Question posed: How might we design community spaces for low-income people in Parkdale, allowing them to gather without having to make purchases, and feel at home?

Stage 1: Analyze + Synthesize
Target audience: Youth

Stage 2: Concept

Stage 3: Storyboards

Name: Emilio
Age: 17
Cultural Background: Caribbean

Emilio is a 17 year old first-generation Canadian- Caribbean student that currently attends Parkdale Collegiate Institute. His family lives above and owns Ali's West Indian Roti shop located on Queen Street West just around the corner from his high school. His family wishes for more customers to visit the restaurant, as they have been experiencing a decline as the year's pass. He helps his parents at the restaurant during the evenings which means he has free time right after school. Emilio spends this time volunteering with the Youth Paint Parkdale program at the public library steps away from his home. Although Emilio enjoys painting he finds himself wanting to engage in art projects that helps him connect to his culture.

Over the years, Emilio has begun missing his friends as many of them faced the impacts of gentrification. As a result, they were forced to move out of the community, leaving him to feel quite lonely. Emilio wishes that he could interact with more of the Parkdale Youth, especially outside of school. He feels as if he's losing the community that holds importance to him, yet finds himself unable to do anything about it.

Name: Tenzin
Age: 15
Cultural Background: Tibetan

Tenzin, a 15-year-old first-generation Canadian- Tibetan student currently attends Parkdale Collegiate Institute. She commutes to school every day from further west, arriving through the streetcar. Her family used to be Parkdale residents but have since had to move due to the increased rent prices. Therefore, Tenzin finds herself wanting to leave Parkdale as the school day ends since she doesn’t feel a sense of belonging. Her love for gardening began when she lived in Parkdale, although now her only time to participate in the activity is during her school’s greenhouse SHSM course. She tries to continue the hobby at home but, ultimately feels limited due to the lack of space. Tenzin longs for a place to visit her school friends that live in the community, however, she is unable to find an interactive space to gather. Every day, as she walks through the park on her way to the bus stop, she longs for a reason to stay.

Stage 4: Piloting Process

  • Laneways have the potential to act as inviting, educational and social spaces
  • Greenery can be invited into these spaces to enhance mental and physical health
  • Provided that spaces are of ample size, gardens can be implemented and follow similar initiatives as the Milky Way Community

Beside the Local Market which is an organic food store - relation in program corner condition: traffic

Beside Parkdale Collegiate Institute (potential to act as social space for students)


  • Adjacent to an art gallery
  • Close to the public library which is an existing community gathering space
  • On Queens St W: lots of traffic
  • Dollarama being one of the largest stores in the surrounding area would be somewhere that attracts youth


Building upon the existing infrastructure of the site and revitalizing spaces
Consider sidewalk paving, lighting, greenery, etc.

  • Strong programming: library, ESL classes, home to Milky Way Garden
  • Building doesn't seem suitable to fit these needs, lacking an inviting feeling
  • Could be revitalized

  • Social gathering space

Toronto Metropolitan Department of  Architectural Science Toronto, CA.