Designing the City of Tomorrow — Are We Thinking Boldly Enough?

This latest session from the Election Issues Series is presented by the Canadian Urban Institute and the Cities Centre, University of Toronto, in collaboration with the Council for Canadian Urbanism, the Design Industry Advisory Committee and the Martin Prosperity Institute, University of Toronto.


Taking place on Thursday, April 15 at Innis Town Hall at the University of Toronto, located at  2 Sussex Avenue, this early morning event runs from 7:45am to 9:45am.


Glenn Miller, Vice-President of Education and Research at CUI, will moderate a panel of speakers including:

* Richard Sommer, Dean, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto

* Anne Mcllroy , Principal, Brook Mcllroy Urban Design + Planning/Pace Architects

* Mark Sterling, Principal, Sweeny Sterling Finlayson & Co Architects Inc.


Although massive investments have been earmarked for Transit City, with possible delayed implementation, is there the political and practical will to start the process of city-building to support future transit? Why doesn’t Toronto have more really beautiful public spaces? What does the recent spike in pedestrian fatalities in the Toronto area have in common with climate change? Who is responsible for the city’s public realm?


The linkages may not be obvious to most city dwellers but the urban designers behind the newly formed Council for Canadian Urbanism (CanU) argue that good urban design — from the micro scale to the scale of the city region — is fundamental to creating sustainable communities with “densities and designs that offer people a convenient range of transportation options — including walking, biking and public transportation — to meet their daily needs.” They argue that cities are the obvious place to begin the task of tackling suburban sprawl, reducing dependency on fossil fuel and ultimately reducing GHG emissions.


Urban designers — architects, planners, engineers, landscape architects and others — work in the public and private sectors within the spaces that make the city work but also guide the vision for the shape and structure of the city. So getting decision-makers and the public alike to discuss issues like safe, attractive streetscapes, reimagine the spaces around Tower Renewal and find ways to marry urban form and transit in an effective, efficient and beautiful way is a priority.


With municipal elections on the horizon, can this debate challenge the candidates to put forward bold visions for the future that knit together city and suburb? Can our panelists convince politicians that excellence in urban design is an investment, not a cost? To answer these and many other questions, join those at the session for a spirited debate with an expert panel on the kind of actions that will fundamentally shape the look, feel and function of Toronto and its neighbours for decades to come.


For more information, please visit