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City Parks and Libraries as Anchor Institutions

Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM (EST)

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Event Details

IMFG Series on Shared Spaces:

Funding and Managing Libraries and Parks in Tough Times

TD Bank Group Sponsored by TD Bank Group

This series of three lectures will explore the importance of shared public spaces such as libraries and parks to the health of our city. In an era of fiscal restraint, shared spaces are often vulnerable to funding cuts. To date, however, there has not been extensive public conversation on the long-term solutions to the funding problems.  Are there new models of public, private, and hybrid funding to meet these challenges?  What are the conditions for success and what are the pitfalls?  Where are innovative models being implemented and are they viable in the GTA?

Session 1: City Parks and Libraries as Anchor Institutions
The first session will focus on the role that parks and libraries play as contributors to broader urban policy objectives. How do libraries and parks affect and leverage the quality of life, sustainability, and economic growth in the city? In a period of fiscal austerity, what are the appropriate roles for the public sector, the private sector and the scope for partnerships in both the funding and management of these spaces? This session aims to understand the current challenges in funding and governing city spaces, both in Toronto and elsewhere in North America, and also to explore innovative practices in tax and partnership models.  

Guest Speakers:

  • Siobhan A. Reardon, President and Director, Free Library of Philadelphia
  • Jamie Torres-Springer, Partner, HR & A Advisors
  • Derek Burleton, Vice-President and Deputy Chief Economist, TD Bank Group



Siobhan A. Reardon, President and Director, Free Library of Philadelphia

Siobhan Reardon became the seventh President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia in September 2008, the first woman to serve in this capacity. Previously, Ms. Reardon was Executive Director of the Westchester (NY) Library System, a 38-member cooperative library system, and prior to that, she was Deputy Executive Director of the Brooklyn Public Library, serving as Chief Operating Officer of the nation’s fifth largest library system. She serves on the Boards of several organizations, including the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Philadelphia Education Fund, Lyrasis, and the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children. She holds a B.A. from SUNY Purchase, an M.A. from Fordham University, and an M.L.S. from the Palmer School of Library Science at Long Island University.

Jamie Torres-Springer, Partner, HR & A Advisors

Jamie Torres-Springer, an HR&A Partner, has extensive international experience in public sector management, public-private development structures, economic development and planning, and community relations. He provides urban infrastructure planning and implementation services to a range of cities, including Toronto, as it plans for and invests in key districts around the City and its waterfront, the City of St. Louis as it improves the Jefferson National Memorial Arch grounds, and the cities of Austin, San Diego, Newark, and many others as they develop new and existing public open space. He specializes in governance and management planning for public open space, and recently completed a strategic review of the plans for the new public parklands in London’s 2012 Olympic Park. Currently, Jamie is developing an economic framework for the new Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa, including a series of precinct-wide public spaces. Prior to joining HR&A Jamie was Project Director for the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, where he helped to manage the public approval process that led to the transfer of land from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and City and State of New York to the BBPDC in order to create an 85-acre network of open spaces on Brooklyn's East River waterfront. Jamie lectures frequently to graduate students in planning, real estate and public policy, at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate where he is an Adjunct Lecturer, as well as the University of Toronto, Columbia University and New York University’s Wagner School of Planning.

Have questions about City Parks and Libraries as Anchor Institutions? Contact Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance

When & Where

University of Toronto
1 Devonshire Pl
Toronto, ON M5S 1H8

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM (EST)

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Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance

The Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG), at the Munk School of Global Affairs, focuses on the fiscal health and governance challenges facing large cities and city-regions in Canada, and develops solutions through original research and programming.

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