Organizing Strategies

A Conversation with Anarchist Free University, Multistory Complex and Planning Action

Part of A Potential Toronto
Initiated by Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry (TSCI)
More info: www.t-sci.ca

Thursday, 1 November
7:30pm

Toronto Free Gallery
660 Queen Street East (w. of Broadview)

Actualizing potential requires practicing the art of organization. How do we do what needs to get done? What strategies for mobilization and community involvement work? What blocks the flows of these strategies and diminishes the potential to get things done? Anarchist Free University, Multistory Complex, and Planning Action talk about how they organize and why they do it the way they do it.

Anarchist Free University is a Toronto based Free University and volunteer-run collective which organizes a variety of courses on arts and sciences. Anarchist U is run using various anarchist principles. These principles include consensus decision-making, decentralized organizing, and a non-hierarchical structure in classes and meetings. Teachers are seen as resources of knowledge rather than as authoritarian figures. There is no single street address for the school; rather different classes and meetings take place in different community centres and homes throughout the city.

Multistory Complex aims to democratize urban planning processes through public education and engagement in urban planning issues and decision-making. Multistory Complex facilitates citizen engagement through education, community-based action research, collaborative policy, planning and design initiatives, and partnership building. Taking an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to these issues, Multistory Complex works with social service agencies and community groups, artists’ and other worker collectives, cultural organizations, architects, planners, educators and researchers to encourage innovative planning practice and increase public engagement in planning issues and decision making . Current and recent projects include Street Food Vending Project, Mobile Studios, and condo BOOM!

Planning Action is a group of urban planners, architects and activists who work with diverse communities of Toronto struggling against economic, cultural, and ecological injustice to open spaces for people to imagine, transform, and enjoy the city. Planning Action collaboratively promotes social and environmental justice by planning for affordable housing, food, public transportation, public space, accessible education and recreation for all residents and workers of the city. Most recently, The Amazing Race Place is a collaboration between several community organizations that aims to build a progressive sense of place and cultivate local citizenship in the Kingston-Galloway-Orton Park community. In 2007, its inaugural year, local area residents embarked on one-day scavenger hunt for local history.The event connected the present day community with local social history. It highlighted significant people, places and events in South East Scarborough, and celebrated efforts to build greater equity, justice and environmental sustainability.

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