Workshop/Symposium Grant

Workshop photo

The Centre for Urban Environments (CUE) is working to make urban environments healthier and more sustainable for all life. Key to achieving this vision is the mobilization of knowledge across fields, disciplines and sectors. Our members work closely with businesses, non-government organizations and policymakers to translate their high-level scholarship into transformative recommendations. This scholarship is frequently the product of collaboration across traditional disciplinary boundaries, orientated around a shared concern for our cities, environments and planet.

To facilitate this communication among disparate groups, CUE provides annual funds for faculty, post-docs and students to hold workshops, symposia and seminars in any discipline related to urban environments at University of Toronto. These symposia and seminars serve as a supplement to CUE’s ongoing Seminar Series. Further details and instructions are available here.


Upcoming Workshops/Symposia


Past Workshops and Symposia


Workshop Title: Co-Learning and Co-Design for Urban Environmental Challenges

Date:   March 22, 2024

Organizer/s: Prof. Matthew Adams

Objective: The collaboration between the City of Mississauga and the University of Toronto Mississauga's (UTM) Centre for Urban Environments aims to address urban environmental challenges through a comprehensive co-learning and co-design process. This partnership seeks to leverage the collective expertise, knowledge, and innovative capacities of students supervised by faculty to foster sustainable solutions for the betterment of Mississauga's urban environment

Workshop Title: Building a mathematical and statistical theoretical framework for urban eco-evolutionary processes.

Date: February 2024

Organizer/s: Aude E. Caizergues & Marc T.J. Johnson

Description:   Understanding how urbanization impacts species ecology, evolution and more broadly eco-evo dynamics is becoming a pressing issue in the current context of worldwide urbanization. While a growing number of studies investigate how urbanization affects ecology and evolutionary processes, we still lack a theoretical framework to ground our predictions. In addition, because of the many biases and technical difficulties arising from the collection of empirical data, unravelling broad patterns of eco-evolutionary changes in urban habitats from empirical studies are not straightforward. Interestingly, mathematical modelling approaches allowed for the development of groundbreaking theories in both ecology and evolution, but remains still rarely applied to the new field of urban evolutionary ecology. Hence, because of the flexibility and putatively unlimited possibilities of modelling and the growing efficiency of computational power, we argue that building mathematical and statistical models of evolution in an urban context represent the next frontier of the field.  This workshop aims to build a roadmap referencing future important questions to answer and available tools to tackle them, that would encourage and guide other urban evolutionary scientists willing to engage in modelling urban biology.


Workshop Title: Ecosystem Functions and Services of Urban Ponds in Southern Ontario

Date: September 29-30, 2022

Organizer:  Nicholas Mandrak

Description: Stormwater management ponds have been used extensively in North America to manage runoff in urban areas by mitigating the effects of precipitation events to urban streams. Such ponds are now mandated in new residential developments in Ontario, with over 1,000 in operation in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) alone. In addition to their hydrological function, stormwater ponds may also have additional ecosystem functions (e.g. as novel ecosystems) and services (e.g. pollinator habitat, recreation). Managers of stormwater water ponds are challenged to maintain hydrological function, while considering ecosystem functions and services. However, there is currently insufficient information to make informed decisions that optimize these often seemingly antagonistic goals. Therefore, there is a need to undertake a review of the current state of stormwater pond research and management to identify knowledge gaps that can be addressed with subsequent research.

The objectives of this workshop : 1) to facilitate communication and collaboration among urban pond managers and researchers; 2) to conduct a review of the current state of needs and knowledge related to the ecosystem functions and services of urban ponds; and, 3) using a knowledge co-production approach, identify knowledge gaps and develop a conceptual research framework for urban stormwater ponds.

Workshop Agenda 

Workshop Title: Building a Circular Economy for Fashion in Canada

Organizer: Dr. Taylor Brydges, Postdoc, Centre for Urban Environments

Date: March 2, 2022

Description: Consisting of an introductory lecture, industry roundtables and keynote speaker, this workshop explored the current policy and industrial landscape, challenges and opportunities to building a circular economy for fashion in Canada.



Workshop Title: What's in your air, Rwanda?

Date: December 16, 2020
Organizer: Egide Kalisa
Description: The proposed workshop provide children with knowledge to reduce their own personal exposure to air pollution. During the workshop, children at the school will assemble low-cost air quality sensors to take home, and use a purpose-built application to record data about their home and to record “impact” data on health symptoms and perception impacts.

CUE also hosts a series of public seminars that provides a bridge between the university and the public. Further information on this seminar series.

Symposium Title: IALE North America Annual Meeting
Date: May 11-14, 2020
Organizer: Helen Wagner

Description: The IALE - North America Annual Meeting brings together up to 500 professionals and students in the fields of geology, ecology, biology, geography, urban and regional planning, and landscape preservation and design.

Symposium Title: Landscape genetics as a tool for managing human-impacted landscapes.
Date: May 11-14, 2020
Organizers: Hossam E. Abdel Moniem, Lindsay Miles, Sophie Breitbart,
Description: To present current landscape genetics research on different urban-dwelling taxa and discuss how this research can inform policy and practices to better manage our urban and urbanizing landscapes. The symposium was a part of the North American International Association of Landscape Ecology (NA-IALE) Conference. The report is available here.


Symposium Title: Meltdown – a climate change summit

Date: Sept. 24, 2019

As part of the week-long Global Climate Strike, the Meltdown summit presented information, perspectives and action plans from leading environmental voices to help combat climate change. The event included panel discussions focused on the impact of climate change on health, the economy, ecology and society, as well as a keynote address from Dr. Diane Saxe, former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. Further information on the summit can be found here.

Symposium Title: Evolution in an Urbanizing World

Date: Aug. 22, 2019

Description: As part of the Joint Congress of Evolutionary Biology in Montpellier, this invited symposium featured eight cutting-edge talks and ten posters. Organized by Anne Charmantier, Adrien Frantz, Julien Gasparini and Marc Johnson, the symposium examined how urbanization affects the evolution of species in the wild.

Symposium Title: French American Climate Talks on Biodiversity (FACTB)

Date: June 20, 2019

Description: An affiliated event of the G20 Summit in France, this panel discussion was a collaboration between the French embassy, the Faculty of Arts and Science at the University of Toronto, the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Centre for Urban Environments. Organized by Stephen Wright and Asher Cutter, this event asked a simple question regarding biodiversity in urban spaces: currently threated by development and climate change, is there hope for urban biodiversity in the 21st century? Seven leading voices offered their perspectives, bringing together a unique blend of current scholarship, front-line observations and personal experience. Speakers included Dr. Stephen Wright (Canada Research Chair in Populations Genomics), Marc Trouyet (Consul General of France in Toronto), Dr. Dan Riskin (host of the Discovery Channel Program ‘Daily Planet’), Dr. Chelsea Rochman (Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto), Deborah Martin-Downs (CAO of the Credit Valley Conservation Authority), Cyrille Barnerias (Head of European and International Affairs, French Biodiversity Agency), and Dr. Thierry Boulinier (CNRS Research Director).

Symposium Title: Growing our Green Infrastructure

Date: May 24, 2019

Description: Trees, gardens, and other vegetation can be an unexpected remedy for cities currently dealing with ecological, environmental and health problems. This one-day symposium brought together academics, government, conservation organizations, city officials and industry to discuss and learn the best practices in green infrastructure. The goal of the symposium was to envision the unique ways in which greenery may play an important role in building more sustainable cities. The Centre for Urban Environments was a co-sponsor of this event and provided administrative support.


Symposium title: The Past, Present and Future of our Urban Environment

Date: Dec. 5, 2017

Description: To celebrate the launch of the Centre for Urban Environments, this one-day symposium brought together academics, students, politicians, policy members, conservation organizations, private industry and members of the public around a shared concern for the future of our urban environment. The day consisted of a keynote address, three plenary speakers, seven short talks and two panel discussions. Organized by Marc Johnson, Christoph Richter and Marie-Josée Fortin, this symposium was an opportunity to introduce CUE to the community, build relationships across sectors, and ensure that members of the community feel represented in the vision and mission of the centre. Some highlights of the day include the keynote address by Mayor Bonnie Crombie and plenary talks given by the Deputy Chief of the Mississaugas of Credit First Nation Margaret Sault, President Meric Gertler and Dr. Steward Pickett.