Archive for: Design + Strategy

Winnipeg Urbanist Meetup

Are you an urbanist? Do you spend time dreaming of all the ways that Winnipeg could transform itself into a more vibrant, sustainable and open city?

Are you inspired by the creative and innovative approaches to city building that happen in other cities and want to be apart of building a movement here in Winnipeg?

The Winnipeg Urbanist Meetup is a monthly gathering of civic-minded individuals who come together to share ideas and collaborate on new initiatives that inspire positive urban change. We are building a community of creative citizens who want to re-imagine Winnipeg and you are invited!

Past meetups

Urban Wayfinding Talk + Walk

Have you ever navigated an unfamiliar place such as a foreign city, airport terminal or mall? Chances are, wayfinding helped you get around. Wayfinding includes maps and signs, symbols and icons, landmarks and other design elements that help people find their way.

On Saturday September 20th the Edmonton Wayfinding Project was in town for the Winnipeg Design Festival to lead a public talk and walk looking at wayfinding in our downtown.


The Edmonton Wayfinding Project (EWP) is a citizen-led design action group that is working to improve pedestrian wayfinding culture and infrastructure in Edmonton. Now in it’s second year, the project has organized a number of exhibitions and public events to engage Edmontonians in a broad conversation about the importance of good pedestrian wayfinding in the urban core. Working in partnership with the City of Edmonton, the EWS helped develop and launch a wayfinding prototype inspired by the Legible London system. This summer the EWS is undertaking a research project looking at how people use (and get lost in) Edmonton’s pedway system with the aim to contribute valuable user experience research to the City’s ongoing wayfinding strategy.
This engaging workshop will take to the streets with a walk looking at past and present wayfinding infrastructure in Winnipeg, and invite
conversation about future wayfinding trends and issues.


The workshop began with a presentation from the Edmonton Wayfinding Project sharing their story of working with the City of Edmonton on pedestrian wayfinding research, design and advocacy over the last year.

The walk (centred around Graham and Portage Avenue) was punctuated with stops along the route highlighting past and present wayfinding infrastructure in Winnipeg and inviting dialogue about future wayfinding trends and issues. Guest contributors included Diane Roussin, executive director of Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre; Constantina Douvris from HTFC Planning & Design; Sussanne Dewey-Povoledo, Planner with the City of Winnipeg; Harry Finnigan, consultant and former head of Planning at the City of WInnipeg; Tom Janzen from CentreVenture; Blair Helgason, principal of Guppy Design; Mascilline Hama from Transit Winnipeg; Tricia Wasney, manager of the Public Art program at the Winnipeg Arts Council.




Photos by @wayfindYEG

Rethinking Libraries for the 21st Century

The Winnipeg Urbanist Meetup is going to the library! We’re partnering with the Winnipeg Public Library as part of their Inspiring Ideas forum to imagine new models for libraries in the 21st century!


Libraries around the world are innovating their services and programs: from small-business incubators, tool lending programs, 3D printers, maker-spaces, new media labs and so much more! Libraries have never been more important as civic and cultural centres in cities than today. 

Join us on Thursday June 26th at the the Millennium Library (5-8pm) where we will hear about these new innovations and help the Winnipeg Public Library innovate for the future!

Our meetup discussions and activities will centre around the following four areas:

1. Collections: What collections and resources are important to you?
2. Programs: How can library programs meet community needs?
3. Space and Services: How can space and services be reinvented to meet community needs?
4. Community and Social Opportunities: What role can the library play in creating opportunities for all Winnipeggers?


We will also be joined by Monica Giesbrecht, a landscape architect with HTFC Planning and Design who will give a tour and talk about the redesigned Millennium Library plaza. Tricia Wasney, Manager of Public Art at the Winnipeg Arts Council will talk about the public art work in the park, emptyful by Bill Pechet and Sentinel of Truth by Darren Stebeleski.

* We will be meeting on the second floor of the Millennium Library, off to the (west) side where all the reading chairs and tables are located. *

Join our Facebook page at

Banner photo by Trevor. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Creative Placemaking Design Jam


Do you have an idea for a creative installation or activity that could transform the underused and unique alleys and dray ways (service alleys) in the West Exchange District? 

Join us on Friday May 30th at the 3rd Winnipeg Urbanist Meetup for a DESIGN JAM where we will brainstorm, design, sketch, model and develop ideas to submit to the Winnipeg Arts Council’s Creative Placemaking Challenge.

About the Creative Placemaking Challenge

The Winnipeg Arts Council and Urban Idea are inviting the public to design temporary installations and creative activities to animate the alleys of the West Exchange this summer! They have announced a Creative Placemaking Challenge and are inviting YOU to submit proposals for the chance to win up to $1500 to implement your creative project. As many as 10 projects could be selected and all projects will be installed/executed for one day on August 15, 2014.

What is a Design Jam?

Similar to developer hack days, Design Jams bring together people from different disciplines for an intensive afternoon of ideation and creative problem solving.


It all starts with a challenge—a compelling issue to be tackled. Everyone in the room brings their unique skills and diverse perspectives together into teams to generate innovative and practical solutions to the challenge.

In a few short hours, participants work through a creative process that starts with brainstorming, moves through concept development, prototyping (sketching, model making, etc.) and concludes with the presentation of final ideas and solutions. 

Design Jam Schedule

5:15pm     Welcome + Introduction
5:30pm     Site visit to the alleys and dray ways
6:00pm     Brainstorming
6:45pm     Idea Pitch + Group formation
7:15pm     Concept development
8:00pm     Prototyping (sketching, modelling)
8:45pm     Team presentations  

We’ll have an assortment of essential art materials, but if you have art supplies that you can’t live without (markers, pencils, notebooks, etc), please bring them. Laptops are encouraged and there will be WiFi. 

This Design Jam is independently organized by the Winnipeg Urbanist Meetup and is not an official event of the Winnipeg Arts Council or Urban Idea.

All ideas and concepts generated at the Design Jam belong to the participants. It’s up to you and the people you collaborate with at the workshop to decide what happens after the Jam and if you want to submit your proposal the Winnipeg Arts Council’s placemaking challenge.

Everyone is Welcome to Attend! 

The Winnipeg Urbanist Meetup Design Jam is for anyone with an interest in the creative process, art and design, and collaborating with other creative and civic minded folks to generate new ideas. Expertise or design skills are not required, but an interest in creating positive urban change is!  

The Design Jam is FREE and OPEN to the public, anyone is welcome to participate. RSVP is requested, but not required. Email Matt Carreau at

* Banner photo by Steven McCullough

* First photo in post by Trevor Dykstra. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Pedestrian Friendly Urban Design

On Friday April 25th, join us once again for the 2nd edition of the monthly Winnipeg Urbanist Meetup. This time around we are partnering with Jane’s Walk for conversation about pedestrian friendly urban design, mobility and accessibility issues in Winnipeg.


Join us on Friday April 25th at La Maison des artstes (219 Provencher) from 5-8pm to hear three exceptional local community leaders share their insights and stories about making Winnipeg a more accessible city.

Presenters will include Jomar Manzano, co-chair of the Downtown Community Residents Association and a civil engineer in training with a passion for transit and universal urban design will be presenting a pecha-kucha style talk. Andre Clement, owner of Cafe Postal, will be talking about efforts to reclaim Provencher as a vital boulevard with a focus on pedestrians, and Karina Cardona will present findings from her research into the construction and experience of impaired mobility in Winnipeg, offering lessons that can be applied to address multiple forms of systemic oppression.

Join our Facebook event and like our page.

* Banner photo by Steve McCullough 
Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC 2.0)

iconnipeg: Drawing the City from A to Z

Title: iconnipeg: Drawing the City from A to Z
Project Scope: Series of design workshops that invite the public to design graphic symbols that visually communicate local civic concepts
Location/Year: Winnipeg, Manitoba. 2013 – 2014
Sponsors: Manitoba Start, the Winnipeg Arts Council, Winnipeg Design Festival, Martha Street Studio


When you think of Winnipeg, what iconic symbols and experiences come to mind? Inspired by the NounProject and Iconathon events in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, iconnipeg is a series of public design workshop that invites the public to design graphic symbols that visually communicate local civic concepts.

The objective of the workshop was to have a conversation about how we see ourselves as a city—what we value, what inspires or enrages us—in a way that is creative, collaborative and fun! iconnipeg asks participants to look beyond the obvious and clichéd symbols of Winnipeg, to represent the everyday, enigmatic and under-celebrated parts of our urban experience in iconic form.


The first phase of iconnipeg was hosted on September 21st 2013 in conjunction with the Winnipeg Design Festival. Participants were engaged in a creative design process that included brainstorming, symbol prototyping and design production to create icons. A stamp making workshop led by Martha Street Studio and a digital illustration 101 workshop led by Rylaan Gimby supported participation from a broad range skills and abilities. Guest speakers includeding Colin Neufeld from 5468796 Architecture and former icograda president Robert Peters.


In 2014, iconnipeg was re-imagined as a mobile “pop-up” installation and workshop that set up at locations and events over the course of the 2014 Design Festival. The pop-up displayed 26 fully realized vector icons–one for each letter of the alphabet–to demonstrate the project concept and to help inspire the public. The pop-up was constructed out of cardboard boxes with applied vinyl and laser-cut sheet cardboard and foam core. The panel included instructions inviting the public to sketch their own icons using the sticky-notes provided. The iconnipeg pop-up was featured in the lobby of Red River College, the Millennium Library, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery as part of the 10x20x20 event.

Photo no.1 by Justin Ladia


Framework for Interdisciplinary Collaboration at Richardson College for the Environment

Title: Framework for Interdisciplinary Collaboration at Richardson College for the Environment
Project Scope:
Location/Year: Winnipeg, Manitoba. 2013
Collaborators: Terry Duguid


Working as a Research Assistant at the University of Winnipeg, I was engaged as a consultant to propose a framework for spurring greater levels of interdisciplinary collaboration and community-based research at the Richardson College for the Environment. The framework presented below is based on the Constellation Model for Collaborative Social Change pioneered by the Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and the Environment, and Tonya Surman, Director of the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto:

Inspired by complexity theory, the constellation model emphasizes the role of small, self-organizing action groups working together on a particular task or issue. The model is distinguished by three features: Constellations, a Stewardship Group, and a third-party Secretariat.

Constellations take the form of clusters of activity in which partners voluntarily participate. They can be formal projects, opportunistic initiatives or working groups. Clusters become active when a group of partners decides to work on a particular issue. When there is low energy or declining opportunity, a constellation can become inactive without impacting negatively on the overall partnership. Constellations flow from opportunism, not from a rigid strategic plan. This makes it possible to balance the interests and needs of each group within the broader goal of highly productive collaboration. (Excerpt from the model)


Title: Backspace
Project Scope: Team project submitted in contribution to the UrbanIxD Summer School
Location/Year: Split, Croatia. 2013
Collaborators: Olga Surawska, Niels Wouters


Backspace is a design fiction product and scenario developed as a final project at the 2013 UrbanIxD Summer School. The UrbanIxD Summer School is part of a two-year European Union sponsored project exploring critical issues at the intersection of design, technology and the urban environment. Taking place in Split, Croatia, the Summer School brought together an international group of 40 young creative professionals for 10 days of applied design workshops, lectures and professional development events.

Backspace is a device for urban data explorers. Worn as a backpack – a universal symbol of the wanderer and dreamer – Backspace is outfitted withadvanced technology that enables anyone who is in its vicinity to embed stories and memories into the urban environment.

Layered over time, these memories paint a vivid picture of human experience that stands in contrast to the seamless and frictionless vision of the datafied ‘smart city.’

Backspace is a provocative design proposal that imagines a future scenario where technology enables citizens to intentionally disrupt or ‘glitch’ the urban landscape and thereby reclaim the city as a site for human interaction and expression.

Urban Idea White Paper

Title: Urban Idea White Paper
Location/Year: Winnipeg, 2012
Role: Research, writing, design


The Urban Idea White Paper was commissioned by the Winnipeg Arts Council (WAC) to provide a body of research, analysis and recommendations to help WAC explore options and make informed decisions about the future of the Urban Idea Centre.

Over the course of three months I consulted with dozens of Winnipeggers, including former Urban Idea board members, respected colleagues in the fields of art, architecture, design, and community development; reviewed archival materials about Urban Idea; considered the historic, organisational, cultural and policy context framing the discussion about the future of Urban Idea; and finally extracted insights and synthesized lessons into a framework and recommendations that the Winnipeg Arts Council and others can use to unlock hidden opportunity, promote citizen engagement in city building, and spark urban innovation in the years ahead.

Read the Urban Idea White Paper

COLAB: A Change Lab for Markham

Title: COLAB: A Change Lab for Markham
Project Scope: Strategic Plan for an inter-departmental collaboration and innovation lab for the City of Markham. Developed and as the final project towards post-graduate studies at the Institute without Boundaries.
Location/Year: Toronto, 2012
Role: Writer, editor. Developed the Old Kennedy Road case study, strategic design direction.
Collaborators: Asma Khanani-Caporaletti, Dana Seguin, Nikki Hsiao Chi Shih, Raymundo Pavan Gutierrez

The 2012 City Systems team proposed a forward looking strategy for its client partner the City of Markham. Students proposed COLAB, a laboratory for inter-departmental collaboration and problem solving within the municipality. COLAB draws on the resources of the municipality, the dynamism of the private sector and the wisdom of the community to research, design, develop and prototype innovative solutions for 21st century urban challenges. In this proposal, students demonstrate the usefulness and suitability of the “change-lab” model for confronting complex urban-scale issues by highlighting the year’s work, explaining the key insights that lead to this proposal, and outlining the requirements, processes and strategies necessary to establish COLAB within Markham. Two case studies are presented as models illustrating how a functioning COLAB would use design innovation to tackle small and large scale main street revitalization.

Photography by Nikki Shih

View the complete proposal


Design and Layout by Nikki Shih

OPEN TOWN Civic Literacy Toolkit

Title: OPEN TOWN Civic Literacy Toolkit
Project Scope: A toolkit to help citizens of Markham explore, understand and engage with the municipal process. Submitted as a final project at the Institute without Boundaries.
Location/Year: Toronto, 2012
Role: Lead concept development, design
Advisors: Chris Pandolfi (Department of Unusual Certainties), Susan Speigel, Fiona Lim Tung

The OPEN TOWN Civic Literacy Toolkit has been designed to help citizens explore, understand and engage with the Markham municipal process. Using the format of flash cards, the toolkit breaks down complex municipal concepts and functions into simple language and clear diagrams. Citizens will find the toolkit accessible and educators are encouraged to use these cards to find creative ways to incorporate civic concepts into the classroom. Topics covered include the basic structure of town council, how the municipal processes like zoning, planning and waste management function, and explain how citizens can make change at the city.

Manitoba Social Innovation Stories Project

Title: Manitoba Social Innovation Stories Project
Project Scope: A blog and online conversation about social innovation in Manitoba’s non-profit sector.
Location/Year: Toronto, 2012
Role: Project Coordinator; Writer; Editor.
Collaborators: Canadian Non-Profit Innovators Network, Manitoba Federation of Non-Profit Organizations

The Manitoba Social Innovation Stories Project was an initiative of the Manitoba Federation of Non-Profit Organizations in partnership with the Canadian Non-Profit Innovators Network. This network is made up of a number of non-profit sector organizations across Canada who are each exploring the role of social innovation in the non-profit world through a different lens. In Manitoba, our contribution to this national conversation paid special attention to the ways in which non-profits are doing innovative work around inter-generational cooperation. As the Winnipeg regional coordinator for the Canadian Non-Profit Innovators Network, I was responsible for overseeing a web-based project to engage leaders in Manitoba’s non-profit sector in a conversation about social innovation. I planned and developed a blog to publish stories about Manitoba-based social innovations, interviews with non-profit leaders and I contributed essays with commentary and analysis.

Reflection Paper

Whitehorse Foodbank Fundraising Strategy

Title: Whitehorse Foodbank Fundraising Strategy
Project Scope: A fundraising and communications strategy designed designed for the Whitehorse Foodbank.
Location/Year: Whitehorse, 2010
Role: Project lead; Graphic Design


This communications strategy was developed as part of my final project in the Multimedia Communications program at Yukon College. Students partnered with a non-profit organization in the community to design a comprehensive communications strategy. I partnered with the Whitehorse Foodbank and created a promotional campaign to help them with their 2010 fundraising campaign. The campaign strategy developed a post-card mail out with messaging encouraging the public to consider an annual donation amounting to 33 cents/day. The design used typographic and visual language of the old style grocery store and product branding.

1-6. Illustration by Matthew Carreau

Client Situation Analysis

Old Kennedy Road Revitalization Strategy

Title: Old Kennedy Road Revitalization Strategy
Project Scope: A strategic revitalization proposal for Old Kennedy Road in Markham. Developed as part of the Main Streets of Markham international design charrette, and submitted as a case study for the COLAB project.
Location/Year: Toronto, 2012
Role: Team leader, facilitator; Strategic design direction; Designer, plan illustrations
Collaborators: Matteo Boldrin, Matteo Casaburi, Hiu Chan, Micheline Ferguson, Troels Kobberoe, Kimberlyn Lei, Stuart McPherson, Marianne Metairie, Kristian Pal, Natalie Pozzan, Raymundo Pavan Gutierrez

The Old Kennedy Road Revitalization Strategy is an innovative proposal that presents a new model for main street revitalization in Markham. The strategy outlines a phased redevelopment plan for Old Kennedy Road that engages community, repairs and restores local ecosystems, and promotes research and commercial opportunities in the “green economy.”

PROJECT VISION: Old Kennedy Road presents Markham with an opportunity to build a model sustainable community while establishing the infrastructure to enable the development and commercialization of sustainable technologies, products and services that will position Markham as a leader in the emerging “green technology” sector.

1. Map by Matt Carreau; 2. Rendering by Raymundo Pavan Gutierrez & Angelica Ramos Saavedra; 3. Rendering by Raymundo Pavan Gutierrez & Stephen Tiao; 4. Map and text by Matt Carreau.

View the complete strategy