Common Stories: Mouse City at Cloverdale

Posted on: July 23, 2019

When I started my Master of Planning, I started to do some work with Small Print Toronto.

Small Print operates a variety of programs focused on children and storytelling for kids up to 12 years old.  Mouse City is specifically tailored to talking with kids about living in cities – the things that they experience as well as their ideas about what would make their city great to live in.

This Mouse City activation is perfect for The Common because it provides an opportunity for kids to see what’s being proposed for their community.  Kids are often not represented very well in planning decisions, and the opportunity to hear what they have to say is a positive exercise promoting kids’ involvement in city building.  It’s an engaging experience for adults as well.

We always include a little bit of context on the map they start with. In this case, we had a little bit of green space.  It’s interesting to see how kids intrinsically understand the value behind major natural features in the landscape, whether they are green spaces or waterfront.  On June 22, we saw kids creating a lot of houses and apartments, play structures, and a community centre that has a pool, basketball court and ice rink, as well as a lobby with nice art inside of it.  It’s powerful when we see what kids think of as valuable and where they might want to live.  This fictional city example was successful because we met the characteristics of a complete community; we have places where people can go, like community centres and shops, we have places where people can live, and we have access to transit.

I love the opportunity to chat with communities about how planning decisions are made, in my full time and volunteer work.  It’s fun getting kids involved in the process and we’ve had a great crew.

~ Alexandaer Furneaux, Director of Urban Planning Education at Small Print Toronto and resident of the Danforth neighbourhood.

Common Stories is a monthly blog series that will bring you people’s stories, told at the Cloverdale Common.  The Common is the designated space within the mall created to seek the community’s input regarding the proposed Cloverdale redevelopment.  Visit us in the North end of the mall and let us know your thoughts and visions for the future of Cloverdale.