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CITY » In-Between Infrastructure: Urban Connectivity in an Age of Vulnerability
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CITY > Projects > In-Between Infrastructure: Urban Connectivity in an Age of Vulnerability

In-Between Infrastructure: Urban Connectivity in an Age of Vulnerability

Prof. Roger Keil, Prof. Engin Isin (Canada Research Chair), Prof. Patricia Wood
, Prof. Douglas Young

John Saunders, Research Coordinato

This three year research project, funded in large part by Infrastructure Canada with a contribution from the Toronto Community Housing Company, explores the infrastructure in what we call the “in-between city.” That is the descriptive term we use for that part of the urban region that is perceived as not quite traditional city and not quite traditional suburb.  As a concept, the in-between city explodes the myth of the city/country divide and opens new ways of understanding infrastructure needs in a globalizing Canadian urban region.  A key goal of this research project is to explore the connectivity between different scales through the lens of urban infrastructure.

Is it possible, we ask, to design a system of social and cultural infrastructure that has everything a community needs and meets global needs as well?  What is the impact of economically driven decisions of hard infrastructure on communities?  What are the micro-connections between the global and the local, the social and the economic?  Our approach to these questions is framed by the concept of urban risk and vulnerability in which cities are seen to have become vulnerable to unpredictable events which expose the impact of unequal access to different infrastructures and the need for urban governance to be particularly attuned to this reality.

The geographical area that is the subject of this project lies partly in the City of Toronto and partly in the City of Vaughan.  It measures about 85 square km in size and is extremely diverse in terms of the income and ethnicity of residents, and its built form.  It is a place of intense contrasts where residents walk to local variety stores to purchase small household items in sight of inter-city transport trucks hauling goods on the busiest stretches of expressway in the country.  At its centre lies York University.

Publications and Documents

Conferences and Workshops


  • Young, D. and Keil, R. (2014). In-Between Mobility in Toronto’s New (Sub)urban Neighbourhoods. In W. Smets and P. Watt (Eds.), Mobilities and Neighbourhood Belonging in Cities and Suburbs (chapter 11). UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Young, D. and Keil, R. (2014). Locating the Urban In-Between: Tracking the Urban Politics of Infrastructure in Toronto. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.
  • Keil, R., Wood, P., and Young, D. (Eds.) (2011). In-Between Infrastructure: Urban Connectivity in an Age of Vulnerability. Praxis (e)Press. For a copy of this book, please click here.
  • In-Between Infrastructure: Urban Connectivity in the Age of Vulnerability Brochure. (2010). For a copy of this brochure, please click here.
  • Keil, R. (2010). Transnational urban political ecology: health and infrastructure in the unbounded city. In G. Bridge and S. Watson (eds.), The New Companion to the City 2nd ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Keil, R. (2010). Global Cities: Connectivity, Vulnerability and Resilience. In B. Hahn and M. Zwingenberger (eds.), Global Cities. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag
  • Saunders, J. (2010). Of Strikes, Subways and the Big-Box University: Reconsidering the Spatial Fixations of Infrastructure. Problematique 12
  • Young, D., and Keil, R. (2010). Reconnecting the Disconnected: The Politics of Infrastructure in the In-between City. Cities 27(2), 87-95.
  • Boudreau, J., Keil, R., and Young, D. (2009). The In-between City.  In J. Boudreau, R. Keil and D. Young (eds.), Changing Toronto: Governing Urban Neoliberalism (pp. 119-140). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  • Keil, R., and Young D. (2008). Fringe Explosions: Risk and Vulnerability in Canada’s New Landscape. Accepted for publication in The Canadian Geographer.
  • Young, D., and Keil, R. (2008). Reconnecting the Disconnected: the Politics of Infrastructure in the In-between City. Accepted for publication in Cities: the InternationalJournal of Policy and Planning.

In-between mobility in the new suburban neighbourhood
The International Sociological Association World Congress
Roger Keil
Gothenburg, Sweden
July 15, 2010

Suburbia in Transition: Infrastructure and Planning in the In-Between City”

Chaired by Roger Keil with panelists:

Douglas Young  –  “Planning Challenges in the In-Between City”
Patricia Wood  –  “Residents’ Vulnerability and Resilience in an Anti-residential Landscape”
John Saunders  –  “The Landscape of Citizenship in the In-between City: Downsview Park, Toronto”
Leigh McGrath  –  “Social Services, Land Use Planning and Vaughan’s New Official Plan”
Lucia Lo  –  “Vulnerability and human service  provisions in York region”

York University, Toronto
7th Floor, York Research Tower
Thursday March 25, 2010, 12:30-2pm
Poster | Y-File

Social Sustainability and Citizenship in the In-Between City
Patricia Wood
40th annual Urban Affairs Association Conference
Honolulu, Hawaii
March 11, 2010

Global Cities: Connectivity, Vulnerability and Resilience
Roger Keil
The School of Environmental Studies Seminar Series, Queen’s University, Kingston
January 28, 2010

Vulnerability and Transnational Urbanism
Roger Keil
Department of Geography, University of Oslo, Norway
December 7, 2009

Transnational urban political ecology: health and infrastructure in the unbounded city
The Transnationality of Cities Conference
Roger Keil
Faculty of Cultural Sciences, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder, Germany
December 4, 2009
Conference Program

Citizenship in the ‘In-Between City’
Patricia Wood
CCIG/OpenSpace Seminar
Open University in London, England
December 3, 2009

Politische Ökologie in der transnationalen Stadt: Gesundheit und Infrastruktur
the Projekt Eigenlogik der Städte
Roger Keil
Technical University Darmstadt, Germany
December 2, 2009

Scaling the postsuburban urban region: Frankfurt and Toronto
The Symposium on the Political Economy of Scale
Roger Keil
Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario
November 20, 2009

Global suburbanism: The challenge of 21st century urbanization City – Bauhaus
Roger Keil
Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany
November 4, 2009

Reimagining the future of Toronto’s inner suburbs: An open dialogue on arts, creativity and community L.O.T.: Experiments in Urban Research as part of the Leona Drive Project
Douglas Young
The North York Central Library, Toronto, Ontario
October 28, 2009

The state, the market and the periphery: making diversity in the Toronto suburbs
The Diverse Suburb: History, Politics and Prospects Conference
Roger Keil
Hofstra University, Hempstead, Long Island, New York
October 24, 2009

Emotional Geographies of Refugee Resettlement: Possible Lessons for Settlement Policy from Calgary and Toronto
Huxley Speaker Series
Patricia Wood
Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington
October 23, 2009

The Urban Politics of Roll-with-it Neoliberalism
Roger Keil
the Université de Montpellier 1, CNRS, Centre d’Études Politiques de l’Europe Latine (CEPEL), France
June 16, 2009

Citizenship in the In-between City
The Political Spaces – Dividing Citizens panel of the Canadian Association of Geographers annual meeting
Patricia Wood
Ottawa, Ontario
May 28, 2009

The Urban Politics of Roll-With-It Neoliberalization
Neue Handlungsspielräume für emanzipatorische Strategien im (Post)Neoliberalismus? Panel
Roger Keil
Luisenhof, Brandenburg, Germany
April 21, 2009

Seeking the Urban In-Between: Tracking the urban politics of Infrastructure in Toronto
Douglas Young and Roger Keil
Association of American Geographers
Las Vegas, Nevada
March 25, 2009

Risk and Vulnerability in the In-between City: Governing through Infrastructure
John Saunders
Association of American Geographers
Las Vegas, Nevada
March 25, 2009

The Spatial Politics of Infrastructure: Rethinking Vulnerability and Marginality
John Saunders
York University, Toronto
March 12, 2009

Risk, Vulnerability, Politics: The Political Ecology of the Global City
Roger Keil
The Right to the City: Prospects for Critical Urban Theory and Practice
Center for Metropolitan Studies, TU Berlin
November 6-8, 2008

Networked Vulnerabilities: The Political Ecology of Global Cities
Roger Keil
University of Georgia, Department of Geography Fall Colloquium
Athens, Georgia
October 24, 2008

Global Cities: The Urban Political Ecology of Connectivity and Vulnerability
Roger Keil
Séminaire de lancement du PIRVE
Ecole d’architecture de Paris-Val de Seine, Paris, France
October 7, 2008

The Inner Suburbs Are in the In-Between City
Roger Keil
Suburban Speculations: Decline and Renewal in the Inner Ring?
Munk Centre for International Relations, University of Toronto
September 22, 2008

Roller-Coasting in the Zwishcendstat: An Examination of Place and Mobility in Canada’s Wonderland
Lauralyn Johnston
Research Committee 21 of the International Sociological Association
Barcelona, Spain
September 6, 2008

Infrastructure and Uneven Development: Reconnecting the Disconnected.
Panel session organized by Douglas Young
Planners Network
Winnipeg, Manitoba
July 18, 2008

Refugee Settlement: Obstacles and Access to Public Spaces and Institutions, at the conference, Refugees and the Insecure Nation: Managing Forced Migration
Patricia Wood
York University, Toronto, Ontario
June 17, 2008

Digital Subjects and the Technological City: Universalism and Ubiquity Reconsidered
John Saunders
Panel Discussion: ‘Governing Technologies I: Representation, Participation, and Governance in the ‘Digital Age’
The Association of American Geographers annual meeting
Boston, Massachusetts
April 19, 2008

The Emotional City: Refugee Resettlement in Toronto and Calgary, Canada
Patricia Wood
The American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting
Boston, Massachusetts
April 17, 2008

The In-Between Spaces of Exurban Development: Implications for Urban Identity
Douglas Young
Panel discussion: ‘Contesting Urban Growth in Suburban/Exurban Regions’
The Association of American Geographers annual meeting
Boston, Massachusetts
April 14, 2008

Infrastructure of the In-between City
Roger Keil and Douglas Young
International Conference A Suburban World? Decentralization and the New Metropolis
Virginia Tech, Reston, Virginia.
April 8, 2008

In-Between Infrastructure Project
John Saunders
Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
October 26, 2007

Planning and Uneven Development in the In-between City
Douglas Young
Also included presentations by Jill Grant, Pierre Filion and Richard Milgrom
Roundtable Discussion: In-between Infrastructure: Planning Challenges in the New Normal
Conference of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
October 19, 2007

Refugees’ Access to Public Resources: Findings from Toronto and Calgary, Canada
Patricia Wood
the International Metropolis Conference, Melbourne, Australia
October 8-12, 2007

In-between Infrastructure: Access and Vulnerability in the New Urban Region
Panel session organized by Roger Keil
RC21 (Research Committee 21 of the International Sociological Association)
Vancouver, British Columbia
August, 2007

In-Between Infrastructure presented at “Talking on: Water”
Roger Keil
The Gladstone Hotel, Toronto, Ontario
July 27, 2007

In-Between Infrastructure
Roger Keil
Lecture organized for visiting professionals from China
York University, Toronto, Ontario
July 10, 2007

In-Between Infrastructure
Roger Keil and Douglas Young
Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Toronto, Ontario
July 5, 2007

Seminar Series Presentation of In-Between Infrastructure
Roger Keil and Douglas Young
Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, Toronto, Ontario
March 21, 2007

Conferences and Workshops

Zwischenstadt and city-region politics
Not City – Not Country, What happens in-between? Conferece
Roger Keil
Tampere, Finland
June 9, 2009

2009 Post-suburbia and City-region Politics
The Workshop Governing Post-Suburban Growth
Roger Keil
University College London.
May 21, 2009

LumpenCity Conference
John Saunders
York University, Toronto, Ontario
March 12, 2009

Learning City Conference
John Saunders Moderated Panel on Infrastructure
York University, Osgoode Law School, Toronto, Ontario
March 6, 2009

Suburban Speculations: Decline and Renewal in the Inner Ring?
Roger Keil
University of Toronto Munk Centre for International Relations, Toronto, Ontario
September 23, 2008

Planners Network Conference
Infrastructure and Uneven Development: Reconnecting the Disconnected
Organized by Douglas Young
Winnipeg, Manitoba
July 18, 2008

Entitled Planning in Good Faith Workshop
The Canadian Urban Institute and the Work Research Foundation
Attended by Derek Cheung
Toronto, Ontario
June 18, 2008

Workshop on Critical Infrastructure Planning
John Saunders
Halifax, Nova Scotia
June 3-4, 2008

Workshop for In-Between Infrastructure Project
Coordinated by Patricia Wood
The Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting
Boston, Massachusetts
April 18, 2008

Canadian Cities on the Edge: Reassessing the Canadian Suburb Workshop
John Saunders
Sponsored by the City Institute, York University, Toronto, Ontario
February 9, 2008

Research for Social Change Roundtable
John Saunders, Roger Keil and Dougals Young
The Community Social Planning Council, Toronto, Ontario
January 22, 2008

Can Ontario Afford to Replace its Aging Infrastructure? Can it Afford not to? Conference
The Canadian Urban Institute
Jochen Monstadt
October 12, 2007

In-Between Infrastructure Workshop
For academic and community partners associated with the project
York University, Toronto, Ontario
February 8 to 10, 2007

The From Research to Action Workshop organized by Infrastructure Canada
Attended by Douglas Young
Ottawa, Canada
November 29 to December 1, 2006

In-Between Infrastructure Open House
CITY Institute, York University, Toronto, Ontario
November 29, 2006.

Transit as a Catalyst Open House Information Session
Attended by Derek Cheung
York University, Toronto, Ontario
November 28, 2006

In-Between Infrastructure Workshop
York University, Toronto, Ontario
October 18, 2006

Research Roundtable organized by The Community Social Planning Council of Toronto
Attended by Douglas Young
Toronto, Ontario
September 15, 2006


Life in the In-between City: CONTACT Festival Photographic Exhibit

The in-between city is neither downtown core nor conventional suburban sprawl. Here, we find fascinating juxtapositions: of commercial and social uses of space, of the natural and the over-built, of the massive and the intimate. These photographs have been generated as part of a research project out of the City Institute at York University, “In-between Infrastructure: Urban Connectivity in an Age of Vulnerability,” focusing on an area of 80 square kilometres surrounding the university.

May 4 – May 15 (closed on Saturday and Sunday)
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 12pm to 5pm
Wednesday: 12pm to 7pm

The Eleanor Winters Art Gallery
129 Winters College
York University
4700 Keele St.
Toronto, ON


“In-Between Infrastructure: Urban Connectivity in an Age of Vulnerability”, co-edited by Roger Keil, Douglas Young and Patricia Wood, was featured in the August 31 edition of Novae Res Urbis. To read the article “In-Between Cities”, click here.

Roger Keil spoke about the fire marshall’s report on 2008’s Sunrise Propane explosion, on CBC Radio’s “Here & Now” on August 5, 2010.

The In-between cities project was featured in an article in the Toronto Star by Christopher Hume on November 21, 2009. Professor Douglas Young discusses Brampton in the article. To read the article, click here Toronto Star.

Roger Keil comments on the growth of the suburb and new forms of density in an article about Surrey, British Columbia.

Roger Keil and Douglas Young discuss the “in-between city” in an article for

Keil, R. (2007, October 3). Transit at York: Tales from the In-between. The Excalibur.


This project has been made possible through a financial contribution from Infrastructure Canada. The views expressed do not necessarily represent the views of the Government of Canada.