You are now in the main content area

Students get a unique glimpse into the city’s inner workings

New course offered through the School of Urban and Regional Planning is part of CivicLabTO, a collaboration between the City of Toronto and GTA universities and colleges
By: Claire Pfeiffer
September 14, 2021
A nighttime skyline view of Toronto with the CN Tower visible

This fall, Ryerson University is participating in CivicLabTO (external link) , a collaboration between the City of Toronto and nine higher-education institutions (HEI) in the GTA, designed to share perspectives and harness collective problem solving to bring about ideas for a more equitable, resilient post-pandemic urban future. 

Central to this collaboration is a common course offered by each HEI involving bi-weekly lectures led by top city staff in planning, public health, planning, finance, transportation, housing, policing, climate change, energy and more. At Ryerson, it is being co-taught by Cherise Burda, Executive Director of City Building Ryerson, and Dr. Pamela Robinson, Director and Professor of the School of Urban and Regional Planning.

The course kicked off after Labour Day with the first City-led lecture, which included insightful discussions with the City Manager, the Deputy Mayor, the City Clerk and top staff on how the city works, how budgets are set and an overview on pandemic recovery. Upcoming classes delve into more topics with similar high-level decision makers, practitioners and experts.

“This course offers a unique opportunity for our students to get under the hood to see how a municipality like Toronto is run, especially in response to the pandemic and how it can plan for the future,” said Burda. 

“The course focus on resilience and recovery is timely. The students’ work will provide important strategic directions to our campus community as we all return to campus. Our neighbourhood has continued to evolve and change while we’ve all been learning and teaching from home. It’s incumbent upon all of us at Ryerson to be neighbours as we come back,” said Robinson.

PLE 745: City of Toronto Recovery and Resilience is offered through the School of Urban and Regional Planning for third-year and fourth-year students. 

The CivicLabTO collaboration also includes research partnerships, a discussion series and a summit in November, featuring some of Ryerson’s city building faculty members.