Reflections on Deep Dive Workshop #2

The second workshop in our deep dive created space to learn from others in innovative ways, and to break out into two teams to tackle the challenge.

We started the day off by hearing from our first guest speaker, Mark Erickson, from Studio NORTH. Mark shared the project they had developed which won the City of Edmonton’s Missing Middle Challenge a few years ago. This prompted our group to see an example of innovation in the housing space and gave us some energy for the next part of the workshop.

The rest of the morning was spent in one of two groups: Team New Build and Team Retrofit. Both these teams went into breakout rooms and spent the remainder of the morning thinking about the values they would like to focus on, the scope of their ‘prototype’ or ‘framework’, and brainstorming ideas around how they could think about new builds or retrofitting.

In the afternoon, we were lucky to hear from Lynn Hanley at Communitas about their experience in social housing and innovation in the affordable housing space. This was an opportunity for our participants to ask questions, engage deeper, and learn from someone with deep knowledge.

After this, we went back to our groups and were prompted by Lynn to think about who are we really designing for and what does our ideal design look like or include?

As we wrapped up our second workshop, one of the major themes that kept being discussed was how can one prototype or framework or idea address such a large problem? This is something we have been grappling with since we started our work in the Affordable Housing Solutions Lab. Our approach is to bring diverse thinkers together, learn from people with lived experience, and try novel ways of looking at complex problems. We think that through facilitated exercises, people can be nudged to come up with new ideas and that is what we are trying to do through this deep dive.

Our two teams are meeting weekly before our third workshop to continue to brainstorm and develop ideas for a prototype or framework. Stay tuned for updates from our next workshop and participants!

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