The Design Observer Group


Posted 10.02.12


University of Toronto

Global Cities Institute Founded





The John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design has announced the creation of the Global Cities Institute, a new research center at the University of Toronto. This cross-disciplinary initiative will examine how to best identify and act on the key factors that will ensure sustainable urbanization and prosperity across cities and nations throughout the globe.

“The Global Cities Institute will launch a democratic, global conversation that crosses political, social, economic and disciplinary boundaries,” said Patricia McCarney, newly appointed Director of the Global Cities Institute. “We will welcome and seek the perspectives and ideas of political and business leaders, non-profit organizations, international agencies, the professions — including designers and planners, scholars and the general public to address the core challenges confronting cities globally.”

The Global Cities Institute will house the Global City Indicators Facility. The GCIF creates a knowledge network that connects over 200 cities globally and builds global partnerships across government, universities, international agencies and industry. The Facility assists cities in drawing comparative lessons from other cities globally.

The networks created through the Global Cities Institute will not only lead to new global partnerships, but also enable a cross-disciplinary team of researchers, designers, policy-makers, and economists, among others, to model new, progressive forms of urbanization. To facilitate this, the Institute will include a new Laboratory for Model Cities and an immersive Model Cities Theatre, which will draw on comparative data, insights from the GCIF, and emerging 3D and other visualization techniques to test and project alternative modes of urban design and development.

The Global Cities Institute will facilitate research and experiment with new ways to increase physical and social mobility, and accommodate increased intensification without compromising happiness, health and prosperity in our rapidly transforming cities. “Our aim is to create an unprecedented design, metrics, and visualization platform for collaboration between universities, industry, governments, international agencies, and communities to explore research-based solutions to the big picture challenges facing cities and city regions,” said Dean Richard Sommer.

The John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto is one of Places’ partner schools.