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U of T’s School of Cities draws world's urban institutes to Toronto for global network workshop

Representatives from urban institutes around the world are at U of T's School of Cities this week for a first-of-its-kind global urban network workshop (photo by Stéphane Legrand/EyeEm via Getty Images)

The University of Toronto’s School of Cities is bringing together 25 urban institutes from across five continents for a first-of-its-kind workshop.

The event, which kicks off today and runs through Friday, is co-hosted by the school and U of T's Office of the Vice-President, International and aims to gain deeper insights about the types of activities being carried out at urban institutes worldwide.

“We are delighted to support the School of Cities' inaugural global workshop, with representatives from partner organizations from around the world,” says Ted Sargent, U of T’s vice-president, international. 

“By investing in the development of a knowledge exchange hub of innovative urban experts, we will lay the foundation to create meaningful, scalable collaborations,” 

Matti Siemiatycki, the School of Cities’ interim director and an associate professor of geography and planning, says many universities worldwide have launched urban institutes with a mandate to undertake innovative and ambitious interdisciplinary research, education and community engagement initiatives.

“We’re bringing these institutes together for the first time to explore how we can work together, collaboratively, so that all of us can have an impact on a global scale,” he says.

Representatives at the workshop, which received support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, will share and discuss some of their most ambitious urban research, education and engagement projects.

“This is the first step in building an international global urban network, to help deepen global knowledge exchange and spur new inter-institutional collaborations,” says Siemiatycki. “We see potential for joint teaching initiatives, global data sets, worldwide university-city-community partnerships, in addition to research mobilization.”

The final part of the meeting will allow institutes and invited practitioners to engage with the Urban Project, a national initiative that brings together civic leaders across the country to identify strategies to address pressing urban challenges.

“We’re bringing practitioners into the room to help co-create what a global network can be, what would be useful to the world of practice, broadly speaking, and how we can develop ideas that would be mutually beneficial.”

“This meeting will drive collaborations and outcomes that are larger than any of us could do alone.”