York University in partnership with the local community has entered a grassroots project in the Aviva Community Fund annual competition. If the project wins, it will provide funding to design and create sustainable furniture for the future Centre for Green Change in the Jane-Finch neighbourhood.
The most popular ideas win and voting has already begun. To vote, click here. You can cast a new vote every day, from now until Oct. 15.
The initiative is a partnership between York’s Institute for Research & Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS) and the Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre, with support from Sustainability@York. The new centre’s furniture will be designed and crafted by community members with help from York students and faculty, as well as local artists, craft workers and furniture makers. Using sustainable design principles and recovered or recycled materials, community members will both furnish their new centre and acquire valuable skills.
The centre at 2999 Jane St. will house the growing environmental education and green employment programs of the Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre’s Green Change Project, serving one of Toronto’s most ethno-racially diverse and marginalized communities.
“We also hope to develop this community-engaged design process into a more regular program wherein local designers are hired to mentor residents in sustainable design and help produce additional pieces for the Centre for Green Change,” says Annette Dubreuil, IRIS coordinator.
Planning is underway for two sustainable furniture design/build workshops with community members, with the first taking place Monday, Oct. 15, from 6 to 9pm in Room 2 of the Driftwood Community Centre. Each workshop will empower 40 to 50 local residents to conceive creative solutions to the centre’s custom furniture needs, as identified at earlier brainstorming events, such as a casual bench for the reception area or a harvest table for the community kitchen.
“We plan to use salvaged, refurbished or reused materials for 80 to 90 per cent of the furniture construction, and to source the remaining materials locally and/or according to the environmental guidelines generated by the project partners,” says Dubreuil. “In this way, we will reduce our waste and demand for virgin materials, thereby reducing the centre’s ecological impacts and financial costs.”
The overall result of this project will be a collaborative vision of the future Centre for Green Change – designed for the community by the community.
Each finalist in the Aviva Community Fund competition will receive a minimum of $5,000. One idea out of each of the three categories – small, medium and large – will receive funding. The judges will select the grand prize winners through ranking, funding and scoring – impact, likelihood of success, longevity and sustainability, originality, submission quality and number of votes. There is also the Broker prize and At-Risk-Youth prize each worth up to $150,000. If there is money left over, other finalists will be funded until $1 million has been allocated.