Installation view of Toronto Parkettes: A Map, a Catalogue and 8 Situations. Harbourfront Centre. Photography: Tom Bilenkey.

Toronto Parkettes: A Map, a Catalogue and 8 Situations

July 19 - July 19, 2018

Department of Unusual Certainties

…or an Attempt to Exhaust the Potential of Typological Analysis in Small Public Space Design

Rarely the result of the comprehensive planning process, parkettes reveal a unique story about the city and their sites. Abandoned properties, infrastructural collisions, ad-hoc development deals, and ecological interruptions all represent the hiccups in our rational city-building model that have led to the creation of parkettes.

Toronto Parkettes is an examination of Toronto’s city-owned parkettes and their potential as sites of intervention. Five hundred twenty-five sites are mapped and placed into eight typological categories according to their spatial characteristics. For each typology a situation is speculated, exploring how a design strategy could play on the essential qualities of each parkette.

In the context of New City Landscape, DoUC hope to show how parkettes are untapped resources in the city and how they constitute potential new sites for landscape intervention.

Team: Brendan Cormier, Christopher Pandolfi, with Omri Menashe


Department of Unusual Certainties (DoUC) is a Toronto-based research and design collective working at the interstices of urban design, planning, and art. DoUC operate under the mandate of expanding the popular conception of urban design and its agency. They do so through unsolicited projects on the periphery of the profession, testing out new methods and approaches to understanding the design of the city.

The Department’s work is informed by one guiding philosophy: that the city is the physical manifestation of a long sequence of unusual certainties, each one simultaneously more unusual and yet more certain than its predecessor. The Department publishes, lectures, teaches, and exhibits often. DoUC is also currently the Innovator in Residence at the Design Exchange – Canada’s National Design Museum.

Brendan Cormier is a co-founder of DoUC and an urban designer. He has an M.Sc in Urban Design from the Bauhaus Universität Weimar and has worked for architecture and planning offices in Rotterdam and Toronto. He writes often for magazines and is an editor of the Pop-Up City blog.

Christopher Pandolfi is an urban designer and artist based in Toronto and in 2010 co-founded DoUC. He holds an MA in Urban Mangement and Architectural Design from Domus Academy (Milan, Italy). He has worked as an urban designer and researcher in Italy, Rotterdam, South Korea, and Toronto.

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