Turning Laneways into Public Spaces - Toolkit

May 2019

Understanding laneways can help tap the potential for laneways to be public places


Toronto has a vast network of more than 2,400 public laneways running throughout its fast-growing downtown and midtown neighbourhoods. Developing a better understanding of public laneways and their potential for integration into neighbourhood life helps create a complete and diverse public realm network. Turning Laneways into Public Places – Toolkit examines laneways through a design lens, considering the urban conditions that shape the physical form and use of laneways to better understand potential interventions, transforming them into vibrant shared spaces.

The Toolkit identifies seven common typologies found in Toronto and offers possible interventions for each around six laneway transformation goals: people oriented, inclusive + accessible, beautiful, connected, sustainable + green and economic development. As well as physical interventions, a series of community organizing, planning and budgetary considerations are explored to maximize user success.

Together the Toolkit, created in partnership with The Laneway Project and funded by Ryerson CBI, provides a resource and inspiration for individuals or groups starting on their laneway transformation.


Shelagh McCartney and Courtney Kaupp, Together Design Lab
in collaboration with The Laneway Project
Project supported by the Ryerson City Building Institute