Report back: Towards a New Kind of City, with Ken Greenberg

June 1, 2020 by Cecelia Pye

Towards a New Kind of City: A Conversation on resilience and adaptation with Ken Greenberg

We hope you had the opportunity to attend our latest event, “Towards a New Kind of City”. This conversation with Ken Greenberg was led by new grad Melinda Yogendran and SofC’s Interim Director Matti Siemiatycki. The discussion highlighted the need to adopt new practices for building better, more equitable cities. Panelists shared the importance of inclusion in policy making, incremental and radical change, and the value of citizen planners in city building.

This Spring, Ken Greenberg was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Toronto. With convocations cancelled, he published his passionate convocation speech, illustrating a message of hope for new graduates to seize the baton and use this crisis to move us to a better place.

Key Takeaways

Melinda Yodengran – "Reducing all kinds of precarity for people should be a priority. Instead of taking the traditional routes of fixing things, we need to think differently. From the big ideas, we need to get a granular understanding of how we can make a difference."

Ken Greenberg – "There is great value in conversation and the wisdom of the crowd. The greatest mistake of planners is going into neighbourhoods and assuming tabula rasa (blank slate) and that there is nothing of value; we must start with what already exists in communities, no matter how small, and tap into local resources. That is how you achieve continuity."

Melinda Yodengran – "Planners should support community driven projects and policies and provide support that seeks to reduce all levels of precarity…There is value in incremental change but given the strange but opportune times we live in now, there is more space for radical transformation."

Ken Greenberg – [advice to new graduates] "This seems like a terrible moment to graduate, but on the other hand it's exciting as all the cards are flying in the air and there are lots of possibilities of trying things have opened up. Be bold and don't be afraid to try things."

A full recording of the event can be found here: