City and Ryerson University partner to create ShapeLab

The City of Toronto and Ryerson University have partnered to create ShapeLab: Toronto’s Innovation and Co-Creation Pilot. ShapeLab is a hands-on learning opportunity in which students, municipal staff, faculty members and other professionals co-create innovative solutions to Toronto’s pressing urban issues.

As a new pilot program, ShapeLab’s inaugural city-building initiative will be the King Street Transit Pilot area. The ShapeLab initiative encourages Ryerson students to shape public space along King Street through citizen engagement and by creating opportunities for a more interactive and vibrant streetscape. The resulting public space installations are meant to complement those that will be installed as a result of the already announced “Everyone is King” campaign.

“A partnership like this that provides academic and professional development for students while improving public space is a win-win for the city and for the neighbourhoods along King Street,” said Mayor John Tory. “The students will be challenged to create streetscape enhancements that encourage people to engage with and make good use of the public space along King, while at the same time understanding the real-life challenges of designing for Toronto’s streets.”

The initiative invites all Ryerson students and graduates to submit their ideas for public activations at a Design Challenge that takes place in March, in which four interdisciplinary student teams will be selected to participate in the 2018 ShapeLab and move their ideas into action.

Each winning team will be awarded a $1,000 prize and receive up to $4,000 for the design, fabrication and installation of their activations along King Street.

Prior to installing the temporary activations, students in the ShapeLab will be mentored by industry experts, City staff and Ryerson faculty members. Participants will develop practical skills by participating in an intensive design boot camp, and prototyping and testing their concepts. The winning activations will be revealed at the end of June and will be accessible to the public for two months.

“ShapeLab is a perfect embodiment of Ryerson’s experiential learning mission: equipping 21st century students with opportunities to turn ideas into action while building community and the city,” says Dr. Michael Benarroch, Ryerson’s Provost and Vice-President Academic. “This initiative is at the heart of Ryerson’s commitment to city building and innovative learning methodologies for our students.”

ShapeLab is open to Ryerson undergraduate and graduate students, as well as to recent alumni. Interested individuals can register at The deadline to register is March 11, 2018.

ShapeLab was conceptualized by the City’s Planning Division and Ryerson University’s Offices of Social Innovation and Community Engagement. Additional partners include the City’s Transportation Services Division, Ryerson’s Design Fabrication Zone, Ryerson’s City Building Institute, Ryerson’s Faculty of Community Services, Ryerson’s Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science, DIALOG, and Fotenn Consultants.

For additional information please contact Ryerson’s Office of Social Innovation at @Innovate_RU (using #ShapeTO) or

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