Is Toronto “youth-friendly?” Maximum City creates and tests a Youth Score Index and Survey Tool

Lassonde building entrance
Maximum City youth arrive at UofT (photo: T. Romancyshyn)

UTTRI hosted a visit Tuesday, July 18 from our iCity-ORF partners Maximum City and Esri. They brought along 25 young people; together, they used UofT computer lab facilities at the Lassonde Mining Building all afternoon.

Long shot of audience and speaker
Josh Fullan, Maximum City founder and director, speaks to the group at UofT (photo: T. Romancyshyn)
seated in lab
Esri gives introductory remarks (photo: T. Romancyshyn)

That afternoon spent in the computer lab was part of a summer camp project at Maximum City. Junior and senior campers from Toronto, Beijing, and Hong Kong developed and tested a Youth Score Index and Survey Tool to assess the youth-friendliness of streets and neighbourhoods. The students came up with the variables and weights for the Index with some expert guidance.

seated at computers
Students learn new software (photo: T. Romancyshyn)

Next, they will conduct field research and collect data in five Toronto neighourhoods.

The results of the survey will be shared, and training of educators in the use of the tool is planned for 2017-2018 with the help of the iCity team.

iCity: Urban Informatics for Sustainable Metropolitan Growth and its work is funded by the Ontario Research Fund-Research Excellence (ORF-RE). iCity is a “virtual lab” for urban design in which “big” new datasets are combined with powerful simulation and visualization capabilities to address first-order problems in improving urban transportation system performance and designing efficient, sustainable, high quality of life cities. The iCity research platform is a co-creation of a team of multidisciplinary researchers, including transportation engineers, urban planners, computer scientists and experts in digital media.

Maximum City is a youth outreach partner of UTTRI through the iCity research project. We work together to develop and deliver curriculum to youth. Our program connected with 500 students in its first year. Maximum City also works with schools, governments, and communities and trains teachers to deliver its hands-on city-building and environmental challenges to their students.