Event celebrates launch of two books exploring global suburbanisms

An event celebrating the launch of two new books will take place on May 13 as part of York University's Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) Global Suburbanisms Project.

The books Massive Suburbanization: (Re)building the Global Periphery and Critical Perspectives on Suburban Infrastructures: Contemporary International Cases  will be launched jointly, and are published by the University of Toronto Press in their the Global Suburbanisms Book Series.

We live in a world of expanding city regions. The Toronto and Waterloo regions are prime examples of a global dynamic that involves tendencies of both intensified and sprawling urban form. As inner cities have once more become attractive to creative economic activities and residential use, the expansion of the suburban footprint into the region has equally picked up speed.

These dynamics result increasingly in complex problems related to housing and infrastructures. Massive existing and emerging housing estates, both of ground related and multi-family units, blanket the regional landscape with densities varying across the region’s places to grow. Existing infrastructures burst at the seams while new and much needed technologies of new mobility, communication, environmental and social services are not coming on line fast enough.

Leading researchers in the Toronto and Waterloo region, in cooperation with colleagues from around the world as part of York University’s Global Suburbanisms research project, have studied housing and infrastructures in the suburbanizing regions.

Their findings, relevant to academics, planners, urbanists and activists, are now available in two books:

Massive Suburbanization: (Re)building the Global Periphery edited by K. Murat Guney, Roger Keil, and Murat Ucoglu (all from York University) provides a systematic overview of large-scale housing projects in the urban periphery. Global in focus – from large-scale suburban projects in Canada, the former Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, and the United States to new peripheral estates in China, Egypt, Israel, Morocco, the Philippines, South Africa, and Turkey – Massive Suburbanization builds a new discussion pertaining to the problems of the urban periphery, urbanization, and the neoliberal production of space. Massive Suburbanization centres Istanbul as an inter-referencing point for large-scale housing projects, bringing back the city into global focus while revealing many fragments for further investigation.

Critical Perspectives on Suburban Infrastructures: Contemporary International Cases, edited by Pierre Filion and Nina M. Pulver (both from University of Waterloo) identifies various political, economic, social and environmental issues related to suburban infrastructures. As much of the new urban growth in cities is taking place in the periphery, infrastructures are in a constant state of playing catch-up to rapid development. They are also places of major urban innovation. It also highlights the similarities and differences between suburban infrastructure conditions encountered in the Global North and Global South.

The event takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. at A Different Booklist, 779 Bathurst St.,Toronto. Editors and authors will introduce the books and there will be an opportunity to converse over refreshments.

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