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Urban Studies

January Newsletter

The Urban Studies Program at Innis College aims to provide students with a multitude of lenses through which to observe, interpret, and understand urban life.


The Urban Studies Program and the Urban Studies Students Union (URSSU) are hosting a Tik Tok challenge!

Watch Professor Shauna Brail's TikTok here!

Pizza with the Profs – Wednesday February 26, 6-8 pm

Join Professors Shauna Brail and Aditi Mehta for dinner and to chat about work opportunities for Urban Studies graduates. We’ll be joined by Urban Studies alumni who will share details about their career experiences and will provide suggestions for new graduates. 

Here's where U of T experts stand on Sidewalk Toronto's controversial smart city plan

Google's sister company proposes redevelopment of Quayside, sparking concerns
By: Kaitlyn Simpson


OPEN CALL: Advancing SDGs @UofT

Are you an undergraduate or graduate student, passionate about the UN Global Goals, or do you know someone who is?

We want to hear from you!

Join us for a day of design thinking where we will explore opportunities for pursuing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) right here at UofT!

APPLY TO  JOIN  US for a day of design thinking

Application Deadline: February 15th, 2020

New Course Alert! 

Multidisciplinary Urban Capstone Project (MUCP), 2020-2021

We are pleased to announce that the Urban Studies Program has joined the School of Cities’ Multidisciplinary Urban Capstone Project (MUCP) for the 2020-2021 academic year. This is a full year capstone course that will address unique urban challenges through a multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving. Each project is assigned to a team of fourth-year undergraduates drawn from different disciplines who will collaborate to develop creative solutions to meet each organization's needs. To learn more, please visit the MUCP course website.

Applications for students will open on March 30th, 2020. Stay tuned for more details.

2020 BII+E Internship Opportunity

The Brookfield Institute is seeking up to two summer interns to support a fast-paced and exciting research agenda. These roles will contribute to the Institute’s efforts to build a robust, data-driven picture of innovation and entrepreneurship trends in Canada, and to inform thoughtful public policies that enable Canadians – from different regions, sectors and backgrounds – to seize the opportunities and prepare for the risks in the shift to an innovation-driven economy.

English Language Learning
*FREE* quality English language instruction with the ELL Program starts again in Winter 2020! The *NEW* Communication Cafe topics range from the history of abstract photography to how to network with people at parties (starting January 6, 2020—no registration needed). Sessions are taught by ELL professors and writing centre instructors.

Register for Reading eWriting, online writing practice with a writing centre instructor (starting January 10 and January 31, 2020). Use your course readings or popular reading as the basis for becoming a more effective communicator.

For more information click here
Contact us at:

TD Park People Grants - Make your green space great!
TD Park People Grants will provide $2000 to groups from Metro Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Greater Toronto Area, National Capital Region (Ottawa-Gatineau), Montreal, Quebec City or Halifax Regional Municipality, to build community and support environmental stewardship in your park or green space. Make your green space great with events like park clean-ups, tree-planting and movie nights. Applications close on March 2nd. Visit the website to get all of the details, helpful event ideas and application form for the TD Park People Grants program. 
Prof. Julian Marshall “Just” cities: Traffic-related air pollution and justice in the context of urban sustainability: Call for Event Volunteers

The team is looking for a few event volunteers next Wednesday, February 5 at George Ignatieff Theatre from 4:45 p.m.

If you are planning to attend and would like to volunteer, please let Pat Doherty know if you’d like to help with:

  • Greeting guests, giving directions, sign-in desk
  • Assisting with electronic questions from the audience ( or some other)
  • Tweeting during the event
  • Help with event take down & carrying items to Sandford Fleming Building

Contact Information: 

Pat Doherty 
Office location: Sandford Fleming Building, Room SF3001J
416-978-4175 |

Profile: Professor Aditi Mehta

Assistant Professor, Urban Studies 
This semester you are teaching INI430. What’s unique about this course and what are some of the key takeaways for students?  

I am teaching INI 430: Youth, Arts, and Engagement in the City in collaboration with Regent Park Focus, a not-for-profit organization that was established to counter negative stereotypes about the community and provide media literacy and production programming for youth living in the area. Urban studies researchers across the world have been studying Regent Park’s billion-dollar redevelopment and how the newly “revitalized” mixed-income neighborhood has affected long-time residents. However, few of these studies incorporate the perspectives of youth or contribute to the future development of the community in meaningful ways. In my course, U of T students and youth members of Regent Park Focus from the Divas Girl Group work together to envision and produce their own media projects addressing revitalization and gentrification in Regent Park.

I am committed to using pedagogies that embody principles of  “knowledge justice,” such as participatory action research (PAR) in which academics and community residents are collaborative partners in the process of designing an inquiry for the purposes of social change. Last year’s projects, which are profiled on the course website, include a podcast which explores how the Rap and Hip Hop culture of the neighborhood disintegrated during redevelopment; a YouTube mockumentary that exposes how inaccessible the neighborhood’s new public amenities are to long-time social housing residents; a zine documenting subversive art and memorabilia of the rapidly changing neighborhood; a photography exhibition that counters mainstream media stereotypes; and an interactive timeline that embeds the life story of one Regent Park youth resident into the history of the redevelopment and its accompanying academic scholarship.


You have an extensive background in urban studies, what inspired you to pursue a Ph.D.?

When I was in high school, I thought I wanted to be a journalist. I participated in a summer journalism program in which we reported about different issues throughout Boston and published our own newspaper. My story was about the struggles of business owners in Boston’s North End Italian neighborhood due to the Big Dig, a huge mega-highway construction project in which the interstate was put underground with the replacement of 2.4 km of parks and public spaces above ground. The pollution and noise from the improvement project negatively affected many business owners and residents in the North End with little help from the city government. I found the urban politics of the megaproject so fascinating, and this led me to pursue urban studies as an undergraduate rather than journalism.

From, there I went on to work for an affordable housing developer in Washington D.C., pursue my Masters in Planning, and work in community development and philanthropy. Throughout all these professional experiences, I wanted to understand how to evaluate the impact of policies, programs, and grant-making. How do we know if certain urban interventions are making a difference? This led me to pursue a Ph.D. and learn how to design and conduct meaningful research.

What advice would you give to students who are thinking about pursuing a career in urban studies?

Urban studies is a broad field, and careers in the discipline can range from real estate developer to city councillor to social service worker to public artist. Students interested in Urban Studies should schedule informational interviews with different people in the field whose career interests them to figure out where they want to focus their learning while in university.

What is your favorite neighborhood in Toronto and why?

I am fairly new to Toronto and still exploring, but I think my favorite neighborhoods are all places with excellent cuisine. I enjoy Chinatown and Koreatown and love exploring the dense neighborhoods for dim sum and noodles. In the East End, I also really like the Greek food in the Danforth as well as South Asian food in Little India.

Upcoming Events

Towards a Feminist City (II): Gender and Diversity in the City Building Industry
Thursday, January 30, 2020, 5:00pm - 6:00pm 
Desautels Hall, Rotman School of Management, 105 St. George Street
Talks: Desmond Cole 
Wednesday, February 5, 2020, 7:00 pm -
Baillie Court, Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West 
(Registration Required)
Ethics in the City Films: The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019
Wednesday, February 5, 2020, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Centre for Ethics, Larkin Building, 2nd Floor, 15 Devonshire Place
(Registration is free but required)
13th Annual Real Estate Roundtable - "Home Prices in Toronto"
Friday, February 28, 2020, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Desautels Hall (Second Floor, South Building), Rotman School of Management, 105 St. George Street
(Registration for students is $25)
OPEN CALL: Advancing SDGs at UofT
Saturday, February 29, 2020, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Myhal Centre for Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 55 St. George St.
(Registration required)  

Summer opportunities in Urban Studies: Check out these links:

City of Burlington
Student Internship - Planning

City of Mississauga

City of Toronto

Job Opportunity: 2020 Landscape Architecture Summer Internship 
Job Opportunity: Forest Assistant 
Job Opportunity: Land Use Planner Intern
Job Opportunity: Planning Intern Student 
Job Opportunity: Tour Leader
Job Opportunity: Wilderness Guide 
Job Opportunity: Urban Summer Camp Instructor 

Niagara Region 
Development Approvals Student or Intern

Province of Ontario

Region of Peel 
Summer Opportunities: Health Services
Summer Opportunities: Human Services
Summer Opportunities: Public Works

Volunteer Opportunites 
Canadian Association for Equality
Urban Land Institute (ULI)
Volunteer Toronto

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Copyright © 2019 University of Toronto,
Urban Studies Program

Room 323, Innis College, University of Toronto
2 Sussex Ave, Toronto, ON M5S 1J5
Prepared by Prabhsimran Bal, Urban Studies Student
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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