Block Captains, a collaborative initiative of Evergreen CityWorks and archiTEXT with support from the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, is designed to support citizen-led policy conversations in order to directly influence decision-making in the city. The initiative hopes to capture the rich conversations on critical issues that happen in micro-catchments of neighborhoods - at the human scale - when neighbors walk their dogs, sweep their front porches, or run into each other on the street. The pilot of the Block Captains program hopes to engage with and leverage the richness of these conversations and enable citizens (you!) to share these conversations, questions, and ideas with decision makers.
Block Captains aims to reach citizens where they reside while recognizing, embracing, and leveraging the inherent messiness involved in civic dialogue.
The program aims to create a “citizen infrastructure” to document local, human-scale conversations on policy issues. Each city block across Toronto will be divided into smaller micro-catchments of 3-5 houses. This means that a single city block will have multiple Block Captains. Each Block Captain engages in a training with Evergreen CityWorks and archiTEXT to develop a set of tools and tips on hosting local conversations on policy issues, and will be an integral part of a co-design process to create a feedback mechanism to share the content of the conversations. As this program grows, we hope to have the Block Captains train their neighbors to grow this network of conversations.
Engage citizens with their neighbours and build relationships
Connect neighbourhoods across the GTA
Build a mechanism through which policy issues can be directly discussed by all citizens
Create the conditions for deeper understanding of civic issues
Empower citizen voice by sharing local insights directly with policy makers
Leverage existing social infrastructure in neighborhoods