Foundation, Making the Public the Basis for Change
Toronto is rich—in business, in arts, and in an absolutely booming building industry. Yet despite these strengths, the city has persistent weaknesses.
Memorable public gathering spaces are few, transportation is questionable, and lots of our new buildings are just plain ugly. As founding members of PUG, we aim to give the public the tools they need to help effect change, shedding light on how to have real civic impact at the local level.
Over the last nine years, we have developed a three-pronged approach to involving citizens in conversations about design, and how it affects them. The goal is to equip the public with the knowledge and language they need to commend and criticize how developers use our shared spaces.
The PUG Awards' online voting system allows Torontonians to reward and shame developers for the good, bad and ugly contributions they make to our streets every year. PUG Ed introduces grade seven students to architects, city staff, politicians and developers, giving them a chance to learn about city building, form opinions and put those learning's into ideas which are rewarded on an annual basis. We are working towards a seven-week video education program online, to share with more youth across the City. PUG Talks are free panel discussions on the same issues aimed at an older audience: after hearing from experts, attendees also share their own opinions in a lively town hall debate.
The many facets of PUG take advantage of all forms of media and interaction—from in-person discussion to video learning—to help citizens engage with development where it affects them most, at street level. We all deserve a beautiful Toronto. With PUG, we can all use our voices to help make it happen.