Fall 2021 Graduate Planning Timetable

The below timetable is subject to change.

MSc Pl students should review Concentrations in Planning when selecting courses.

Fall session courses begin on September 9, 2021. In keeping with direction from the Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science, instructors for in-person courses will be asked to make the first two weeks of meetings (until Sept 23) available online to accommodate any students who may have delays arriving in Toronto. Further details about online access during this period will be provided by instructors.

Students can access course materials on Quercus.

Building locations can be found on the STG campus map.

Course Code Course Title Instructor Day/Time Room Syllabus
PLA1101H Planning History, Thought & Practice N. Subramanyam Wednesdays, 1-4pm SS2111 PLA1101H Syllabus Fall 2021
PLA1102H Planning Decision Methods I M. Siemiatycki Tuesdays, 12-3pm SS2111 PLA1102H Syllabus Fall 2021
PLA1106H Workshop in Planning Practice M. Berquist, T. Ross Tuesdays, 5-8pm Online PLA1106H Syllabus Fall 2021
PLA1107Y Current Issues Paper (Fall and Winter sessions) L. Stephens Mondays, 9-11am WW119 PLA1107Y Syllabus Fall 2021
PLA1108H Communication in the Face of Power L. Stephens Thursdays, 9am-12pm OI2296  
PLA2000H Advanced Planning Theory (PhD) S. Ruddick Wednesdays, 3-5pm Online  
PLA2001H Planning Colloquium (PhD - Fall and Winter sessions) S. Ruddick TBD (instructor to consult with students) Online  
JGE1425H Livelihoods, Poverty and Environment in the Developing Countries C. Abiziad Tuesdays, 11am-1pm SS5017A JGE1425H Syllabus Fall 2021
JPG1400H Advanced Quantitative Methods C. Higgins Tuesdays, 10am-1pm Online JPG1400H Syllabus Fall 2021
JPG1512H Place, Politics and the Urban A. Walks Thursdays, 3-6pm Online JPG1512H Syllabus Fall 2021
JPG1522H Production of Space K. Goonewardena Wednesdays, 10am-1pm SS5017A  
PLA1525H Urban, Regional, and Community Economic Development J. Spicer Mondays, 4-6pm SS5017A PLA1525H Syllabus Fall 2021
JPG1616H The Cultural Economy D. Leslie Mondays, 11am-1pm SS5017A JPG1616H Syllabus Fall 2021
PLA1652H Introductory Studio in Urban Design and Planning K. Goonewardena Tuesdays, 9:00am-12:00pm and Thursdays, 2-5pm SS617  
PLA1656H Land Use Planning J. Cantos, R. Gomes Mondays, 6-8pm Online PLA1656H Syllabus Fall 2021
PLA1703H Transportation Planning and Infrastructure M. Siemiatycki Mondays, 1-3pm MP118 PLA1703H Syllabus Fall 2021
JPG1809H Spaces of Work: Value, Identity, Agency and Justice M. Buckley Mondays, 1-4pm SS5017A JPG1809H Syllabus Fall 2021
JPG1818H The Geography and Planning of Climate Action and Activism S. Ruddick Thursdays, 12-3pm Online JPG1818H Syllabus Fall 2021
JPG2150H Special Topics - Toronto Urban Landscapes Field Course: Planning, politics, and development. P. Hess Fridays, 1-3pm, field tours will extend beyond 3pm end time. SS5017A JPG2150H Syllabus Fall 2021

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Course Descriptions

PLA1101H – Planning History, Thought & Practice

This course introduces master’s students to key ideas in planning history, thought and practice. We explore concepts and practices across social, economic, environmental, urban design and transportation planning. We consider longstanding debates in planning such as those around expertise, knowledge and process, and the varied paths planners take to build a better city. Theory is grounded in case studies and historical examples and guest speakers working in planning help us think about these ideas in relation to practice.

PLA1102H – Planning Decision Methods I

Concepts and techniques of planning problem solving in both the public and private sectors are the concern of this course. What is the structure of decision problems? What type of information is needed to make decisions? How do planners make decisions in situations where there are multiple objectives and multiple stakeholders? How do we know whether a program, plan or policy is fulfilling its objectives?

PLA1106H – Workshop in Planning Practice

Students are expected to apply the insights, skills and techniques acquired during the first year of study to a number of case studies and assignments drawn from different planning contexts. As in a professional office, students will work in teams to obtain experience in cooperative action and in the management of time and effort. Projects will be selected in order to expose students to the complexity of real problems, and to suggest the range of policy and planning issues which students might encounter after graduation. Senior practitioners in the Toronto region also work with students in the Workshop.

PLA1107Y – Current Issues Paper

Each student will prepare a planning report addressing a current planning issue in the student’s specialization. The topic will be formulated jointly by the student and a faculty advisor and written in consultation with professionals in the field. The final report will be presented to an evaluation panel of faculty and visiting professional planners. In preparation for the writing of the report, students will meet regularly during the fall term in order to develop further their ability to fashion practical and effective arguments. Practicing professionals will be invited to the class to participate in these sessions and to discuss strategies formulated in response to the professional challenges encountered.

PLA1108H – Communication in the Face of Power

As has been widely documented in Planning Theory (e.g., John Forester, Planning in the Face of Power, year), planning action entails complex navigation of fields of power. Even within notoriously rigid bureaucratic systems, planners routinely engage strategies to subvert power, communicate counter-hegemonic information, and build coalitions for progressive change across unlikely constituencies. These strategies require communication skills for organizing and developing political strategy in the face of structural inequality and oppression, including race, class, gender, sexuality and disability. At the same time, planners also routinely interface with communities, whether from inside (organizing processes for citizen participation) or outside (as community-based planners) the bureaucracy. In so doing, they require skills in community engagement, community-based research, participatory action research, political strategy, participatory planning, indigenous planning, working with Indigenous rights holders, anti-oppression thinking and decolonial thinking. To do all of this communication labor effectively, planners require skills oriented to communicating strategy and results, including the use of digital tools, writing for non-professional audiences (e.g. op-edits), story-telling, and making podcasts, creative writing or theatre, and so on. This course spans the gamut of communication skills required for planners committed to the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion, working to promote social justice in communities, cities and regions.  

PLA2000H – Advanced Planning Theory

In this course we collaboratively map the territory of planning theory, exploring and describing those areas of the theoretical landscape that resonate with your research and practice. We draw on interdisciplinary literature and philosophies, grounded in case studies. The role of the planning academic and our responsibility to urban issues are discussed. Themes of transformation, policy and power, representation and culture, displacement and inequity, public space and urban form, mobility and movement are woven throughout.

PLA2001H – Planning Colloquium

This is a CR/NCR seminar series in which faculty members, students and invited speakers will present and discuss the findings of their current research.

JGE1425H – Livelihoods, Poverty and Environment in the Developing Countries

The livelihoods of the rural (and in some cases the urban) poor in the developing world are closely connected to the environment. Hundreds of millions of people, including many indigenous and other traditional peoples, rely directly upon natural resources, at least in part, for their subsistence and often, also, for market income. For many of them, access to such resources is a matter of survival-of life or death, a way of life, or the hope for a better future for them or for their children. Although the livelihoods of these peoples are sometimes regarded as having a negative impact on the environment, more recently, many of them are being heralded as models for biodiversity conservation and sustainable resource. A better understanding of how the rural (and urban) poor make a living -their livelihoods- is considered key to addressing issues of poverty and sustainable resource use, and also for environmental change mitigation and adaptation. This course seeks to develop an understanding of livelihoods among the poor in developing countries, with a focus on how assets, social relations and institutions shape livelihood opportunities in the present and into the future. More broadly, attention will be paid to the ways in which livelihoods are connected to the environment, but also to economic and political processes, with an eye to gain insight on their potential for poverty alleviation, sustainable resource use, and environmental change mitigation/adaptation. The course will also explore emerging areas of inquiry in livelihoods research.

JPG1400H – Advanced Quantitative Methods

Spatial Analysis consists of set of techniques used for statistical modeling and problem solving in Geography. As such, it plays an integral role in the detection of spatial processes and the identification of their causal factors. It is therefore a key component in one’s preparation for applied or theoretical quantitative work in GIScience, Geography, and other cognate disciplines. Space, of course, is treated explicitly in spatial analytical techniques, and the goal of many methods is to quantify the substantive impact of location and proximity on human and environmental processes in space.

JPG1512H – Place, Politics and the Urban

The course examines the relationship between geography, politics, and governance. In particular, it seeks to interrogate the theoretical importance of place, space and urban form in the production of political and social values, practices, strategies, and discourses, and in turn, analyze the implications of the place-politics nexus for understanding shifts in the direction and form of urban policy, governance and citizenship. The course begins with a broad examination of the theoretical bases for linking place and politics, particularly as this relates to the construction of urban and non-urban places, with literature drawn from a number of sources, including geography, urban studies, political science, and planning theory. The course then examines a number of specific cases, from gentrification as a political practice, to the politics of homelessness and anti-panhandling legislation, and the political geography of regional planning and municipal amalgamation, that inform and challenge our understanding of the relationship between place and political praxis.

JPG1522H – Production of Space

This seminar investigates articulations of aesthetic, technological and political forces in the production of space—understood as the triad of ‘conceived space’, ‘perceived space’ and ‘lived space’, following Henri Lefebvre’s influential theorization in The Production of Space. With reference to intellectual resources drawn from several strands of critical theory, space figures here as something radically contested, and dialectically related to social relations. The work of artists, architects, planners, geographers, scientists, technocrats and politicians, along with influential conceptions such as ‘modernism’, ‘avant-garde’, ‘culture industry’, ‘spectacle’, ‘alienation’, ‘governmentality’, ‘subjectivity’, ‘ideology’, ‘decolonization’, ‘utopia’ and ‘revolution’ will feature prominently in this course, in order to theorize how space and society are co-produced, and why various political projects—capitalist, nationalist, fascist, colonial, socialist, feminist—are also spatial projects. As such, the prime objective of this course will be to develop critical-theoretical as well as conjunctural awareness of aesthetic, technological and political mediations of the socio-spatial dialectic–with special attention to the work of architects, urban designers, planners and geographers in the context of subaltern citizens pursuing their ‘right to the city’. 

PLA1525H – Urban, Regional, and Community Economic Development

This course surveys urban, regional, and community economic development theories and planning practices, with a focus on North America in comparative perspective. Coverage includes orthodox and neoclassical theories from economic geography, urban economics, and political science/sociology, which provide the rationale for people-centric, place-based, and institutionally-oriented economic development plans and policies. Heterodox and community-oriented alternatives are also examined. Using real-life cases, we review cluster strategies, enterprise zones/districts, labour and capital relocation incentives, regional and anchor institution strategies, workforce development systems, community benefit agreements, living wage policies, local hiring/procurement preferences, and community/cooperative ownership models. This course is restricted to students in Geography & Planning Programs. Students from outside the department must contact the instructor for permission to enrol.

JPG1616H – The Cultural Economy

This course examines the so-called “cultural turn” in economic geography, often referred to as “the new economic geography”. We will begin by considering various ways of theorizing the relationship between culture and economy. After reflecting upon the historical antecedents of contemporary understandings of this relationship, we will explore selected themes in the cultural economy literature such as cultural industries, consumption, economic discourse, work cultures, governmentality and commodity chains/actor networks.

PLA1652H – Introductory Studio in Urban Design and Planning

This studio course introduces the basic principles and skills of urban design to students from various backgrounds by working through exercises of sketching, research and design involving such challenges of planning as housing, public space and transportation in their relation to the politics and aesthetics of urban form.

PLA1656H – Land Use Planning

This course introduces students to the statutory and non-statutory components of the planning process, including issues and implications of various planning policies and tools, and the role and responsibilities of key stakeholders. The course provides students with a foundation in the planning framework in Ontario, through a review of the intent of legislation and policy, and a critical discussion of the application of policy to current issues and case studies. With an emphasis on several issues of relevance to municipalities in the Toronto region, it also reviews planning approaches from cities around the world. The course focuses on land-use planning but also explores other key considerations and issues in the planning process.

PLA1703H – Transportation Planning and Infrastructure

Infrastructure is the term that describes the transportation systems, sewers, pipes, power lines, health, education, justice and recreation facilities that provide urban dwellers with necessary public services. In recent years, billions of dollars of public money have been spent upgrading existing transportation systems and infrastructure assets, and planning and delivering new facilities. Infrastructure has many impacts on the way that people in cities live. The way that transportation and infrastructure systems are planned, financed, and distributed impact on environmental sustainability, job creation, social equity, economic development, and urban livability. Moreover, infrastructure has the potential to both serve existing populations, and shape the way that future communities are built. Through lectures, discussions, workshops, readings of scholarly articles and case studies, the course will aim to engage students in the key topics and debates related to the provision of urban transportation systems and infrastructure. Topics to be covered will include: project planning, causes and cures for cost overruns, financing mechanisms such as public-private partnerships, and the politics of facility planning and management.

JPG1809H – Spaces of Work: Value, Identity, Agency, Justice

This course will introduce students to Marxist, feminist, anticolonial and intersectional perspectives on ‘work’ in the twenty-first century. A key intention of this course is to prompt students to examine what forms of work – and also whose work – has been taken into account in geographical scholarship and to explore a number of prominent debates concerning labour, work and employment within geography over the last three decades. In doing so we will engage with foundational political economy texts on the relations of labour under capitalism, and texts within geography and sociology on work, labour, place and space. We will also examine a number of broad economic and cultural shifts in the nature of contemporary work and employment such as de-industrialization, the feminization of labour markets and service sector work, neoliberalization and the rise of the ‘precariat’. At the same time, students will be prompted to consider critiques of some of these ‘transformational’ narratives to probe the colonial, patriarchal, and capitalist continuities shaping the contours of contemporary work. In this sense this is not an exhaustive course on labour and work in geography, but rather a series of discrete introductions to key scholarly arguments about work, often followed by a range of responses to those arguments in the following week.  The course will touch on a broad range of topics, including unfree labour, labour organizing, precarious employment and social reproductive work which are tied together by four overarching themes that run through the course – value, identity, agency and justice. Overall this course aims to give students the chance to explore not only how work has been conceptualized and studied in geography, but how it could be.

JPG1818H – The Geography and Planning of Climate Action and Activism

In the face of growing concerns around the climate crisis and its immediate and long-term impacts on our planet, organizations focused on activism and action have mushroomed locally and globally – from the very local scale to the international scale. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to range of tools critical to successful peaceful social mobilization (both within and outside of the state). The course draws on a range of scholarly literature on effective strategies of social mobilization – from geography, planning and cognate disciplines — as well as a range resources from social movement organizations. Though focused on questions of climate activism in the Canadian context we often incorporate lessons learned from other kinds of social movements in other locales. Students will be encouraged to focus on context dependent appraisal  of the challenges and opportunities afforded by different approaches to mobilization around the climate crisis. While there is a long tradition of scholarly study on the relative efficacy of different approaches to social mobilization, to the best of my knowledge no such course in relation to climate activism exists at the Univeristy of Toronto, although there are several courses across the sciences, social sciences and humanities that address the climate crisis. Each year we connect with non-government organizations – sometimes locally, sometimes internationally – that focus on climate justice. As part of the course assignments, students will collaborate with these organizations to develop documents (e.g. reports, infographics, blogs) to assist them in their work.

JPG2150H – Special Topics, Toronto Urban Landscapes Field Course: Planning, Politics, and Development

This course examines the planning history of Toronto’s post-war landscapes using local field trips linked to readings and seminars. Using historical perspectives on the changing character of selected areas, the course explores the planning, creation, reproduction, and evolution of the city’s landscapes over time. The course will focus on the political economy of modernist planning and urbanism, metropolitan development, and the key dynamics of urban change in Toronto after 1945 with attention paid to the role of changing ideas about planning and normative models of built form. Themes such as changing social geographies, polarization, and gentrification will also be addressed. The first two sessions will be virtual, followed by five field trips and a follow-up seminar. The remaining weeks of the semester will be for researching final research papers and individual meetings with the instructor.