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Center for Metropolitan Studies Podcast: Interview with Roger Keil

Professor Roger Keil speaks to International Graduate College (IGK) Fellow Lisa Vollmer for the Center for Metropolitan Studies podcast series (November 2014).


Yes, We Can Afford to Plan for Smarter Growth and Better Housing

“Critics of smart growth are not comparing apples to apples when it comes to housing costs. We need to consider the full cost of housing under different development scenarios.”


MCRI researchers Markus Moos, Pierre Filion, Roger Keil, and Alan Walks collaborate with University of Waterloo researchers Jeff Casello, Laura Johnson, and Maxwell Hartt to look at a range of factors that are responsible for escalating housing prices in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Check out the Huffington Post article here.




MCRI researchers at “Housing the Future: Challenges and Opportunities Facing the Next Generation.” The panel discussion held at the University of Waterloo’s School of Planning, launches Markus Moos’ new research project, Generationed City.


Edited by Pierre Hamel and Roger Keil

HAMELKEIL book coverIn Suburban Governance: A Global View, editors Pierre Hamel and Roger Keil have assembled a groundbreaking set of essays by leading urban scholars that assess how governance regulates the creation of the world’s suburban spaces and everyday life within them. With contributors from ten countries on five continents, this collection covers the full breadth of contemporary developments in suburban governance. Examining the classic North American model of suburbia, contemporary alternatives in Europe and Latin America, and the emerging suburbanisms of Africa and Asia, Suburban Governance offers a strong analytical introduction to a vital topic in contemporary urban studies. Get your copy now from the University of Toronto Press.




The Flexible City Symposium 24/25 October 2013


“Cities over the world face complex and rapidly evolving challenges. Ranging from climate, to poverty, economic downturns and demographic shifts, cities now need to confront an unprecedented array of issues. Addressing them requires ingenuity and versatility, whether in policymaking, investment decisions or everyday livelihoods. At the Flexible City Symposium of the Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities, we seek to re-think the city, in theory and practice to confront these challenges” (

Using Toronto to explore three suburban stereotypes, and vice versa

Is Toronto a suburban metropolis? Does Toronto redefine the suburban nation? Richard Harris asks the difficult questions in this new paper and provides wide reaching and important answers. Click here to read his paper.

“Urbanists share and reprrichard_harris_subdivisionoduce three stereotypes about North American suburbs. First, many invoke a clichéd ideal: the desire to enjoy quiet privacy in a low-density residential environment near the urban fringe. Second, they assume that most suburbs have actually conformed to this ideal. Third, academics and planners alike agree on a stereotypical judgment: suburbs are to be deplored. This synthetic essay argues that residential patterns in postwar Toronto never conformed to these stereotypes: especially since the 1970s it has harboured a competing, more urbane popular ideal; its suburbs have been socially and physically diverse; and, recognizing diversity, local urbanists have made varied judgments. Suburban diversity has become systematized since the 1970s, so that a new local stereotype has emerged: that of the declining inner suburb. Toronto’s experience exemplifies that of one of the two main types of North American metro. It challenges stereotypes, while those stereotypes illuminate its particular character. Most generally, while polycentricity and dispersion have shaped its economic geography, the language of zones is still meaningful in interpreting its residential patterns. There may be a larger lesson there.”


International Perspectives on Suburbanization: A Post-Suburban World edited by Nicholas A. Phelps and Fulong Wu

Suburban Constellations edited by Roger Keil

Alex Schafran reviews two books edited by MCRI researchers in the International Journal for Urban and Regional Research. Read the review here.

untitled “One way of thinking about the contemporary moment is that the goal is not to define or redefine suburbia, but instead to grapple with the ‘post-suburban’ moment, to understand how this place called suburbia has changed and what it has evolved into, even if we now acknowledge it was never quite what we thought it was. The idea of ‘post-suburbia’ is at the heart of Nick Phelps and Fulong Wu’s edited volume International Perspectives on Suburbanization: A Post-Suburban World?, and to their credit they grapple with historical, spatial and political-economic definitions of the term. Is the post-suburban about a new age of suburbanism, a new physical/economic space or a new set of networked actors and institutions?”

SuburbanConstellations_Umschlag_Druck.inddRoger Keil’s Suburban Constellations sees Simone embracing Matthew Gandy over halal Chinese in a strip mall in Markham. It is a fabulously bold explosion of color from Keil who, along with Ute Lehrer and co-conspirators like Alan Mabin, has dutifully been attempting to provided structure, support and inspiration to global suburbanists the world over (in the interests of full disclosure, I too have benefited from their efforts, and will be part of one of the forthcoming collections). One of the first of many forthcoming products from the Global Suburbanisms project hosted at York (in post-suburban Toronto, naturally), Constellations is a structured bricolage of short essays, photos, brief snippets of larger empirical projects, suburban wanders and one very interesting report on a novel university–community ‘working group’ on suburban planning and community development.”



Tridel, Hullmark and Kirkor Architects/ Wikimedia Commons

Are the suburbs becoming more like cities? Are the cities being suburbanized? Research by MCRI co-investigator Professor Markus Moos has recently been cited by Richard Florida in a widely noted article called, “The Fading Distinction Between City and Suburb” in The Atlantic CityLab online magazine.

“Most of us who are sometimes labeled “urbanists” believe the new age of the city is squarely upon us. Cities and urban neighborhoods once counted for dead are adding people, in some cases faster than the suburbs; at the same time, we’re seeing shortages of affordable housing in some of America’s largest and most vibrant cities. This is what Alan Eherenhalt dubs “the Great Inversion” a reversal of fortunes in which cities grow as suburbs decline. But a recent study indicates that the traditional suburban lifestyle continues to be widespread. The study, by Markus Moos of the University of Waterloo and Pablo Mendez of Carleton University, found that key features of suburban life not only remain commonplace in the suburbs but are often continued by high-income people even after they move to cities.” Keep Reading.


CBC The Current Interview: Ute Lehrer on Privately Owned Publicly-Accessible Spaces (POPS)

April 17, 2015
MCRI researcher Ute Lehrer speaks to Anna Maria Tremonti on CBC radio’s The Current about the exclusive nature of privately owned publicly-accessible spaces (POPS). Listen to the interview here.


Mythical North American suburbs- Environment & Planning A

April 10, 2015
A special issue of Environment & Planning A, volume 47 (2015) is now in print with articles on San Francisco, Toronto, Miami, and the Piedmont urban region. North American suburbia in flux Guest Editorial- Jan Nijman The strange case of the Bay Area Richard Walker, Alex Schafran Using Toronto to explore three suburban stereotypes, and more »


CBC Metro Morning Interview: Transit Equity

April 4, 2015
CBC Metro Morning’s Matt Galloway speaks with Professor Roger Keil about planning transit with social equity in mind. Listen to the interview here.


What not to do when trying to be fair about transit

April 4, 2015
Metro article “What not to do when trying to be fair about transit” discusses a recently released report by York University’s Greater Toronto Suburban Working Group. The report, Switching Tracks – Towards Transit Equity in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area provides suggestions on how to integrate equity into planning future transit projects.


New Report on Transit Equity in Toronto

March 27, 2015
GTSWG coordinators Sean Hertel and Roger Keil, in collaboration with MES student Michael Collens, have just released a report on transit equity and justice in Toronto. This report, based on research funded by Ontario’s regional transportation agency Metrolinx, that can be downloaded in its entirety below provides a survey of existing research and practice on more »


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This research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada through funding from the Major Collaborative Research Initiative “Global suburbansims: governance, land, and infrastructure in the 21st century (2010-2017).