The Missing Third

Threshold Spaces as Agents of Social Resilience

Carolyn Wu

Cynthia Girling

During the pandemic, our outdoor public spaces were our solace. It was in these spaces that we would make fleeting eye contact or exchange brief hellos with strangers. However, we must recognize not everyone has access to quality outdoor public spaces. Studies have shown that residents living in lower-income, high density neighbourhoods don’t have the same freedom of mobility to choose where to go and spend time while not working or being at home, and as a result, are denied the opportunity to participate in society.

The Missing Third looks to speculate new futures in which threshold spaces - spaces usually seen as intermediary - can serve as places of dwelling where people can build and change theirocal spaces as a way to advocate for permanent change, thus bringing relief to the systemic inequity of access to public space. This thesis focuses on a bottom-up, participatory design approach, where community curation is central to the design of urban spaces.It introduces a kit of parts, composed of recyclable materials, to activate four types of threshold spaces to improve social cohesionin the neighbourhood of St. James Town in Toronto, Canada. Bytransforming forecourts, parking lots, laneways and road verges intoshared network of collective activities, residents can then feel moreempowered to collect and mobilise for things that they need.

kit of parts

The Kit of Parts

forecourt proposed plan

The Forecourt Proposed Plan

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parking lot proposed plan

The parking lot Proposed Plan

parking lot renderparking lot render
laneway proposed plan

The Laneway Proposed Plan

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road verge proposed plan

The road verge Proposed Plan

road verge renderroad verge render