FES Speaker Series explores planning, urban infrastructures and civic capacity

York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) will host the first offering of its 2018-19 FES Speaker Series: (Re)Making Urban Space on Sept. 26.

This research-focused speaker series takes a multi-format and interdisciplinary perspective, to interrogate 11 relevant topics involving planning, urban infrastructures and civic capacity. Through a mix of panel discussions, guest lectures and roundtables, the goal is to generate critical debate on topics that intersect planning practice, governance, infrastructures and place-making in contemporary cities.

The topics have been curated by consulting FES faculty and students on emerging areas of interest in urban studies, and by balancing out historical and theoretical discussions with contemporary planning debates.

While most of the events are connected to the Toronto context, speakers will also present research from diverse cities such as Halifax, Kitchener-Waterloo, Vancouver, Detroit, French municipalities and Bogotá, Colombia.

The 2018-19 FES Speaker Series lineup kicks off with:

“Planning and the Politics of Urban Development: From the OMB to the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal” on Sept. 26, 6 to 8 p.m. in HNES 140.

The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) was a quasi-judicial body in charge of dealing with development proposal appeals. Criticized by some for overruling local councils in favour of developers, in April of 2018, the OMB was replaced with the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. This panel discussion will examine recent reforms, and the limits and possibilities of the new system, using the City of Toronto as a case study. The panel will address the history of the OMB, how power and urban politics play out through this planning institution, the governance issues and planning legislation that supported OMB reform and the implications of the OMB reform for planning practice.

The event will be Chaired by Professor Ute Lehrer, and include the following panellists: Brendan Ruddick, associate, Loopstra-Nixon LLP; and Derek Brunelle, RPP planner, Toronto Toronto Community Housing (MES alumni).

RSVP for the this event at fesseriesomb.eventbrite.ca.

The following sessions will be hosted for Brown Bag Lunches, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in HNES 140:

  • Oct. 2 – “Youthification: Students, Housing and Urban Change”;
  • Oct. 16 – “Neofascism and urban space: today’s far-right French municipalities in historical context”;
  • Nov. 6 – “Advancing Accessible Design Practices around Protected Bike Facilities and Improving Pedestrian-Bike Interaction In Vancouver, B.C.”;
  • Nov. 20 – “Perspectives from below: Experiences of displacement in a gentrifying downtown Detroit”;
  • Jan. 15 – “Queers in Space: A History of Sexuality and the City”;
  • Feb. 12 – “Displacing Blackness: Planning, Power, and Race in Twentieth-Century Halifax”;
  • March 5 – “Condominium Development and Public Space”;
  • March 27 – “Planning, Popular Democracy and Alternatives to Capitalism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives”; and
  • April 30 – “Leveraging Bogotá: Sustainable Development, Global Philanthropy and The Rise of Urban Solutionism.”

For more information, visit the FES homepage.