Maclean's reports that universities are increasingly partnering with local residents and non-profit organizations in their communities. The magazine highlights a project where U of T master's students in planning worked with the Thorncliffe Park Women's Committee to assist them in publishing a booklet on neighbourhood priorities for cultural, recreational and economic renewal.
The magazine quotes U of T President Meric Gertler talking about how the success of U of T and the city are entwined.
“Everything we do using our intellectual resources and our energy from our students and faculty to make Toronto a better place ends up helping us,” he says. “When we go to recruit faculty from across Canada and around the world or when we go out to recruit students from across Canada and around the world, Toronto is a big part of our offer.”
The article mentions that U of T is considering a possible multidisciplinary “school for cities” to address complex urban issues. And that in 2015, U of T's Shauna Brail was appointed the presidential adviser on urban engagement to foster partnerships in the city.
Stephanie Cirnu, who will graduate this spring, says she and her classmates learned from listening to the community through workshops and interviews.
“I had always conceptualized urban planning and design as more of a technocratic exercise,” she says to the magazine. “I now see any design is the product of community participation in the process.”