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Important Updates



New Course

INI432H1F: Special Topics in Urban Studies: City Builders Lab: How Good Policies are Made

Fall Term, Tuesdays 1-3 p.m., room IN313

Instructors: Zahra Ebrahim, Kofi Hope

Course description: City Builders Lab: How Good Policies Are Made aims to bust the myth that cities only get built by professionals. Modern day cities get built by a dynamic array of actors- across the private, public, charitable and social purpose sector - each bringing a diverse background, a unique approach and a unique lens to how they shape our social, environmental, economic and physical infrastructure. Further building effective policies for today’s cosmopolitan, but also highly divided cities, benefit from diverse skill sets, including: familiarity with ideas such as design thinking, an appreciation of social power, privilege and class dynamics, as well as an understanding of how to use narrative and values to inspire action. This class will ask what a more inclusive and holistic approach to city building looks like and will vary in its delivery, providing a unique experience from class to class. Classes will include: facilitated discussion, group challenges, hands-on-activities, dialogue-based lectures, and engagement with top city builders, all focused on bringing an introduction to concepts and techniques from a variety of disciplines outside of Urban Planning. The diversity in methods/approaches will increase students’ comfort levels around working collaboratively, interactively and in real-time. Students will come away with an expanded appreciation of the different ways in which dynamic cities are built and a set of tools to ensure they can understand and address the human-complexities that are embedded in the act of Urban Planning.



INI 437Y1Y (2019-20): Experiential Learning in Toronto & the GTA



BALLOT (2019) (.docx)


PDF version of Ballot (2019)

For those of you who are interested in applying to take INI 437Y: Experiential Learning in Toronto & the GTA next year (this is the Urban Studies Program’s 4th year internship course), this email contains information on how to apply.

INI437Y is a balloted course with a competitive entry process. All applicants must complete a ballot (available on the Urban Studies website) and submit a 1-page resume in order to be considered for admission.  All documentation can be submitted electronically to urbanstudies.innis@utoronto.ca. The new deadline to submit your application is June 15th.

The course is geared towards senior level undergraduate students enrolled in a Specialist, Major or Minor in Urban Studies.  Demonstration of strong academic achievement is the key criteria for admission to the course. Enrollment is limited to twenty students. Fourth year students who have completed INI 235H1 and INI 236H1 are given priority for registration, however in some years we have space either for high-achieving third year students and/or some non-Urban Studies students. 

The class meets for seminar-based discussions on a weekly basis. Class meetings are often held off-campus in the form of field trips to places like City Hall, Regent Park and King Spadina.   In addition, all students enrolled in the course participate in unpaid internships at non-profit, urban focused organizations throughout the city for 8 hours per week. Examples of organizations where students are placed include: Artscape, Canadian Urban Institute, Centre for Community Learning and Development, Councillor Joe Cressy, Centre for Social Innovation, City of Toronto Planning Department, Toronto Region Board of Trade, United Way and others. All student placements are coordinated by the course instructor.

INI 437Y presents an engaging and non-traditional opportunity for high achieving UofT students to obtain practical professional experience in Urban Studies, while connecting their internship opportunities to in-class learning and discussion.  I encourage you to apply.  Selected students will be contacted in July for information about next steps. Placement matching and interviews are completed over the summer months so that all students in the course are ready to begin their internships at the start of the first week of classes in September.


2019 Summer Course:

INI432H1S: Urban Studio: Public Participation in Policy Making

Tuesdays and Thursdays 5-7 p.m. lecture (LEC0101), 7-8:30 p.m. studio (TUT5101)

Instructor: Daniel Fusca

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 are waived this summer for this course).


2019-20 Calendar

The Urban Studies program has been updated for 2019-20. Details about the revised Specialist, Major, and Minor programs are available here.







Click here for Faculty News
Click here for Student News


Welcome Lunch 2019

The Urban Studies Program is looking forward to welcoming students back to campus for the fall term. We invite you to join us for a pizza lunch on Tuesday, September 10th from 12-1 p.m. at the Innis Courtyard (this is the outdoor area behind Innis Town Hall). Come meet faculty and staff, Urban STudies Student Union representatives and one another. Whether you are enrolled in the program or in one of our courses, you are invited. No RSVP necessary, hope to see you there!


Welcome to Our Instructors

The Urban Studies Program welcomes the following instructors to our program in 2019-20:

Zahra Ebrahim

Kofi Hope

David Hulchanski

Emily Paradis

Shalini Sharma

Laura Visan

See their profiles on our Faculty page.


Follow Us on Twitter: @USPUofT

Faculty News


Emily Paradis receives the 2018-19 Superior Sessional Instructor Award

Our sessional instructor, Emily Paradis is a recipient of a 2018-2019 Superior Sessional Instructor Award. This award recognizes excellence in undergraduate education in classroom instruction, innovative teaching methods and student engagement. The selection committee was quite impressed by the contributions that Dr. Paradis has made in these areas.

David Roberts Interview

The 2016-17 issue of the Innis College Alumni & Friends Magazine features an article on David Roberts, Assistant Professor in the Urban Studies Program (page 28).


U of T, OCAD, Ryerson, York collaborate in massive research on affordable housing

Article on U of T News


Urban experts from U of T and India share city building know-how

Article on U of T News


Toronto's New Urbanism Film Festival brings fresh perspective on cities to U of T

Article on U of T News


Recipe for Resilience:

U of T cities experts talk housing, transportation, growing disparity in GTA (Professors Brail and Hulchanski)

Article on U of T News


Toronto in 2017: U of T Cities Experts on the Year

Article on U of T News

Course evaluations: report cards for your professors

Article on U of T News


Mixed-income housing one answer for out-of-control home prices

An article citing Prof. David Hulchanski (INI339H1S)

Article at the Globe and Mail


U of T cities experts explore the legacy of Jane Jacobs

Article on U of T News



The Urban Studies Program welcomes the following instructors to our program in 2016-2017

Patrick Adler (INI433H1S)

Dr. Emily Paradis (INI333H1F)

Eleanor Rae (INI437Y1Y, Term II)

Dr. Greg Spencer (INI336H1F)


The Uber Effect: Innovation in the Fast Lane


U of T Urban Expert (Prof. David Roberts) on Rio Olympics: "I don't think any city is ever fully prepared"

Article on U of T News


Parks, Planning and Public Spaces: Toronto can learn lessons from Jerusalem say U of T Students

Article on U of T News


Really Seeing Richmond: The Cities Podcast

Featuring Shauna Brail and Urban Studies students



Student News

Student Stories: Heeho on Urban Studies

In my program I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in community-based fieldwork. It’s been such a valuable experience for me.

Heeho, Double major in Political Science and Urban Studies with a minor in Anthropology



U of T Students and Regent Park teens team up to bust stereotypes, tell stories of a changing neighbourhood

U of T News


Young Urbanists League: how a U of T alumna created Toronto's most engaged online community

Article on U of T News


U of T students tackle community engagement in urban projects like Rail Deck Park

Article on U of T News


U of T student shares behind-the-scenes look at Jane's Walk in Toronto

Article on U of T News



U of T in the Community: students make buddy bench and friends in St. James Town

Article on U of T News



Art Institutions: Initiators and Reflectors of Neighbourhood Change

Martin Prosperity Institute article


Day in the Life: Daniels Faculty Undergrads Win the Sukkahville Design Competition

Architecture and Urban Studies student Calvin Yang Yue is one of the winners of this competition.



Jackman Humanities Institute Fellows 2016-17

The Urban Studies Program is pleased to offer congratulations to two of our students - and URSSU co-Presidents - on being selected as Jackman Humanities Institute Undergraduate Fellows for 2016-2017. 



Toronto's Future City Builders: Cecelia Pye



Toronto's future city builders: Jonah Letovsky

Article on U of T News

Urban Studies Students Explore Residents' Involvement in Redevelopment of Regent Park

An article in U of T news about Urban Studies students.

Three to Watch: Convocation 2014's City Builders

An article in U of T News about 3 of our students.




The Urban Studies Program
@ Innis College

Urban planners, engineers, economists, geographers, architects and environmental scientists (to name a few) all study the city from their specific theoretical and philosophical perspectives. The Urban Studies Program at Innis College is based on a recognition of this multidisciplinarity, and it aims to provide students with a multitude of lenses through which to observe, interpret and understand urban life.

The Program is suited for those students who wish to study cities using several disciplinary approaches. It is also of interest to those students who wish to become involved in urban issues in Toronto. The Program offers an internship in the office of either a municipal politician, non-profit research group, or other government organization as part of its experiential learning program. Class sizes are typically small and interaction with other students and professors is enriched

Because urban issues are so varied, a Specialist, Major or Minor in Urban Studies combines well with many other programs of study. Students are advised to consult the Program Director when designing programs that meet their particular interests.

The Program encourages students to take advantage of the Study Elsewhere Program at the University of Toronto to broaden their knowledge of cities.

For information on Innis College events, please visit the Innis Alumni site.


Applying to U of T

If you are not currently a registered student at the University but would like to take Urban Studies as part of an undergraduate degree program, please visit Enrolment Services first.

For Urban Planning at the graduate level, please consult the Planning Program at the University of Toronto.


Career Navigator

To see where an Urban Studies program might take you, visit our Career Navigator page.


Innis College Awards



URSSU (The Urban Studies Student Union)

For more information, visit this page.