Courses focused on Urban Issues

See the list below for courses that focus on urbanization, urban planning, and urban issues in Canada…

(F= Fall-term 2021; S=Winter-term 2022)

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INI101H1-S – Blogging the Just City

An introduction to the concept of the city as a creative environment promoting not only growth and wealth but also social justice, equality, cooperation, and civility. Students will learn to build their own blog to help them to observe, interpret, and reflect upon the process of urban interaction and the relationship between creativity and justice. Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.


UNI101H1-F/S – Citizenship in the Canadian City (S. Micallef)

Who belongs? Who governs? Who decides? In this course, you will examine the concepts of citizenship, public space, political membership, civic responsibility, and belonging. You will address topics such as Indigenous sovereignty claims, urban multiculturalism, public housing, and greening the city. Restricted to first-year students.


UNI102H1-F/S – Performing the City I

In this course we learn about different practices of performative engagement with the city and experiment with them through exercises and creative activities. The goal is to gain, through this mode of embodied engagement with the city, a critical understanding of urban space as a diverse social, cultural, and physical environment. Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.


UNI104H1-F/S – Sex in the City (A. Lesk)

You will learn about the sexual politics of the city and how cities and their neighbourhoods become sexualized and desexualized spaces. In Sex in the City, you will examine what “sex” means to Toronto’s varied, multicultural communities by looking at urban space, cultural productions, law enforcement, safety and health resources and more. Restricted to first-year students. 


GGR124H1-F/S – Cities of Urban Life (D. Dupuy, D. Cowen)

Offers an introduction to North American cities and urbanization in a global context. It explores social, cultural, political and economic forces, processes, and events that shape contemporary urbanism. The course adopts the lens of ‘fixity’ and ‘flow’ to examine how the movement of people, ideas, goods, and capital, as well as their containment in the infrastructure and space of the city, give rise to particular urban forms.


FAH199H1-F – Architecture of Toronto (J Mace)

*A Canada Constructed course!*

The architecture of Toronto is characterized by artful and influential monuments as well as stylistically incoherent neighbourhoods, vibrant civic spaces alongside dysfunctional infrastructure. This course investigates how Canada’s national metropolis came to embody such extremes of architectural richness and urban contradictions. The seminar focuses on how to “read” the buildings of Toronto and think critically about the forces that have shaped city planning, monuments, public space, and concepts of heritage. Readings and discussions will be combined with field trips, research on site or in the archives, and direct engagement with local communities and preservation initiatives. Restricted to first-year students.


GGR199H1-F – Race, Conflict, and the Urban Landscape (J. Hackworth)

This course will focus on how racial conflict affects the size, shape, composition, and landscape of cities. It will emphasize Canadian and American cities, but other international examples will be discussed for comparison. Ethno-racial conflict has been, and continues to be, an important force on cities throughout the world. Course topics will include housing and employment discrimination, ethno-racial uprisings, and inequality. 


SOC205H1-F – Urban Sociology (B. Berry)

This course reviews theories of urban genesis and urban form; the interrelationship of urbanization, industrialization and modernization, issues in urban living (housing, transportation, urban-renewal, poverty, unemployment, etc.); urban social networks (ethnic and cultural heterogeneity, neighbourhood, community and other voluntary associations).


GGR246H1-S – Geography of Canada (M. Siemiatycki)

Social and economic differences have been, and continue to be, a prominent feature of Canada’s geography. In this course these differences are examined at a regional and local scale. The course adopts a thematic approach and considers issues such as historical development, urbanization, industrialization, immigration and population change, Canada’s cultural mosaic and native issues. Emphasis will be placed on the evolution of social and economic policies and Canada’s incorporation into a global economy.


SOC249H1-S – Sociology of Migration (Y. Tanaka)

This course examines contemporary migration flows, types and causes of migration, theories of migration, immigration policies, and migrant integration with emphasis on Canada.


FAH273H1-F – Canada Buildings and Landscapes (C. Anderson)

*A Canada Constructed course!*

An introduction to the traditions and patterns of building in Canada taking into account the unique landscapes, resources and history that comprise what is now a unified political entity. Lectures will pay special attention to the complexity of architecture throughout Canada including issues of land rights, natural resources, immigration, settlements and urban design, transportation, and heritage issues. A special feature of this class will be the opportunity to study Toronto first-hand through class projects. No previous architectural history study is required.


ENV307H1-S – Urban Sustainability (TBD)

This course critically examines the concept of urban sustainability in theory and application. Case studies of ongoing urban sustainability programs in the developed and developing world help students assess the successes and failures of these programs. The course also examines the current state of research and implementation efforts toward urban sustainability. Toronto’s urban sustainability and sustainable needs will be investigated through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) during the course (previous experience with GIS is not required).


RLG308H1-F – Migration, Religion and City Spaces (L. Bugg)

Immigrants have transformed cities through religious practices. Explore how transnational migration has affected religious diversity and vitality in metropolitan areas. Through discussion, site visits and analysis, students will examine the ways that immigrants use religion to make home, challenges around the establishment of new religious structures, and policy designed to accommodate new religious practices and communities.


DTS310H1-S – Transnational Toronto (K. MacDonald)

This course will examine the processes that have produced Toronto as a transnational city over time, including the dynamics of immigration and mobility, experiences of alienation, the global extension of capitalism, and the (re)formation of communities grounded in the complex dynamics of identities produced in a space that is both ‘home’ and away’. We will also explore the specific practices, and connections that produce “Toronto” as a space that transcends its physical geographic boundaries and is continually reproduced in and through the flows of people, capital, objects, ideas, – and the many forces that reproduce and reconfigure these flows.


HIS312H1-F – Immigration to Canada (L. Mar)

From the colonial settlement to 21st century, immigration has been a key experience and much debated in Canadian life. Drawing on primary sources, as well as historical and contemporary scholarship, this course will discuss migration, citizenship and belonging as central features in Canada’s experience of immigration. This course focuses on the individuals, groups, and collectives who built, defined, contested, and reimagined this country, to help make and remake Canada through immigration.


ECO322H1-S – Canadian Economic History, 1850-1960 (TBD)

This course applies the tools of economics – theoretical and empirical – to study Canada’s historical growth experiences. Topics include: the variation in well-being among Indigenous peoples (both pre and post contact), migration and indentured servitude, colonial money, child labour and education, and the rise of factories. The impact of colonial institutions on Canada’s economic success is studied in a comparative context.


GGR336H1-F – Urban Historical Geography of North America (TBD)

This course explores the emergence and reproduction of class and racial social spaces, the development of new economic spaces, and the growing importance of the reform and planning movements. Emphasis is on metropolitan development between 1850 and 1950.


URB339H1-S – Divide City / United City (J. Hulchanski)

Focus on the impact of increased economic inequality and economic polarization trends that are reshaping Canada’s metropolitan areas, changing neighbourhoods, and affecting the lives of our diverse urban population. Using the Toronto area as an example, students explore the consequences of these trends and the implications for public policy.


JGU346H1-F – The Urban Planning Process (P. Hess)

Overview of how planning tools and practice shape the built form of cities. This course introduces twentieth century physical planning within its historical, social, legal, and political contexts. Community and urban design issues are addressed at local and regional scales and in both central cities and suburbs. The focus is on Toronto and the Canadian experience, with comparative examples from other countries, primarily the United States.


GGR357H1-S – Housing and Community Development (J. Hulchanski)

Focuses on the importance of adequate housing and quality neighbourhoods. It roots theoretical explanations and policy debates in realities using Canada and Toronto as examples. Topics covered include the evolution of public policies relating to social housing, rental housing, homeownership, neighborhoods, and homelessness.


INS403H1-F – Indigenous Peoples and the Urban Context

Critically examines Indigenous peoples’ experiences, encounters and interactions in urban areas in Canada. This course explores the historical and contemporary conditions of Indigenous peoples, including urban governance and the development of Indigenous organizations. This course will focus on youth perspectives and how traditions, cultures and knowledges are expressed in urban settings.


This project is supported by the Learning & Education Advancement Fund at the University of Toronto

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