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LEAF Nurturing the Seed that the Young Urban Forest Leaders Program Planted

USP student Willow Cabral reflects upon her experience participating in the Young Urban Forest Leaders (YUFL) program. Click here to read about her experience and learn how to get involved! 

Cycling is Ten Times More Important Than Electric Cars for Reaching Net-Zero Cities

Focusing solely on electric cars is slowing down the race to zero emissions. Electric cars aren't truly zero-carbon. The shift towards implementing biking as a mode of transportation is the best way to move towards zero emissions. The act of switching to active travel would equate to lower carbon emissions from commutes and a trip-by-trip basis. Click here to read more.

Canadian Urban Institute: Bring Back Main Street Report

The Canadian Urban Institute presents a nationally-coordinated research and advocacy campaign about finding the best solutions regarding how main streets in Canada can recover from COVID-19 and emerge from the pandemic with resiliency. The report includes a growing coalition of partnerships between main street business leaders, academic researchers, industry and professional associations, business improvement areas/districts (BIAs/BIDS) across Canada, government stakeholders, corporate endorsers, developers, professional associations and advocacy groups across Canada. The report covers research and tools to inform shared priorities and gaps across Canada, recommendations for action, and a national campaign. Click here to read the report

Canadian Urban Institute: COVID-19 Signpost

The Canadian Urban Institute COVID Signpost is a research series that explores how life in Canadian cities has changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and what must come next. These signposts offer important directions for urban regions in Canada in navigating the challenges COVID-19 has posed. Click here to learn more about the signpost.

Toronto Garden Suites 

The Garden + Suites project is one of the several studies that the City of Toronto is leading through its Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods initiative. A virtual public consultation will begin in April 2021. Tell the City of Toronto what you think about the Garden Suites. Click here to read the summary report and participate in the Garden + Suites survey. 

Overcrowded Housing is a Systemic Barrier to the Right to Housing

During the year of the pandemic, thousands of residents in Canada have faced overcrowding in homes and were unable to safely quarantine or practice physical social distancing in their shared living spaces; as a result, those living under the same roofs experienced a greater risk of contracting the virus. Click here to read more. 

The Bentway: Re-thinking Public Art Amidst COVID-19

The City of Toronto’s 10-year public art strategy accompanied an announcement that 2021 would be Toronto’s Year of Public Art. With the pandemic alternating the use of public space, public art has been forced to alter its usual objective and mode of delivery. The Bentway has been at the forefront of the reimagination of public art in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to read more.

After Sidewalk Labs, a New Plan Emerges for Waterfront Toronto

After almost a year of Sidewalk Labs canceling its plan for the “smart city” experiment for Quayside, Waterfront Toronto has released a request for qualifications to progress with a new, “people-centered” vision for the waterfront. Click here to read more. 

The Surprising Ways Cities Work to Clean the Environment

With the environment becoming a number one priority for cities around the world, the growing awareness of how cities greatly contribute to emissions and manage the environment has led city planners and municipal officials to rethink how cities can environmentally improve. With the introduction of new green policies, cities are shifting towards municipal programs and harnessing urban design to clean up the environment. Click here to read more.

A Walk in the Park? How Spending Time in Nature Can Help Boost Mental Health

Ontario health-care providers are now offering “Parks Prescriptions” through a new program called PaRx, which recommends spending time in nature as a way to fight depression and other ailments. Click here to read more. 

Congratulations to the newly elected URSSU 2021/2022 executive team! 

Co-president: Janine Cik & Angel Yang 
Secretary: Willow Cabral 
Treasurer: Enzo Esguerra
Social Media Coordinator: Victoria McCutcheon 
Upper-Year Representative: Shameel Rajnath Mohammed
Lower-Year Representative: Nathan Diena

USP Summer Course Offerings

View the Arts and Science Summer 2021 Timetable here

INI337H1-S  Studies in Contemporary Urban Problems (Course Topic TBD)

This course will focus on an examination of the immediate difficulties facing Toronto and by extension all Canadian cities. Instruction will consist of a combination of lectures by the instructor and by noted experts/practitioners in a range of topic areas including urban governance, finance, planning, environmental sustainability and social welfare.

INI338H1-S  Advanced Topics in Urban Studies I (Course Topic TBD)

This course will expose students to a range of contemporary theoretical, analytical, and policy oriented debates in Urban Studies. The emphasis will be on establishing a broad knowledge base in the multifaceted field of urban studies. The exact topics to be covered will fall broadly under the banner of urban socioeconomic change, and specific syllabi, year to year, will follow contemporary and emerging debates. This will be expanded upon in this course’s 400 level counterpart.

INI430H1-F  The Changing Culture of Regent Park

This course is a collaboration with the organization FOCUS Media Arts Centre, which is a not-for-profit organization that was established to counter negative stereotypes about the Regent Park community and provide media literacy and production programming for youth living in the area. Together, University of Toronto students and FOCUS Media Arts Centre journalists will learn about the multi-dimensional history of Regent Park focusing on topics such as immigration and racial formation, urban renewal, housing redevelopment, public health, and community organizing. Next, the U of T students and FOCUS journalists will work in teams to envision, research, and produce their own media project addressing a specific historical issue in Regent Park. Each group will be encouraged to connect their research to contemporary dynamics in the neighborhood. This project can be designed on any platform: radio, television, photography, print, or social media, etc. This course brings together a diverse group of individuals to generate new knowledge about our social world, social processes, and the ways in which we understand cities, specifically Toronto. The class employs a Participatory Action Research model, in which academics and community residents work together to design a scholarly inquiry, conduct research, and disseminate scholarly outcomes, and is explicitly committed to the democratic production of knowledge in the service of social change.

INI432H1-F  Urban Studio: Public Participation in Policy Making

This course will provide a broad overview of the roles of both the citizen and the professional practitioner in advancing effective and meaningful public participation in the policy-making process, particularly as it relates to city planning. Through an examination of a mix of theoretical frameworks and case studies from Toronto and elsewhere, you will gain an understanding of the ways in which effective public participation can contribute to the maintenance of a healthy democratic society while also exploring some of the key challenges and opportunities faced by public participation practitioners today. The course has two key objectives: to give you a practical understanding of all of the elements of an effective public participation process, and to explore how public participation processes can be designed to be more inclusive and effective. In addition, students will be able to apply this knowledge towards the development of a project or report for a client. You can read more about the course and examples of previous community engagement projects on the U of T News article regarding Rail Deck Park. (Prerequisites will be waived for Summer 2021; students from associated disciplines are encouraged to enrol).

The Local Journalism Fellowship 2021

The Local is an award-winning online publication devoted to exploring urban health and social issues in Toronto, with an emphasis on magazine-style journalism and reporting from local communities. The upcoming fall issue, Precarious is a series of stories about precarious labour in the GTA. This year, fellows will work with the Local Journalism team in the production of The Local fall issue. The Local Journalism Fellowship is a paid 10-week opportunity for emerging and aspiring journalists. Click here to learn more.

Evergreen Brick Works Volunteering

Through volunteering at Evergreen, you can take action and your city better. Evergreen’s volunteers are city builders who support a host of projects and programs at Evergreen Brick Works (Toronto). Evergreen volunteers have opportunities to provide input and to grow, with opportunities for leadership roles. Click here to learn more about the volunteer opportunities at Evergreen.

Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forest (LEAF) April 2021 Volunteer Orientation

Join LEAF on April 5, 2021, from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM to learn more about how you can play a critical role in helping to improve the urban forest. During this orientation, participants will learn about the LEAF mission, programs, and the various volunteer roles that LEAF offers. LEAF has opportunities in Toronto, York, and Durham Region, that suit all volunteers from hands-on planting to virtual community outreach. Learn how you can help the urban forest in 2021. Click here to learn more. 

Massey Cities Summit 2021

Join the Canadian Urban Institute from April 6 to 8 to reimagine the municipal role of Canadian federalism while acknowledging the constitutional rights of First Nations. Click here to register. 

ASSU Graduating Student Leadership Scholarship

Eligibility Criteria:

Awarded to a full-time graduating student in the Faculty of Arts & Science.

Students require demonstration of academic excellence (GPA 3.7 or higher), financial need (OSAP or out of province loan) and outstanding extra-curricular leadership.

Recipients must enrol in a graduate program at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Arts & Science.

Award and Payment Info:

The value of the award is equal to the annual income from endowed funds, approximately $4,500. 

The award is paid upon enrolment and registration in a graduate program at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Arts & Science. After the deduction of tuition fees or residence charges owing, the award will be directly deposited into the student’s Canadian bank account. Please allow 6-8 weeks for notifications.

Click here to access the ASSU Graduating Student Leadership Aware Application, please submit this form by May 3, 2021 at 11:59 EST to

Late or incomplete submissions will not be accepted.

Level UP

Level UP is an innovative work-integrated learning program powered by Riipen and sponsored by the Government of Canada to prepare students in post-secondary education and employers (or organizations) to thrive in their future careers.

How Does it Work?

Students, individually or in groups, connect with organizations for short-term paid projects that help them gain relevant work experiences, build professional networks, gain career clarity, and develop their skills. 

Eligibility Requirements:

Students registered in Canadian post-secondary education institutions, with no age limit; and
Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or persons to whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; and
legally entitled to work in Canada in accordance with relevant provincial or territorial legislation and regulations

For more information and to get started click here. 

USP & Innis Alumni Event: Planning the Post-COVID City: How Should We Build Back Better?

Join Innis College and the Urban Studies Program on Thursday, April 15 at 7 PM EST for a discussion panel with alumni city builders - experts from a range of sectors, who are part of an equitable post-pandemic recovery for Toronto.

Panelists include:

Cherise Burda (BSc '90 Innis), City Building Ryerson executive director

Steve Deveaux (HBA ’99 Innis, Urban Studies), Tribute Communities, VP—Land Development

Kofi Hope (HBA '06 Innis), Monumental co-founder and CEO

Gregg Lintern (BA '84 Innis, Urban Studies), City of Toronto chief planner

Judy Matthews (BA '62 Trinity), civic leader and former planner 

Moderated by Rahul Bhardwaj (BA '87 Innis), president and CEO of the Institute of Corporate Directors

Click here to register. 

MUCP Final Design Showcase

The School of Cities Multidisciplinary Urban Capstone Project (MUCP) is a unique, full-year academic capstone design course. All projects are sourced from cities, community groups and non-governmental organizations. Each project addresses a real urban need and is approached by students from a variety of disciplines. Join the School of Cities on Monday, April 12 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM for the final showcase of this year’s student projects. Click here to register. 

Jane’s Walk Toronto 2021 

Jane’s Walk Toronto returns from May 7 to 9 with virtual citizen-led walks in commemoration of Jane Jacobs and her legacy. Explore Toronto’s neighborhoods and communities through a variety of virtual walks and activities; from moving screenings to panel discussions. Click here to learn more. 

Friends of Planning Spring Social

This year’s University of Toronto Planning and Alumni Committee (PAC) and the Department of Geography & Planning are pleased to invite alumni, faculty, and fellow city builders to the 25th Annual Friends of Planning Spring Social, happening on April 8 from 6 PM to 7 PM EST. Featuring speaker Leslie Woo providing a keynote address entitled “Building Better, More Inclusive Cities: The Collective Leadership Needed to Get Us There.” Leslie Woo was named One of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2017 by WXN, Spacing Toronto’s Transit Changemaker in 2016, and Canada’s Women’s Infrastructure Network’s 2015 Outstanding Leader. She is also the founder of  Leslie Woo is the CEO of Civic Action, a premier civic engagement organization that convenes establishing and rising leaders from all sectors, backgrounds, and experiences. Civic Action analyses actions and impactful solutions to addressing urban challenges in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. Click here to register. 

EECOM 2021 - Exploring the Nature of Cities

The Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication (EECOM) is Canada’s only national and bilingual network for environmental learning that works strategically and collaboratively to advance environmental learning. This year’s conference will be held from April 21 to 24. This year's conference is focused on urban environmental education. With most of the world’s population living in urban areas, helping citizens understand their impact on their environments is key to making cities more sustainable and livable. Click here to register.

Urban Land Institute Toronto Podcast on Diversity and Inclusion Beyond Gender: A Focus on Allyship

Invisible City Podcast

Spacing Radio Podcast

99% Invisible Podcast 

Exam Toolkit

Sidney Smith Commons Study Guide

Healthy Cities in the Sustainable Development Goals Era Podcast

Community of Support

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Copyright © 2021 University of Toronto,
Urban Studies Program

Room 223E, Innis College, University of Toronto
2 Sussex Ave, Toronto, ON M5S 1J5
Prepared by Caroline Tam, Urban Studies Communications Assistant
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Urban Studies Newsletter · 2 Sussex Avenue · Toronto, ON M5S 1J5 · Canada

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