Urban Sustainability and Infrastructure

Below is a sample list of electives focused on Innovation: Analysis and Policy. Students must complete 4.0 full-course equivalent (FCE) electives. 

Electives are subject to change and are dependent on the approval of the home department.

JMG 2020H Big Data and Global Cities
As urban populations grow, global cities need to provide basic services (e.g. water, sanitation, public safety, transit) and address the negative externalities associated with rapid growth (e.g. pollution and congestion). And, ultimately, they need to find the fiscal resources to pay for the services. This course will set out a basic political economy framework to understand the problems faced by global cities and show how Big Data can be used to help solve those problems. The course will provide an introduction to the concepts that underlie Big Data – open, unified, linked and grounded data – as well as data analytics (statistics, pattern recognition, and machine learning). Students will work with data to address specific urban problems in global cities.

MUI 2040H Real Estate Development
This course provides students with an examination of real estate development from the entrepreneurial and public perspectives. It emphasizes risk management and the inherent uncertainties of development. The four dimensions of real estate are addressed: economic/market, legal/institutional, physical and financial.

MUI 2055H Cities Industry and the Environment
This reading seminar is devoted to the study of the environmental impacts of (mostly urban) industrialization and to past, current and potentially new ways of analyzing and addressing them. The topics discussed range from the history of deforestation and the creation of recycling linkages between firms to the role of institutions in promoting innovative behavior and the impact of geographical distance on the sustainability of industrial practices. Unlike many seminars discussing the relationship between economic growth and the environment, the perspective favored in "Cities, Industry and the Environment" will be generally optimistic.

SSM 1080H Strategies for Sustainability Management
This course will present new theories and principles designed to address sustainability as a strategic principle of corporations and non-profit organizations. Starting from a foundation which involves exploring the fundamentals of strategic management, how to analyze organizations and strategies, and the strategies that organizations adopt and why they succeed or fail, students will learn to recognize the threats and opportunities posed by the demands for sustainability and develop strategies to remain competitive socially and environmentally responsible, and sustainable. The course covers corporate strategy, organizational strategy, marketing strategy, strategic governance, creating value through sustainability practices, and organizational learning, innovation, and sustainability.

JPG 1558H Transportation: Historical and Geographic Perspectives
Transportation of goods, people, and information is an integral aspect of everyday life, but what of the origin of the various modes of transportation? How did the systems that we use and plan today, and their constituent technologies come to be? Annually, this course will involve an exploration of the history and geography of a particular mode of transportation. Using lectures, seminars, student papers and presentations, and occasionally fieldwork, the key people and places, technologies associated with the development of the modes of transport will be examined. The ebb and flow of demand for the modes of transport (e.g., biking, walking, public transit, the car) through time and across space will discussed, as will costs and benefits. Adopting an historical and geographical lens, we will also consider the uneven way in which transport modes seem to fall into and out of favour, locally, nationally, and globally.

GGR 1610H Geography of Finance and Financial Crisis
This course seeks to understand the world of financial flows, intermediaries, and instruments, and how these may be related to the uneven geography of mortgage foreclosures, real estate inflation and deflation, bank bailouts, and government austerity programs. The course begins by exploring the history and geography of financial crises, including both the current crisis and the great depression, to consider the different theories of financial crisis emanating from disparate political-economic-geographical perspectives, as well as the divergent policy implications that flow from such theories. It moves to examine the workings of international finance, and the literature on the geography of financialization and the globalization of finance. The course then explores the localized effects of the geography of finance, from the cultural politics of homeownership, to the geography of sub-prime lending and foreclosures, deepening unemployment in European cities, micro-credit in developing nations, and the geography of credit card debt, bankruptcies and defaults.

PLA 1801H Urban Infrastructure Planning
Infrastructure is the term that describes the transportation systems, sewers, pipes, and power lines that provide urban dwellers with necessary public services. In recent years, billions of dollars of public money have been spent upgrading existing infrastructure, and planning and delivering new facilities. Infrastructure has many impacts on the way that people in cities live. The way that 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.