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Fortress - Platinum Sponsor For NXT City Prize 2014

Thursday July 24, 2014

Toronto needs great ideas for its public spaces. Ideas that are big, bold and unconventional. Ideas from champions, outsiders and geniuses. Ideas that recognize Toronto’s greatness – and its potential for the future. — NXT City Prize

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The NXT CITY PRIZE is all about vision – the vision to re-imagine Toronto’s public spaces and inject a sense of energy, dynamism and reflexivity.

When Mackenzie Keast, co-founder of Distl, reached out to Fortress to sponsor this vision, we saw a synergy right away. As a developer with over 55 projects across Canada, Fortress is committed to giving back to the communities we are invested in.

“We are always looking to create new partnerships through our Fortress Gives program and through direct relationships with groups that share our vision of enhancing our cities through art and design while encouraging our youth of today to become leaders for tomorrow.” — Jawad Rathore, President & CEO of Fortress Real Developments.

When asked why they started NXT City Prize, Mackenzie shared with us some of the vision behind this project. We saw a real disconnect between the phenomenal amount of private investment currently flowing into the city, and the lack of real public investment in our streets, parks and places. We don’t have a High Line (NYC) or a Millennium Park (Chicago), and people recognize that we’re growing at this tremendous pace yet our public spaces haven’t kept up. This growth is by and large the echo boomer generation: young people under 30 who are choosing to live and work in very dense urban areas. And Toronto is evolving so rapidly because of these lifestyle choices that they are making. We wanted to empower these people, under 30, to come up with their own ideas for how public space can grow and adapt to their needs – and give Toronto a real world class public space destination like you see in many other cities.”

With judges like Jennifer Keesmat (Chief Planner for City of Toronto) and Sam Crignano (President, Cityzen Developments), this visionary project has also attracted media attention.

“NXT City Prize has been received so well because it addresses the need for new public spaces, and taps into the evolving nature of cities themselves. Our cities are younger, more creative, and are such global hubs of knowledge and technology which is driving so many new industries. The NXT City Prize competition fits perfectly because it’s turning traditional thinking about public space on its head – using the wisdom of a young, urban, connected generation to tell us what the new needs for public space really are”, said Keast. “In the long term, we want to recognize that that we’re at this defining moment in city building. NXT City Prize will transform the energy all these young people have into phenomenal public space. We want the world to look back at our city and really feel that the public space reflects the passion, energy, creativity of what’s going on here at this particular moment in time.”

Submissions for the competition close on July 31st. Ideas will be reviewed by a panel of judges based on several factors including: originality, feasibility, impact and clarity. All of the judges on the panel are industry experts who are avidly engaged in urban planning. “The NXT City Prize is an ideal platform for youth to take ownership of their city and to apply their creative talents to solve everyday challenges with Toronto’s urban spaces,” said Jennifer Keesmaat, Chief Planner for the City of Toronto and one of the Judges. “This is a chance for young, creative minds to offer new ideas and see them realized.”

The grand prize winner will leave the outdoor gala on August 14th (where the winners are announced) with $5,000 cash and an opportunity to have their idea materialized, with up to $10,000 to implement the idea with a team of professionals. There are also two runner up prizes up for grabs.

Fortress is excited to be a supporter of this vision and we look forward to being a part of this movement as it grows across Canada.

TAGS:Development, Distl, Jawad Rathore, Jen Keesmat, Public Space, Toronto, Urban Design