Conference explores rise of the suburbs from the shadow of the city

The conference has an international cohort speakers who will discuss the changing nature of suburbanization

Around the world, the suburbs have danced on the edges of cities commanding ever greater roles. As more attention is placed on governance and maturing of these spaces, many suburban communities are becoming vibrant areas of economic growth and culture. Learn more about the rise of suburbs at the Major Collaborative Research Initiatives (MCRI) Global Suburbanisms conference After Suburbia: Extended Urbanizaton and Life on the Planet’s Periphery at York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, Oct. 19 to 21.

The conference has an international cohort speakers who will discuss the changing nature of suburbanization

The conference has an international cohort speakers who will discuss the changing nature of suburbanization. It has sessions on suburban populism, governance, the changing nature of land and infrastructure in the periphery, a suburban mayors’ panel, art exhibits and a theatre performance.

The following are some of the highlights:

On Thursday, Oct. 19 at 5:30pm in the Tribute Recital Hall in the Accolade East Building on the Keele campus, city planning Professor Solly Angel, director of the New York University (NYU) Urban Expansion Program at the Marron Institute of Urban Management and the Stern School of Business at NYU, will discuss urban expansion in the opening keynote. Angel is the co-author of several books, including of Atlas of Urban Expansion (2016).

Nep Sidhu with Nicholas Galanin, No Pigs in Paradise, 2015-2016. Photo: Kikuyama Yoshihiro
One of the exhibits featured in Migrating the Margins features this installation by Nep Sidhu with Nicholas Galanin, titled No Pigs in Paradise, 2015-2016. Photo: Kikuyama Yoshihiro

Then, at 7:30pm, the Art Gallery of York University will present an Artists’ Talk & Tour for the Migrating the Margins exhibit, which explores how Toronto art is evolving after decades of immigration and life in the suburbs, and how the artists in and of the urban periphery are re-imagining art. The talk will take place in the AGYU gallery space in Accolade East.

Roberto Luís Monte-Mór
Roberto Luís Monte-Mór

On Friday, Oct. 20, at the Underground Restaurant in the Student Centre on the Keele campus, Economics Professor Roberto Luís Monte-Mór  of the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil will give a keynote, titled Extended Urbanization, Urban Utopias and Other Economies. His talk will run from 12 to 12:45pm.

Then from 12:45 to 2pm, a Mayors Panel with Bob Burton of Oakville, Linda Jeffrey of Brampton, Jeff Lehman of Barrie and Steve Parish of Ajax will discuss governing the changing state of the urban periphery. The GTA mayors will be joined by Toronto planning consultant Sean Hertel of the Greater Toronto Suburban Working Group and the City Institute at York University. The changing urban periphery refers to the towns and cities that make up the suburbs of Toronto, which now contain most of the region’s population and economic growth. The mayors will consider how these areas are becoming more central to socio-cultural identity and prosperity of one of the world’s preeminent regions.

Jennifer Robinson

From 2 to 2:45pm, there will be a keynote presentation by University College London (UCL) Professor Jennifer Robinson. Her presentation will focus on comparative suburban research and the lecture is titled, Some Effects of Comparing “Suburbs”: Methodological and Conceptual Innovations. Robinson is the co-director of the UCL Urban Laboratory and professor of human geography at the UCL Department of Geography. Her work explores the divide between western cities and those situated in the “Third world.”

Fulong Wu

On Saturday, Oct. 21, from 12 to 12:45pm, in Room 140 Health, Nursing & Environmental Studies Building, Fulong Wu, the Bartlett Professor of Planning at University College London, will deliver the conference’s governance keynote titled, Intertwined Modalities of Suburban Governance in China. His research interests include urban development in China and its social and sustainable challenges. He has recently published a book, Planning for Growth: Urban and Regional Planning in China (2015, Routledge).

From 12:45 to 2pm, in the Zig Zag Gallery, 136 Health, Nursing & Environmental Studies Building, conference participants can take in a photography and data visualization exhibition on Urban Growth on the Periphery: Land, Urban Form, Infrastructure & Everyday Life. The exhibit is created by the Major Collaborative Research Initiative on Global Suburbanisms (MCRI) researchers Professors Ute Lehrer of York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES), Markus Moos of University of Waterloo, and Robert Walter-Joseph of Weston Consulting.

Crystal Legacy

Then from 2 to 2:45pm,  in 140 Health, Nursing & Environmental Studies Building, there will be another keynote, titled Infrastructure Planning in the (Sub)urban Age, by Crystal Legacy, a senior lecturer in Urban Planning at the University of Melbourne in Australia. Her research focuses on questions of urban conflict, the post-political city, and citizen participation. She is currently investigating the politics of urban transportation planning.

Roger Keil

From 4:30pm, 140 Health, Nursing & Environmental Studies Building, York University FES Professor Roger Keil, principal investigator of the MCRI and the author of the forthcoming book Suburban Planet, will wrap up the conference with the closing keynote , titled After Suburbia: Peripheral Notes on Urban Theory.

For more information, see a PDF version of the conference program. It is available at: