Announcing the new Global Cities Institute at the University of Toronto

The John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design is pleased to announce the Global Cities Institute (GCI), a new research centre at the University of Toronto. This cross-disciplinary initiative aims to harness our rapidly expanding global network to secure a better future for cities around the world.

There is a massive increase in the number of people moving to and living in cities. The global urban population is projected to reach close to 5 billion by 2030, resulting in significant challenges, enormous opportunities, and catalytic change worldwide. How will our cities accommodate this growth, and who will envision its effects? The GCI will examine how to best identify and act on the key factors that will ensure sustainable urbanization and prosperity across cities and nations throughout the globe.

“The Global Cities Institute will launch a democratic, global conversation that crosses political, social, economic and disciplinary boundaries,” says Patricia McCarney, newly appointed Director of the GCI. “We will welcome and seek the perspectives and ideas of political and business leaders, non-profit organizations, international agencies, designers, planners, academics, and the general public to address the core challenges confronting cities globally.”

The GCI will house the Global City Indicators Facility (GCIF). GCIF has already created a knowledge network that connects over 200 cities globally and builds global partnerships across government, universities, international agencies, and industry. The Facility assists cities in drawing comparative lessons from other urban centres world-wide. 

The networks created through the GCI will not only lead to new global partnerships, but will also enable a cross-disciplinary team of researchers, designers, policy-makers, and economists – among others – to model and visualize new, progressive forms of urbanization. To facilitate this, the Institute will include a new Laboratory for Model Cities and an immersive Model Cities Theatre, which will draw on comparative data, insights from the GCIF, and emerging 3D and other visualization techniques to test and project alternate urban forms. 

The GCI will facilitate research and experiment with new ways to increase physical and social mobility, and accommodate increased intensification without compromising happiness, health, and prosperity in our rapidly transforming cities.  

“Our aim is to create an unprecedented design, metrics, visualization, and research-based platform for collaboration between universities, industry, governments, international agencies, and communities to explore solutions to the big picture challenges facing cities and city regions,” says Richard Sommer, Dean of the Daniels Faculty at U of T.

For more information on the Global Cities Institute, please visit

For more information on the Global City Indicators Facility, please visit