Amanda is the Executive Director of 8 80 Cities, a non profit organization based in Toronto, Canada. The organization is based on a simple but powerful concept, that if everything we did in our cities was great for an 8 year old and an 80 year old it would be great for all people. Amanda was a key architect of the 8 80 concept, and has been instrumental in the growth of the organization over the last 10 years. She has worked on several public realm improvement projects across North America, Europe, Australia and Mexico.
Creating an age-friendly public realm
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam has an extensive career investing in the City of Toronto through both the public and private sectors. Her contributions have led to the development and support of numerous social planning programs, business ventures, art endeavours and successful community initiatives.As a tireless community advocate, Councillor Wong-Tam has championed for the expansion of green public spaces, farmers’ markets, community gardens including improvements to parks and ravines. She has led efforts to defend the rights of tenants to obtain affordable and decent standards of rental housing and helped create a neighbourhood association to preserve and protect heritage buildings and historical landscapes in the ward. Councillor Wong-Tam continues to be a champion for sustainable living and environmental health and plays a vital role in ensuring the vibrancy of our city and its economic and social development.
Minaz is Park People’s Manager of Outreach. She works with communities across the City to help them animate their parks and green spaces. She manages the TD Park Builders program, a micro-grant program for marginalized communities. Prior to working at Park People, Minaz worked as a Live Green Toronto Community Animator helping engage citizens across North York take environmental action. The program was part of the City of Toronto’s strategy to meet aggressive targets for reducing greenhouse gas and smog causing emissions. Minaz started her career as a Waste coordinator at the (North) Toronto Green Community, the non-profit organization that brought North America’s first wind turbine to Toronto as well as launching Toronto’s first car-sharing company, Autoshare. She went on to become Executive Director launching seven new programs and coordinating six others ranging from community gardens, stewardship, energy, water, climate change, transportation and waste. Minaz has a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo.
Dorothea is the Toronto Chapter Leader for Cycling without Age. Cycling without Age is is a movement started in 2012 by Ole Kassow. Ole wanted to help the elderly get back on their bicycles, but he had to find a solution to their limited mobility. The answer was a trishaw and he started offering free bike rides to the local nursing home residents.He then got in touch with a civil society consultant from the City of Copenhagen, Dorthe Pedersen (now Cycling Without Age), who was intrigued by the idea and together they bought the first 5 trishaws and launched Cycling Without Age, which has now spread to all corners of Denmark, and since 2015 to another 33 countries around the world.
Cracks in a sidewalk, long wait times for buses, or streets without benches are inconvenient for everyone, but can severely limit the freedom of mobility for older adults, young children, caregivers with strollers, or people with mobility devices. When we design a streetscape to accommodate resting places for older adults with benches and shade, we create inviting public spaces for everyone to enjoy. When we create walkable and bikeable cities for all ages and abilities we create opportunities for all people to enjoy the public life of the city. At its core, engaging older adults in city building is about extending the freedom of mobility and the accessibility of public spaces for everyone
Four panelists will outline concrete ideas on how to create an age-friendly public realm.
- 8 80 Cities speaks to engaging the older adults in city building and global best practices on creating age-friendly public spaces
- Councillor Wong-Tam speaks to the Sidewalks for All initiative, the importance of creating senior friendly pedestrian spaces, and her work as chair of the Disability, Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee
- Park People speak to creating parks and green spaces that meet the needs of an aging population (or any other specific ideas you have on older adults and parks)
- Cycling Without Age speaks to how cycling can be made more age friendly
Presenter 1 Abstract (8 80 Cities, Amanda O’Rourke)
Cities around the world are ageing. Globally, the number of older persons (aged 60 years or over) is expected to more than double, from 841 million people in 2013 to more than 2 billion in 2050. The challenges of our population ageing are significant but not insurmountable. This trend presents new opportunities as people live longer, healthier lives. Our organization, 8 80 Cities has worked in cities around the world tackling this issue and is committed to transforming cities into places that support ageing in place and reduce social isolation by improving the built environment and public realm. We will present key principles for “unconventional engagement” which looks outside the outdated model of 7pm meetings at city hall and identifies key practices for creating a more inclusive city building process that ensure the needs of our most vulnerable citizens, including seniors have a voice in decision-making processes. In our work in over 200 cities, over the last 10 years we will also highlight best practices on creating an age-friendly public realm.
Presenter 2 Abstract (City of Toronto, Councillor Wong-Tam)
Toronto City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam is a long-time advocate for progressive government and inclusive city-building. She is a political champion for many innovative programs, including Toronto’s largest free recreation program Open Streets TO, the comprehensive road safety plan Vision Zero, and most recently, Sidewalks For All, a coalition of accessibly advocates and organizations working to create a more walkable and accessible Toronto for all residents. They advocate for a minimum sidewalk width that enables families, parents with strollers, seniors, those using mobility devices, wheelchairs, and caregivers with children or elderly adults to move safely on city sidewalks.
Councillor Wong-Tam will speak to the challenges of advancing an age-friendly agenda in a conservative political environment, both in regards to the Sidewalks for All campaign, as well more general challenges she has encountered in her role as Chair of the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee. NOW Magazine readers voted Councillor Wong-Tam, Best City Councillor for three years in a row.
Presenter 3 Abstract (Park People, Minaz Asani-Kanji)
Park People supports and mobilizes people to help them activate the power of parks to improve quality of life in cities across Canada. With seven years of experience and network building in Toronto and four years in underserved communities through the Sparking Change Program, Park People creates change by inspiring leaders, reducing social isolation and building inclusive communities. Studies in North America find that older adults use parks the least even though being outdoors, meeting people and physical activity improves their health and reduces social isolation. The study found that small changes have found big results. Park People partners with social service agencies to offer funding and programming for older adults in parks and green spaces. This has included two levels; bringing existing indoor programming outdoors and creating new outdoor programming for older adults including guided nature walks in ravines, clean ups and growing community and native plant gardens.
Presenter 4 Abstract (Cycling without Age, Dorothea Torrico)
Cycling Without Age is a movement started in 2012 by Ole Kassow. Ole wanted to help the elderly get back on their bicycles, but he had to find a solution to their limited mobility. The answer was a trishaw and he started offering free bike rides to the local nursing home residents. He then got in touch with a civil society consultant from the City of Copenhagen, Dorthe Pedersen (now Cycling Without Age), who was intrigued by the idea and together they bought the first 5 trishaws and launched Cycling Without Age, which has now spread to all corners of Denmark, and since 2015 to another 33 countries around the world. We dream of creating a world together, in which the access to active citizenship creates happiness among our fellow elderly citizens by providing them with an opportunity to remain an active part of society and the local community. We do that by giving them the right to wind in their hair, the right to experience the city and nature close up from the bicycle and by giving them an opportunity to
tell their story in the environment where they have lived their lives. That way we build bridges between generations and we reinforce trust, respect and the social glue in our society