Concentrations in Planning

The elective component of the MScPl program complements the core curriculum through advanced work in one of the six areas of concentration. The chosen concentration often provides an opportunity to build on the student’s undergraduate education, and anticipates the direction he or she will take in professional life.

Each concentration includes a number of courses which are designed to give a general introduction to the specialization and to permit the development of particular interests within it. Students must, in consultation with their advisors, select at least five half-courses within their chosen concentration, including those designated as mandatory. Students may elect to pursue two concentrations, with the approval of the Planning Director. In this case, double counting of some elective courses may be allowed.

In their plan of study at the end of the first year, students are also asked to identify the subject of their Current Issues Paper (PLA 1107Y). While for accounting purposes this course is considered part of the core curriculum, its subject matter represents a significant part of the student’s area of concentration.

Similarly, concentration themes are usually offered in the Workshop in Planning Practice (PLA 1106H).

For further information about each concentration, please consult the links below:

 

Economic Development Planning

This concentration is concerned with policies and programs that improve livelihoods, create wealth, and increase economic opportunity. Economic development planners work at multiple spatial scales – from the local to the transnational – and in the public, private, and non-profit/social sectors. They are expected to be able to assess how socio-economic, political, and technological forces produce disparities in employment and investment between sectors and locations, and to recommend contextually appropriate strategies in response. These include traditional approaches, such as workforce development programs, incentives, business improvement areas, cluster strategies, and innovation ecosystem development, as well as heterodox community economic development models, from anchor institution strategies to the incubation of community and worker-owned enterprises.

Students choosing this concentration should select at least five half-courses, one of which should be the gateway graduate survey overview of the field;PLA1525H: Urban, Regional, and Community Economic Development.

Recommended Elective Courses:

  • JGE1425H: Livelihoods, Poverty and Environment in the Developing Countries
  • JPG1507H: Housing Markets and Housing Policy Analysis
  • JPG1615H: Planning the Social Economy
  • JPG1616H: The Cultural Economy
  • JPG1809H: Spaces of Work: Value, Identity, Agency, Justice

**As courses on offer vary from year to year, please check with the Concentration Adviser and review the course timetable for relevant available courses.

Students should also take at least one course outside the department, and are encouraged explore course offerings in OISE’s Adult Education and Community Development program, Political Science, Economics, the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources (CIRHR), Industrial Engineering, and Management.

Advisor: Jason Spicer

 

Environmental Planning

This concentration aims to provide an understanding of the environmental factors and processes that affect, or are affected by, nearly all planning decisions, and to prepare planners to pursue sustainable development, manage natural resources and human-nonhuman environmental relations, conduct environmental impact assessments, and craft just environmental plans and policies to adapt to the growing impacts of climate change. Environmental planners work at multiple scales and across sectors with local, regional, and provincial governments, federal agencies, conservation authorities, non-governmental organizations, community groups, and activist movements, integrating plural worldviews and interdisciplinary knowledge in practice.

Students in this concentration will be exposed to traditional environmental planning approaches as well as critical alternatives that seek to dismantle the legacies of environmental racism and injustice. Examples will be drawn from practical experiences in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area (GTHA) as well as other areas in Canada and around the world. Previous course work or experiences in environmental studies and planning are desirable but not required of students entering this concentration.

In addition to the core courses that all MScPl students must complete, this concentration requires that students ALSO complete five half-courses in consultation with the concentration advisor, including:

  • PLA1601H: Introduction to Environmental Planning and Policy

(formerly listed as “Climate Change and Resilience: Planning and Policy”)

and at least two courses from the following list:

  • JGE1425H Livelihoods, Poverty and Environment in the Developing Countries
  • GGR1411H Nature and Justice in the Anthropocene
  • GGR1422H The Geography of Urban Air Pollution
  • JPG1426H Natural Resources, Difference and Conflict
  • JPG1428H Greening the City: Urban Environmental Planning and Management
  • JPG1429H Political Ecology of Food and Agriculture
  • JPG1518H Sustainability and Urban Communities
  • JPG1672H Land and Justice
  • JPG1818H The Geography and Planning of Climate Action and Activism
  • JPG1835H Anti-Colonial Planning
  • ENV1444H Capitalist Nature (Contact School for the Environment for enrolment)
  • JSE1708H Sustainability and the Western Mind (Contact Munk Global Affairs program for enrolment)

As courses on offer vary from year to year, students should check with the Concentration Adviser and review the course timetable for available courses that speak to their interests. Students are also strongly encouraged to explore course offerings at the School of the Environment, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, the Munk School of Global Affairs, and in departments like Anthropology, Political Science, Physical and Environmental Sciences, and Sociology.

Advisor: Nidhi Subramanyam

 

Social Planning and Policy

This concentration focuses on how a range of organizations (both government and non-government) attempt to create more humane and equitable societies in the contemporary context of restructuring policy regimes. It encompasses a wide range of topics from the analysis of the objectives, institutions, policies and decision-making processes of the modern welfare state to the methods for, and dilemmas of the creation of a commons, the planning of social economies, and planning with people for specific services to meet specific needs.

Students may choose to focus on a variety of issues including (but not limited to) programs, policy and community initiatives developed by and for marginalized groups; local, regional, national, and supranational political and economic contexts which shape and, to a lesser extent, are shaped by policy frameworks; the institutional framework of social planning; anti-racist and de-colonial approaches to addressing social issues; and planning for neighborhood services.

Students will select at least five half-courses in consultation with the concentration advisor. Students are advised to complete JPG1813H :Planning and Social Policy, and two courses from the following list:

  • PLA 1551 Policy Analysis   
  • JPG 1511 The Commons: Geography, Planning, Politics
  • JPG 1507 Housing Markets and Housing
  • JPG 1615 Planning and the Social Economy
  • JPG 1812 Planning for Change 
  • JPG 1818 The Geography and Planning of Climate Activism
  • JPG 1825 Black Geographies 
  • JPG 1835 Anti-colonial Planning 

Because of the strengths of other university departments in substantive social policy fields, students in this concentration will be expected to enroll in at least one course outside of the Planning Program, and are encouraged explore course offerings in OISE’s Adult Education and Community Development program, Political Science, Anthropology and the School of Social Work.

Advisor: Sue Ruddick

 

Urban Design

This concentration will prepare MScPl students to practice as planners with specialist knowledge in theories and methods of urban design. Students selecting this field will complete foundational coursework in urban design theory, history, studios and workshops, supplemented by further electives drawn from a wide range of possible courses in the department and beyond.

Students electing the urban design field of concentration will be required to take a total of five courses, including the following required course:

  • PLA1652H: Introductory Studio in Urban Design and Planning

For the remaining four courses of the urban design specialization, the following are recommended but not required; they may be substituted by other courses approved by the urban design specialization coordinator:

  • PLA1653H: Advanced Studio in Urban Design and Planning (pre-requisite PLA1652H)
  • JPG1522H: Production of Space: Aesthetics, Technology, Politics
  • PLA1654H: Urban Design Research Methods
  • JPG2150H: Special Topics—Toronto Urban Landscapes Field Course: Planning, Politics and Development.

Advisor: Kanishka Goonewardena

 

Urban Planning and Development

This concentration is concerned with how planning tools and processes shape the development, redevelopment, and revitalization of the physical fabric of the city as a central concern of professional practice. The concept of the development process is intended to be interpreted broadly, including the political and institutional context within which public decisions are made, and the social and environmental consequences of those decisions. Planners involved in development control work at different scales from developing regional plans for guiding metropolitan growth, to being involved in the development approval processes for individual building sites. They may be involved in such diverse aspects of planning as neighbourhood and district planning, housing policy, public space provision, green development standards, and transit-oriented development policy.

Students choosing this concentration should select at least five half-courses, one of which should be PLA1656 Land Use Planning. As courses on offer vary from year to year, please check with the Concentration Adviser and review the course timetable for relevant available courses.

Students should also take at least one course outside the department and are encouraged explore course offerings in The Daniels School of Architecture and Design’s Urban Design Program, The Dalla Lana School of Public Health, and in Civil Engineering.

Advisor: Paul Hess

 

Transportation Planning and Infrastructure

Transportation and infrastructure are two very important aspects of the planned environment. They are central to the development of healthy sustainable urban places, and also have important implications for the social and physical environments of places outside of the ecumene. This concentration within the MScPl program focusses on developing the capacity in students to understand the dynamic relationship between social, economic and environmental sustainability and the planning, implementation and maintenance of transportation and other forms of physical infrastructure.

To complete this concentration, in addition to the core courses that all MScPl students must complete, this concentration requires that students ALSO complete five half courses including:

  • PLA 1703H: Transportation Planning and Infrastructure
  • JPG1554H: Transportation and Urban Form
  • JPG 1400H: Advanced Quantitative Methods

and two courses from the following list:

  • PLA1601H: Climate Change and Resilience: Planning and Policy
  • PLA1552H: City Planning and Management
  • JPG1428H: Greening the City: Urban Environmental Planning and Management
  • JPG1820H: Disability and the City

Advisor: Matti Siemiatycki