Winter 2024 Graduate Planning Timetable

The below timetable is subject to change.  

Courses marked with an asterisk (*) are offered through affiliated departments. Please contact the host department for enrolment instructions.  

Geography & Planning students have priority enrolment for courses. Course enrolment for students from other departments is available online via Acorn on August 2, 2023.  

For JPG courses, the department does not require any forms from students outside the department – if space is available students are welcome to enroll using ACORN. If space is not available, students will be added to the enrolment waitlist. If your home department requires a signature in order to approve your enrollment please send the form by email to (for JPG courses).  

Core PLA courses are restricted to planning students only. Priority for all other PLA courses will be for students in the planning program. Students from other programs must contact the department for permission to enrol – we will consider requests starting mid-August.  

Students can access course materials on Quercus.  

Building locations for STG can be found on the STG campus map

Winter session courses begin on January 8, 2024 and end on April 6, 2024. 

Course Code Course Title Instructor Day Time  Concentrations 
PLA1103H Legal Bases of Planning  I. Andres and M. Laskin Tues.  6:00pm - 9:00pm  CORE MSc Pl yr 1
PLA1601H Environmental Planning in a Changing Climate N. Subramanyam Mon. 3:00pm - 6:00pm  ENV
PLA1105H Planning Decision Methods II T. Chakraborty Tues.  9:00am - 12:00pm CORE MSc Pl yr 1
PLA1107Y Current Issues Paper L. Stephens Wed. 10:00am - 12:00pm  CORE MSc Pl yr 2
PLA 1516H Developing Affordable Housing From Start to Finish J. Shim Wed. 12:00pm - 2:00pm  
PLA1517H Special Topics Course: The Changing Cultures of Regent Park A. Metha Thurs.  4:00pm - 7:00pm   
PLA1653H Advanced Studio in Urban Design and Planning S. Ghanbarzadeh Mon. 12:00pm -3:00pm UDSpatialP
Wed. 2:00pm -5:00pm
PLA1552H Leadership & Management for Planners J. Farrow Thurs.  10:00am - 12:00pm TPI
PLA1651H Real Estate Development P. Zimmerman Wed. 5:00pm - 7:00pm EDP
PLA1702H Pedestrians, Streets and Public Space P. Hess Fri. 10:00am - 1:00pm TPI
PLA1751H Finance for Planners C. Binning Mon.  9:00am - 11:00am   
JPG1130H Qualitative Data Analysis: Coding, Interpreting, And Writing Qualitative Research  Z. Hyde Mon. 1:00pm - 3:00pm  
JPG1429H The Political Ecology of Food and Agriculture M. Ekers Wed. 11:00am 1:00pm ENV
JPG1504H Institutionalism and Cities: space, governance, property & power A. Sorensen Tues. 1:00pm - 3:00pm SPP/EDP
JPG1812Y Planning for Change T. Ross Fri. 1:00pm - 3:00pm  
JPG1817H Geographies of Drug Use: History, Power and Space   M. Hunter Tues. 3:00pm - 5:00pm   
JPG1818H Climate Action and Activism K. Kumar Wed. 2:00pm - 4:00pm  
JPG1813H Social Planning and Policy  T. Redden Tues. 3:00pm - 6:00pm  SPP
JPG1816H Geographies of Secularism and Islam  H. Arik Mon.  3:00pm - 5:00pm   
JPG1825H Black Geographies of the Atlantic R. Goffe Tues. 11:00am - 2:00pm SPP
JPG1828H Place and Indigenous Research N. Latulippe Fri. 11:00am - 1:00pm ENV
PLA1655H/URD1044HS Urban Design and Development R. Freedman Mon. 6:00pm - 9:00pm  
URD1505H Selected Topics in Urban Design - Public Engagement in Urban Design  L. Cappe Thurs. 9:00am - 12:00pm   

Concentration column indicates the MScPl Concentration to which the elective may be applied; students are welcome to consult the concentration advisors about the relationship between a particular course and a concentration, if they wish to take courses outside the department toward completion of their concentrations, and/or if a particular course is not being offered and they wish to find a substitute appropriate for a concentration. 

Course Descriptions 


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?  

PLA1103H Legal Basis of Planning 

This course examines the legal basis of planning, including the relevant legislation, bylaws and policies that guide planning in the Province of Ontario. Part I of the course introduces you to the basics of planning law — in essence, how to distinguish between law and policy, how to read case law, and understanding the role of the courts. Part II focuses on planning law in action, including understanding how legal issues affect the day-to-day life of planners, a field trip, and guest speakers. In Part III we will take a close look at current issues and problems in planning law, including indigenous-municipal planning relationships, the Places to Grow legislation, and the zoning of rooming houses. 

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 the bureaucracy (organizing processes for citizen participation) or outside of it (as community-based planners). 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 explores a range of communication skills required for planners committed to the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion, and working to promote social justice in communities, cities and regions It responds to the Planning Program’s mission, which includes a “commitment to humane city-regions, healthy environments and social well-being for everyone (especially, for those who have been historically marginalized through traditional development practices),” by advocating for equitable and community driven transformations in both the planning profession and the spaces for which we plan.  " 

PLA1516H Special Topics: Developing Affordable Housing From Start to Finish

Developing Affordable Housing From Start to Finish’ is a graduate level elective course developed by the School of Cities and the Department of Geography & Planning at the University of Toronto.  This is a multi-disciplinary course open to students from graduate programs in planning, business, architecture, urban design, engineering and other related disciplines, and although there are no formal prerequisites, students should possess a basic knowledge of either housing, finance or design.

In this interactive, hands-on studio course, students will work collaboratively in groups to prepare affordable housing development proposals for sites in Toronto owned by not-for-profit community groups.  Each group will test out different architectural and urban design approaches for their sites and explore various financing models in order to make their proposed affordable housing projects financially feasible.

In the first half of the course, students will gain fundamental skills in financial analysis, design, planning and zoning to guide their groups in preparing two development schemes for each site.  Clients (non-profit community groups) will select their preferred design approach, which each group will then continue to design and develop in detail in the last half of the course.  At the end of the term, each group will submit a final development proposal, including the housing development strategy, planning rationale, building massing and elevations, financial feasibility analysis, development proforma and cash flow, and risk analysis.

This is a very hands-on, practical course where each group will operate like a development company and experience addressing all the challenges and complexities of planning and developing a site from start to finish for affordable housing.  Students will also understand and appreciate the importance of close collaboration and interplay among several disciplines, including architecture, planning, business and construction, in order to develop a successful project.  We will also have guest speakers from the industry in every class to share real-work experience and insights

PLA1552H Leadership and Management for Planners 

Shaping cities and communities of tomorrow demands a blend of technical expertise and the art of effective leadership and management. This course is designed to equip you with the tools to bridge the gap between knowledge and impactful implementation within the realm of urban and regional planning. Whether you are an aspiring planner with a passion for shaping sustainable cities, an environmental advocate seeking to drive change, or a real estate specialist aiming to develop liveable urban space this course will provide a foundation for becoming a visionary leader and an adept manager.

Leadership in today's complex landscape demands pragmatic visioning paired with strategic decision-making. To thrive in this environment, you'll need sound technical knowledge along with management skills These skills include the ability to motivate professionals, build cohesive teams, structure organizations, navigate diversity, manage projects, and communicate persuasively.

The classes will be seminars featuring guided discussions on the latest urban issues, theory, and practice. These discussions will be enhanced with real-world case studies drawn from across Canada and around the world. In these case studies, you will engage in role-playing to hone your analytical, problem-solving, and persuasive communication skills. To explore the variety of roles planners, play several guest speakers will be invited to share their experiences.

This course is designed to enable the development of personal leadership, communication, and problem-solving abilities so that you can become an effective leader of teams that will shape the cities and communities of tomorrow.

PLA1601H Environmental Planning 

"The scope of environmental planning has expanded significantly in recent decades, beyond its initial focus on wilderness preservation or environmental impact management, to include planning for climate change adaptation, resiliency, disaster recovery, and transitions to a just green economy. However, the profession grapples with enduring problems like planning for green spaces in marginalized communities, developing and retrofitting infrastructure for clean water provision, stormwater management, and waste disposal, addressing pollution and hazardous waste disposal, and preventing sprawl. In addition, global interconnections have complicated the scope of problems that need to be addressed and created opportunities for learning and cooperation across contexts. This course introduces students to key concepts, issues, tools, practices, and controversies in environmental planning in the North American context with examples, comparisons, and interconnections drawn from international cases in selected modules. Through course materials, students will confront planning’s culpability in contributing to environmental racism and learn about radical alternatives that propose just and transformative change. The course largely focuses on urban contexts, but we will approach issues and corresponding solutions critically to question their possibilities and limits in a global, interconnected world confronting the growing impacts of climate change.  

This course actively centers the aims of the Graduate Planning Program Mission. It enables students to examine the tensions and synergies between theory and practice in the subfield of environmental planning. It also equips students to develop planning ideas that envision “sustainable, accessible, beautiful and just” places. " 

PLA1651H Real Estate Development 

Provides an overview of the Canadian and U.S. development industry within the real estate development process. The course then covers the financial basis of urban development projects (private and public finance); the participants; land assembly procedures; land banking; mixed-use projects; sectoral and scale differences within the development industry market and locational search procedures. Finally, it addresses the interface of the industry with the public sector. 

PLA1653H Advanced Studio in Urban Design and Planning 

This course is an advanced version of PLA 1652H. Emphasis will be placed on research applications to urban design, and the use of computer-generated images for design and presentation purposes. 

PLA1655H Urban Design & Development 

This course looks at urban design strategies in the context of planning processes. It introduces students to a broad array of contemporary Canadian and U.S. municipal and regional design control policies and implementation tools, focusing on the most innovative and successful approaches but also examining lesser approaches and the structural constraints and value choices associated with them. Connections between design control policy and design outcomes are critically examined within the context of individual case studies. 

PLA1703H Transportation Planning 

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, exclusion, economic development, and urban livability. Now the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the provision and usage of transportation and infrastructure, with dramatic impacts on communities and their futures. 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 in a post-pandemic world. Topics to be covered will include: project planning, causes and cures for cost overruns, infrastructure and its impacts on equity and social exclusion, financing mechanisms such as public-private partnerships, and the politics of facility planning and management. 

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. 

JPG1429H Political Ecology of Food and Agriculture 

Agrifood systems, connecting production and consumption, markets and various types of agrarian labour, are undergoing profound social and ecological change. Among these developments are large-scale land grabs, the financialization of food and farming, challenges to settler agriculture and the resurgence of indigenous food systems, the emergence of robust ‘urban’ and ‘rural’ alternatives to industrial and colonial agriculture. In trying to make sense of these changes, and the various social movements that have emerged in their wake, this course deploys the related paradigms of agrarian political economy and political ecology to analyze the forces and social relations that define land-based and food-focused transformations, both historically and in the contemporary moment. The course examines the often forgotten roots of contemporary debates in political ecology and food, that is, the enduring agrarian question.  The agrarian question examines the extent to which capital has transformed agricultural production and the degrees to which producers have been able to resist dispossession and the industrialization and capitalization of agriculture. The course starts with foundational perspectives on the agrarian question from the early 20th century before discussing the renaissance of these debates in the 1970s and 1980s and the emergence during this time of political ecology as a critical approach to the study of food and land-based practices.  Updating these earlier debates the course tackles a number of defining contemporary developments, as noted above, that are reshaping the meaning and character of land and food. 

JPG1502H Global Urbanism and Cities of the Global South 

In this course we will critically examine “global urbanism” while paying explicit attention to how cities of global South have been studied, understood and depicted in global urban research. In the past two decades, influential policymakers have promulgated the “global cities” paradigm, which frames 21st century urbanism in global terms. According to the “global cities” paradigm “global” cities of the North, such as New York, London and Tokyo are at the pinnacle of globalization.  In contrast, cities of the global South are consistently portrayed as “mega” cities that are disorderly, polluted, chaotic, ungovernable, and marked by infrastructure collapse. In short, cities of the global South are mega cities with mega problems. In this course we will begin by examining policy-oriented as well as academic literature 

JPG1504H Institutionalism and Cities: Space, Governance, Property & Power 

This course focuses on the role of institutions in shaping processes of urban change, governance and planning. The premise of the course is that cities are extraordinarily densely institutionalized spaces, and that the formal study of institutions, and processes of institutional continuity and change will be productive for both planners and urban geographers. The course reviews the New Institutionalist literature in Political Science, Sociology, Economic Geography, and Planning Studies, with a focus on Historical Institutionalist concepts, and develops a conceptual framework for the application of institutionalist theory to urban space. The claim is that an understanding of institutions is revealing of power dynamics in urban governance, is valuable for understanding urban governance and planning in international comparative perspective, and provides a valuable perspective on urban property systems. 

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’. 

JPG1615H Planning the Social Economy 

What would it take to build a ‘social economy,’ an economy rooted in the principles of social justice, democratic governance and local self-reliance? What are the progressive and regressive implications of such an undertaking? JPG 1615 will explore these questions both theoretically and practically. Theoretically, with recourse to some canonical and more recent writings about the interface between ‘society’ and ‘economy’. Practically, the course will look at what role municipal governments could and do play in building the social economy. The case of social housing in the GTA serves as an example—as well as a context for learning about key tools in local economic development. The course will also consider how communities and neighbourhoods are growing increasingly active in developing alternative economic institutions, such as cooperatives, participatory budgets and community development financial institutions in order to institutionalize the social economy at the local scale. 

JPG1813H Social Planning and Policy 

"The world is seeing a clear resurgence of the urgency of directly and explicitly addressing the needs of equity deserving groups in a way that builds on but goes beyond the remit of identity politics. We now have a much richer understanding of the socially structurally and institutionally embedded nature of identity politics -- rather than simply the false assignation of identity as constituted through biology, movements like Black Lives Matter, Idle No More, CRIP and MAD movements, etc., have brought a deeper understanding of how policy planning and practice perpetuate structures of inequality. Key to a justice approach to social policy and planning is understanding how policy shapes a landscape of inclusion and exclusion and how ordinary people come to be “read”, rightly or wrongly, as particular subjects based on the prescriptive aspects of policy.    

We are now at a moment when diverse social movements are beginning to take upon themselves the reimagining or promotion of much more ambitious alternative modes of governance, which would replace rather than simply amend existing structures.  This can be found in widespread calls the redesign of institutional landscapes, from defunding of the police to expansive programs of truth and reconciliation. This course in social policy and planning calls upon us to rethink participation, consultation, experiential knowledge and our engagement as planners with existing power structures – this is not the moment to abandon social planning, but the time to reinvent it." 

JPG1814H Cities and Immigrants 

Globalization processes and changes in immigration laws in recent decades have led to an upsurge in cross-border movement of people and ushered in sequential waves of immigration from various regions of the world to Canada and the U.S. Cities and their adjoining metropolitan areas are the biggest beneficiaries of these changing dynamics where immigrants are important contributors to economic growth and social reinvigoration. This course will examine the dynamics and changing patterns of immigrant integration in cities and urban locations. Topics of focus will include theories of immigrant integration, socio-spatial patterns of immigrant settlements in cities, labour market participation, socio-cultural identity formation and transnational engagements. The course will rely on contemporary examples and case studies to provide a deeper understanding of how immigrants are shaping dynamics within cities. 

JPG1825H Black Geographies of the Atlantic 

"Beyond a physical region, the Atlantic can be understood as a site through which techniques for the exploitation of land, people and the environment emerged, with enduring implications for world trajectories. This course traces a genealogy of contested spacetimes spanning the colonial state, the plantation, and urban neighborhoods and streets. We learn about representations of Blackness as they are made and remade through time such as: the “dangerous Blacks” of the Haitian revolution; the British West Indian ex-slave “unwilling"" to work; a sanitized version of the Black small farmer; the anti-colonialist land invader; and the “illegal squatter” who is no longer recognized as a descendant of Black refusal. Among the traditions we explore are rebellion, revolution, and quotidian acts of place-making through farming, fishing, street vending, beauty services, taxi operation, masquerade, and dwelling. Through these representations and practices we explore the epistemologies of this ongoing encounter and also work to uncover the gendering of complex racial formations. 

The course is formed through the lens of Black Geographies, an interdisciplinary approach that acknowledges (1) the spatial and cultural productions of Black people as significant and coherent critiques of dominance and injustice; (2) the visions of alternate futures for the world within these critiques; and (3) the centrality of Black geographies to the way the world works—not at the margins, but as co-producers of space." 

JPG1909H Advanced GIS Data Processing 

This course will complement the existing data analysis and quantitative methods courses currently being taught in the department. It will strengthen and broaden both the theoretical basis and skillsets available to graduate students in geography and urban planning for advanced data analysis in GIS. By introducing both the theory and application of up-to-date data analysis techniques and the state of art of GIS data processing, this course will fill a significant gap in our curriculum.   

JPG2150H Special Topics: Qualitative Data Analysis - Coding, Interpreting, and Writing Qualitative Research 

This course will train students to analyze qualitative data and write up findings from their research. It is designed for students who have already taken a qualitative methods course that provides training on data collection, such as interviewing, ethnographic observation, conducting focus groups, or discourse analysis. Our course will focus exclusively on the data analysis and writing phase and will help students to work with and interpret their data. Students should come to the course with original data they will work with over the span of the semester. This can be Masters students working with their thesis data, or PhD students who would like to work with or publish from their Masters research. Students can also come to the course with data from a pilot project that they are conducting in advance of their dissertation fieldwork, or from a project they are working on as a research assistant. Sources of original qualitative data include: individual interviews, focus group interviews, ethnographic fieldnotes, or textual materials (such as news articles, policy documents, or online content). This course will introduce qualitative data analysis as a collaborative process that happens through intensive engagement, sharing, and revising of one’s ideas and arguments. Thus, the class will involve a series of workshop and writing activities. Students will comment on each other’s work in class and through written peer-review exercises. Conceptualizing qualitative research as a community effort, we will spend significant time learning how to provide and receive helpful feedback and build peer support networks while in grad school. 

URD1505H Selected Topics in Urban Design: Public Engagement in Urban Design 

This course will be delivered in a seminar format and will familiarize students with the critical role that public engagement plays in contemporary architecture, city-building, planning, landscape, and urban design. Students will develop an understanding, learn methodologies and skills, analyse case studies, and acquire a keen appreciation for well-designed and meaningful public engagement. Successful engagement can lead to more successful design outcomes for city residents as well as for public/private proponents of development and place-making projects.

JSE1708H Sustainability and the Western Mind 

This course will examine how attitudes towards human nature and non-human nature have changed over the period from Mesolithic times until the present, in Western society. By reading and discussing historical arguments and contemporary documents we will attempt to uncover the underlying assumptions about the world that were characteristic of different periods in the history of Western culture. The underlying question is whether contemporary concerns about sustainability require fundamental changes in the way we conceive of ourselves and our environment.