most vulnerable. Helen Kerr designed and facilitated a two-part engagement process to determine a representative set of Vision and Principles to be adopted as part of Toronto’s Resilience Strategy.

The Three Horizons Workshop

Using the Three Horizons Foresight method, 80 representative community leaders in Toronto were invited to generate a set of principles to guide the city through the development of a strategy. Members of non-dominant and marginalized communities worked alongside representatives of social sectors and industry to ensure multiple voices were heard and for unique viewpoints to be included.

Participants were asked to diagnose the current state of resilience in the City of Toronto, to imagine an aspirational “hoped for” state ten years into the future, and to consider, pragmatically, how to bridge the two. Sixteen key themes were identified and ranked according to the intensity of concern and importance for the community, with equity, inclusive governance and actionable sustainability rising to the top. Affordable and available housing and transit were also identified as requiring significant attention.

Using this information as an input, the City of Toronto’s Joint Steering Committee was asked to consider “What would need to be true to make this future vision of a resilient Toronto possible?” Attendees of this meeting brought their rich experience to help advance the strategy development process. Support for resilience as a critical underpinning of all future decision-making for Toronto was established, highlighting the need for bold leadership, change-making initiatives and continuous community involvement. Implementable, resourced undertakings must leverage partnerships across sectors to advance success.

The successful outcome of this work established consensus on Resilient thinking in Toronto, and altered the perspective of 100RC towards alternative engagement approaches.