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U of T Changes Winter 2021 Start Date

During the Fall 2020 semester, the COVID-19 pandemic put a strain on remote learning. President of U of T, Meric Gertler announced on November 20, 2020, the extension of winter break and the new start date for Winter 2021 classes. Read more here

COVID-19 Transportation Challenges and Solutions Explored at Student Competition Symposium

The U of T Transportation Alumni Committee held The New Frontiers In Transportation Student Research Competition. The theme selected was "Transportation Network Resilience in the Age of COVID-19 and Beyond". Six student teams worked with mentors over a four-month period and prepared reports to submit in mid-October. On November 12, the six interdisciplinary teams presented their research findings to a panel of judges. Read more about the competition here

City of Toronto Partners with U of T and Other Toronto Universities and Colleges for COVID-19 Recovery Research

The City of Toronto has reached out to U of T and other Toronto universities and colleges in an initiative to collaborate on COVID-19 recovery research. U of T will examine COVID-19's impact on air quality and low-income communities' accessibility to the internet, which is integral from online learning and to receive essential services. Read more about the partnership here

U of T Students and Alumni Install Mural on Campus In Support of Black Designers

U of T has installed a symbolic mural canvas at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. The mural symbolizes the movement of dismantling of systemic racism in the discipline of architectural design. Read more here

School of Cities Report Released on The Impact of COVID-19 Restrictions on Canadian Life

The School of Cities reports how Canadians reacted to the COVID-19 restrictions that restricted urban mobility in March 2020. Researchers Gabriel Cavalli (Rotman School of Management), Brennan Lake (Cuebiq, Data for Good Program), SofC Faculty Affiliate Anita M.McGahan (Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy), and Emanuele Pepe (The ISI Foundation) share their findings from a six-month research study analyzing the changes in the behaviour of Canadians in response to social-distancing regulations through utilizing anonymized cell-phone data collection. Click here to read

Toronto Foundation Fall Out Report Released 

The Toronto #FallOutReport measures the disproportional impacts of COVID-19 over the first seven months on marginalized communities and the organizations that serve them. The experiences from leaders from these communities and organizations will help guide Toronto towards COVID-19 social and economic recovery. Click here to read
Urban Studies Liaison Librarian: Nich Worby


How will COVID-19 be remembered? What will be forgotten? 

by Caroline Tam, Urban Studies Program Communications and Research Assistant

Urban Studies Liaison Librarian Nich Worby discusses the U of T Libraries' COVID-19 Archive and his goal of preserving the narratives of COVID-19 that will be forgotten. 

Urban Studies Liaison Librarian, Nich Worby works with students and University of Toronto faculty members to deliver library services, research resources and assist with library material inquiries. Worby is also the Government Information and Statistics Librarian at Robarts Library. As a member of the Canadian Web Archiving Coalition, Worby's work has involved the collection and archiving of materials for the U of T Web Archiving program. The U of T Web Archiving program was started back in 2005, to capture parts of the web that would allow future researchers to look into a certain period or event with great detail. The program documents materials from Government of Ontario websites, Canadian think tanks, elections and annual global conferences in collaboration with the Munk School of Global Affairs. (To learn more about the U of T Archives and Management services Web Archiving program click here.)

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, The Canadian Web Archiving Coalition members have raised questions about how the COVID-19 period will be archived. The pandemic has impacted every part of society, from the economy to academic institutions and health care systems. When documenting this period simultaneously as events occur, the decision on which materials to include to exclude will be the defining agents of COVID-19. This COVID-19 archival project differs from other archival projects that Worby has worked on due to the unforeseen timeline of COVID-19 and living the experience as it is documented. Worby describes the process of simultaneously collecting material for the archive while living through the events of COVID-19 as "curatorial fatigue", which is described as growing tired of constantly consuming COVID-19 related news topics.  

“We had discussions about how we are going to remember it. And when we are having those conversations, I think it is also to have a conversation about what will be forgotten”, says Worby.  

Traditional archival projects often reflect a mainstream narrative established by powerful institutions such as the federal government, mainstream corporations and academic institutions. With this archival project, Worby aims to incorporate local material that documents Toronto during COVID-19. Traditional archival projects are often focused on a single narrative, usually associated with large institutions. Worby aims to capture the voices and lived experiences of Toronto’s community organizations, long-term care homes, local businesses' resilience efforts and additional resources in different languages. This archive will aim to amplify the voices that would usually be dismissed from traditional archives and forgotten as a result. 

“I hope that we will be able to enable a researcher to create a holistic vision of what it was like, compared to just looking at one or two archives that may just focus on a single institutional response. I hope they'll be able to see not just government entities but service organizations, and non-profit community-based organizations there and see what was happening and how people adapted in sometimes mundane ways but sometimes really drastic ways - thinking about how businesses have had to shift to curbside pickup and how that happened. Those types of things may not be big stories that we pay attention to, but I'm hoping those smaller traces will be findable in the archives.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing library resource access to shift to online access, the majority of the materials that document COVID-19 are online resources. Worby highlighted the missing aspects of traditional archives when he realized that the City of Toronto archive would likely not include any small scale digital materials that documented the daily life of Torontonians during COVID-19. These digital materials that documented small-scale local perspectives were often daily news articles, social media posts and local community grassroots movements. Worby notes that these aspects are often left out of traditional archives and thus forgotten as time passes. 

“I was thinking about what would be excluded from many of the archives that already exist and my focus turned to the city. I knew that the City of Toronto probably didn't have a web archiving program to capture all the boring digital material that's going up during the pandemic. Also, considering some institutions that may not have access to an archive, such as non-profits and food banks. These parts of the pandemic are probably going to be forgotten, or at least have the fewest number of traces in a traditional archive. I wanted to focus on local-oriented materials outside of traditional institutions ” says Worby. 

Students who wish to become involved in the COVID-19 archival project are to submit this form and are welcome to contact Nich Worby for further inquiries at

While there is no formal exam period this December, we hope these links below will be helpful for you while you prepare for any final assessments or assignments you may have. Good luck to all students! While taking a study break, enjoy these curated resource links from the Urban Studies Newsletter. 

How to protect your mental health during exam season

Exam Tool Kit
U of T Learning Team
Improve Your Resume
Exam Study Tips
Past Exam Bank
Sidney Smith Exam Strategy Tips
Studying, Concentration and Memory
Need a Study Break? Check out
 Criterion On-Demand: Access Free Movies Through U of T Libraries

The 99% Invisible City

The School of Cities and the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design present The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to The Hidden World of Everyday Design Webinar. Co-Authors Roman Mars and Kurt Kohstedt of the New York Times Bestseller will discuss the elements that make cities function. The webinar will be hosted via Zoom on December 2, 2020 at 7:00 PM (EST) 

Click here to RSVP

Voices for Change: Advancing an Issue Over Time Webinar

The Toronto Foundation presents four advocates who have been resilient and persistent in their efforts to make incremental and progressive change in our society. Learn about the steps that Toronto must take in order to influence long-term systemic change on social and urban issues. This webinar will take place on December 10 from 8:00 - 9:00 AM (EST). 

Click here to RSVP

Urban Leadership & Innovation During Times of Crisis

Attend the Innovation Policy Lab's next webinar on December 3, 2020, from 1:00 PM- 2:00 PM (EST). The webinar will discuss the role of urban leadership at the frontlines of COVID-19 response and recovery. 

Click here to register

URSSU Urban Studies Mentorship Program

The Urban Studies mentorship program will provide the opportunity for students in varying stages of the program to connect and grow through their shared interest in city and urban-related issues. For many students, the transition into university can be daunting and working towards finding an academic trajectory that works for you isn’t an easy task. 

The program will be an enriching experience for both mentors and mentees allowing for the growth of personal and interpersonal skills. As with any other relationship, your relationship with your mentor will require some effort and energy — on the part of both parties — to ensure it continues to be a mutually beneficial arrangement. 

To be a mentee you must fit the following requirements: A student who is interested or currently enrolled in the Urban Studies program taking first or second year SOC, POL, GGR, or ECO courses. A mentee can also include a student at the second-year level currently enrolled in INI235 or INI236.

To be a mentor you must fit the following requirements: A student in the Urban Studies program in third year or higher who has taken both INI235 and INI236 and is currently enrolled or has previously enrolled in an urban studies course at the 300 or 400 level.

Applications are due December 21st at 11:59pm. If you have any questions about the program or the form, please don't hesitate to send an email to

Click here to apply

U of T's School of Cities 2020 Anti-Black Racism/Black Lives Anti-Indigenous Racism/Indigenous Lives Fund

The School of Cities 2020 Anti-Black Racism/Black Lives Anti-Indigenous Racism/Indigenous Lives Fund will support anti-racism education and policy-oriented research. Eligible project submissions will demonstrate engagement and substantive work on the broad scope of Anti-Black Racism & Black Lives and Anti-Indigenous Racism & Indigenous Lives interventions. Participants are highly recommended to propose team projects involving community groups and student organizations. Proposals will be considered from November 12, 2020, to December 4, 2020.

Click here to learn more

AMO Summer 2021 Policy Internship

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) is a non-profit organization representing Ontario's municipal governments. This internship opportunity will support AMO's policy development process. A university degree in public administration, public policy, economics, political science, social science, planning or related discipline is preferred. Please apply to by December 18, 2020, at 12 PM EST.

Click here to learn more

Apply now for the School of Cities 2021 Student Fellowship Award!

Applications are now open for the School of Cities 2021 Student Fellowship Award to join the School of Cities Urban Leadership Fellowship and Academy. It is a connective hub that provides to current University of Toronto students, with a passion for city-building, a forum and unique opportunities for urban-focused interdisciplinary and collaborative learning, mentorship, research, experiential, and service-based learning. The duration of the fellowship is six months. The deadline to apply has been extended to December 1, 2020.

For FAQs and details, visit School of Cities Student Fellowship Award.

Apply for the School of Cities Leading Social Justice Fellowship

The Leading Social Justice Fellowship is a leadership development opportunity provided through a collaboration with United Way Toronto and U of T's School of Cities. This opportunity allows students interested in social justice leadership to becoming involved in dismantling systemic inequities and building an inclusive equitable society. The application deadline is on December 18, 2020, at 5 pm (EST). 

Click here to learn more and apply

Participate in University of Toronto Engineering Kompetition 2021 (UTEK)

The University of Toronto Engineering Kompetition 2021 (UTEK) is a weekend-long competition of team-based design challenges. UTEK 2021 will be held on January 16-17, 2021. This competition is open to all undergraduate students. This is a great opportunity to get involved in presenting creative ideas and approaching design challenges.

Click here to learn more


Innis College Writing Centre

All students who are enrolled in the Urban Studies program (Specialist, Major and Minor) or are taking an Urban Studies course are eligible to receive writing support from the Innis College Writing Centre. Get help with upcoming essays, final assignments or learn writing and study tips to prepare for the upcoming exam season. All appointments are made and held virtually.

Click here to schedule an appointment with a writing instructor. 


U of T My SSP is a new mental health resource that is provided for free to all U of T students. Students can access this resource through real-time phone-in sessions and/or appointment-based sessions. Support is provided in over 35 languages and over chat in simplified Chinese, English, French and Spanish. Students may utilize SSP for any school, health, or life concerns at no cost. 

Get immediate help about concerns such as :

  • Successful academic strategies
  • Studying issues
  • Relationships
  • Language and cultural barriers
  • Stress
  • Loneliness
  • Managing work and school

Click here to learn more

Navi - Your Mental Health Wayfinder

Navi is a virtual tool that serves to help students discover the available mental health resources at the University of Toronto. Navi is available to all University of Toronto students at UTSG, UTM and UTSC. 

Click here to learn more


JGI216H1 – Globalization and Urban Change

Instructor: David Roberts
Time: Thursdays 16:00 - 18:00 
Delivery Method: Online Synchronous

This course is focused on the impacts that global flows of ideas, culture, people, goods, and capital have on cities throughout the globe. The course is organized around 6 central types of cities – Colonial Cities, World Class Cities, Multicultural Cities, Cities of the Under Developed World, Securitized Cities and Cities of the Future. These are not meant to be mutually exclusive typologies, but rather a (hopefully) useful way of thinking through the various linkages between globalization and urban change – both historical and contemporary. Some of the questions we will delve into include: What is globalization and how has it impacted urbanization? How have the processes of globalization shaped cities in various parts of the world? What are some of the factors that differentiate the experiences of urbanization and global change in cities at different moments in history and in various geographic locations?

INI333H1 – Critical Approaches in Urban Studies: Social Justice In The City

Instructor: Aditi Mehta
Time: Thursday 13:00 - 15:00 
Delivery Method: Online Synchronous

A common approach to studying the city is to quantify the outcome of processes and to rely on the scientific method and quantitative analysis to test hypotheses and ultimately create new knowledge. Critical approaches have been advanced on the belief that the notion of quantification, and that of positivism itself, could be inappropriate, if not altogether flawed. This course will introduce students to a variety of critical or alternative approaches to understanding the urban experience. How do we develop knowledge about the city and whose voice matters? The first portion of the course will focus on understanding theories of justice, knowledge production, and power in the city. The second portion of the course will use these frameworks to recognize the city from various identities: indigenous, feminist, queer, immigrant, racial/ethnic minority, youth, etc. We will unpack several examples of participatory action research that address the unique struggles of each population, and discuss how research can be a tool for resistance.

INI339H1 – Divided City / United City

Instructor: David Hulchanski
Time: Tuesday 10:00 - 12:00 
Delivery Method: Online Synchronous

Divided City / United City focuses on the impact of increased economic inequality and the resulting socio-spatial polarization trends that are reshaping the social landscape of Canada’s metropolitan areas, changing neighbourhoods, and affecting the lived realities of an increasingly diverse urban population. The aim is to bring into the classroom the latest research on key urban issues with the opportunity to discuss the research process and findings with the researchers themselves. The course examines inequality, diversity, and change at the neighbourhood level in Canada’s metropolitan areas, with an in-depth focus on Toronto as a case example. We discuss the trends and seek to explain the processes causing the trends, as well as the consequences and their implications for public policies and programs. Many of these trends and processes contribute to segregation and disadvantage on the basis of age, gender, race, ethnicity, Aboriginal identity, and immigration status.

INI432H1 – Special Topics in Urban Studies: Racial Capitalism, Settler Colonialism, Urban Infrastructure

Instructor: Wesley Attewell
Time: Thursdays 13:00 - 15:00 
Delivery Method:  Online Synchronous

This course will consider how the everyday work of racial capitalism and settler colonialism has always been grounded through infrastructures: or, the geographically extensive systems that build, sustain, and manage human life. These entangled infrastructural projects have shaped urban life across Turtle Island from the early 20th century onwards. Drawing from the work of Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Deborah Cowen, Cedric Robinson, and Audra Simpson, this course seeks to better understand how the US and Canadian settler states have leveraged infrastructure – in both its obvious and less obvious forms – as a way of responding to the “urban panics” engendered by the evolving geographies of immigration, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class. To this end, this course shall explore a diversity of topics, including gentrification, broken windows policing, diasporic (sub)urbanisms, and urban poverty, to name only a few examples. This course will attend to the ways in which urban infrastructures have always doubled as a terrain for radical struggle, resistance and refusal. The course will conclude by reflecting on the ongoing and urgent political need to work towards the abolition of carceral and settler urban regimes in all of their various guises and dimensions.
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Copyright © 2019 University of Toronto,
Urban Studies Program

Room 233E, Innis College, University of Toronto
2 Sussex Ave, Toronto, ON M5S 1J5
Prepared by Caroline Tam, Urban Studies Communications Assistant
All rights reserved.
Contact Us:
[P] 416-946-7107

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Urban Studies Newsletter · 2 Sussex Avenue · Toronto, ON M5S 1J5 · Canada

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