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Impact Summit 2017: Migration, Culture and Diversity in the Built Environment

The 2017 Impact Summit, jointly hosted by Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), was Canada’s first from a series of three thought leader conferences, bringing together senior practitioners and emerging influencers drawn from the fields of design and architecture, city planning, government, academia and the health sector, as well as business and the non-profit sector.

The conference featured walking tours through Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood, a model example of inclusion and diversity. The New York Times hails the ongoing Regent Park regeneration project as a success in supporting immigrants to thrive in new built environments that differ significantly from the multiplicity of cultural neighbourhoods in which they grew up.

The Honourable Ratna Omidvar, Impact Summit’s keynote speaker, delivered a moving and inspirational speech about her own immigrant experience, urging others to continue to view their work and their environments through the lens of diversity and inclusion.

Senator Omidvar is an internationally recognized voice on migration, diversity and culture. She is also the founding Executive Director and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Global Diversity Exchange (GDX), Ted Rogers School of Management at Toronto’s Ryerson University.

The two-day conference provided panel discussions on migration, culture and diversity followed by breakout sessions that localized the conversations to create tangible solutions.

Praise for Impact Summit 2017


“I highly enjoyed participating in the 2017 Impact Summit. The session topic provided a great opportunity to discuss the role planners, designers, and our institutions play in creating inclusive spaces for culturally diverse communities. The Summit also allowed me to connect with a number of energetic and inspiring leaders who share my passion for city-building. I look forward to continuing the conversation.”
-Habon Ali, M.Sc.PI, Associate, PMP, Urban Strategies Inc.



“The multidisciplinary panels and keynotes offered a wonderful and comprehensive diversity of takes on urban migration issues. Combining Canadian, American, and other world views of social and environmental challenges created a rich dialogue. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, it became clear that there are some commonalities on how design at all scales can play a significant role in creating a culture of inclusivity.”
- Jon Penndorf, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, Senior Associate, Perkins + Will



“I was very pleased that the Impact Summit chose to focus on timely themes of diversity, culture, migration and refugee mental health for their 2017 conference. The Summit offered a creative space for participants to share perspectives and learning, and to begin interesting interdisciplinary conversations about healthy communities for newcomers.”
- Lisa Andermann, M.D., Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada

Impact Summit Whitepaper in production
A White Paper is under construction. It will highlight topics discussed and the outcomes and insights that were develop during the Summit. The Paper will be published in July 2017.

IDC and ASID launch joint magazine
Both IDC and ASID share a common goal of advancing the profession of interior design and building greater public awareness of the significant, positive impact their members bring to the built environment and to humankind.

The two organizations are embarking on a new initiative this summer that will bring their individual membership magazines—D and ICON—together into one new publication with broadened perspective and reach.

The new magazine will feature a series of insightful, in-depth topics that challenge and inspire interior design professionals, and bring readers unique design perspectives from around the world.

The first collaborative issue will be released this summer. An advisory committee from across North America has been established to contribute to the editorial vision for the new magazine, beginning with the selection of a new name for the new publication.

Earlier this month, IDC and ASID members received the news release with information about the launch of the new magazine, and a symbolic ceremony at Chicago’s NEOCON event, on Tuesday, June 13, officially marked the occasion.

By the Numbers 

Over 80 per cent of attendees surveyed after Impact Summit rated the overall impression of the Summit as “excellent”

National Industry Partners
Architex Samsung Cosentino Knoll Milliken Benjamin Moore
Mohawk Group Levey Industries Shaw Contract Hunter Doulgas Upper Canada Forest Products Midgley
Lutron keilhauer Caesarstone Canada