This study explores the role of community capacity building through an action research study of the Kensington Market Community Land Trust (KMCLT), Toronto. KMCLT incorporated in 2017, having formed a few years previously to protect neighbourhood land from speculation and real estate development, and to provide affordable housing. It has successfully pushed for a City of Toronto-owned parking lot in the neighbourhood to become a site for affordable housing and is preparing to respond to the City’s RFP. As such, the research will use a reflexive action research methodology to work with community members in Kensington Market and KMCLT members to ask the following questions:
- What are effective participatory strategies for building community engagement around KMCLT’s proposed affordable housing development and how are effective are these strategies?
- How can virtual and design techniques assist in documenting and disseminating KMCLT’s work?; and
- How can relational networks be enhanced between community residents, political actors, and members of the public to support the organizations efforts of KMCLT?
These questions are integral to understanding how community and organizational capacity can be developed in order to sustain KMCLT activities and realize affordable housing objectives. Action research methods to address these questions are:
- The use of digital and design tools to disperse information about KMCLT’s activities, and evaluation of tools and feedback;
- Study of different community engagement strategies, and utilization and evaluation of strategies;
- Creation of a sharable digital archive for KMCLT materials;
- A community needs inventory for the City-owned site and other possible neighbourhood sites.