The Bentway explores Safe in Public Space this fall, launching Oct. 16

October 15, 2020

Artists, practitioners, Public Space Fellows, researchers assemble to drive new thinking and action to create safer and more equitable public spaces

The Bentway today announced the launch of a timely exploration, Safe in Public Space, which takes a deep, critical look at safety and equity in public spaces everywhere, including issues of design justice, invisibility and hypervisibility, operating practices, health objectives and governance. Beginning Fri., Oct. 16, and running through December (both online at and onsite at 250 Fort York Blvd., Toronto), a passionate group of creators, artists, activists, researchers, and other partners will work together to develop new best practices and strategies to ensure the creation of safe public spaces for all. 

“The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside interrelated crises of systemic racism and other public safety issues, prompted The Bentway to examine its role during a time when public space has become an essential service for all of us,” said Mazyar Mortazavi, Board Chair at The Bentway. “This project will question who defines ‘public safety’ and the limits of how it is currently defined. It will reveal conflicts between safety and accessibility to find creative solutions for the future of public space.”

Safe in Public Space will feature original creative and editorial content from a diverse group of experts and advocates, including Matthew Hickey (architect), Chris Lee (designer), Taboo Health (creative catalysts in health), Vibe Arts (youth arts advocates), and Jacqueline L. Scott (researcher, Black Outdoors), to uncover critical issues, spark dialogue, and offer new solutions. An inaugural Public Space Fellowship brings Nahomi Amberber and Gelila Mekonnen – emerging advocates in the fields of public health and planning, respectively – to The Bentway team, while a series of creative projects from artists Syrus Marcus WareEbti NabagPublic Visualization Studio, and Phat Le and Benjamin de Boer offer installations, photo essays and other explorations that address issues of risk and safety in public space.

To read the complete press release, download the PDF.

To explore Safe in Public Space, visit