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Spotlight on Istanbul: Building and Rebuilding the Periphery

group pictureThe Major Collaborative Research Initiative on Global Suburbanisms: Governance, Land and Infrastructure in the 21st Century  is holding an international workshop on Building and Re-Building the Urban Periphery in Istanbul, Turkey, December 10-12, 2015.

The event is co-organized by Roger Keil and Murat Üçoğlu at York University with Kazim Murat Guney at Columbia University, Sylvia Tiryaki and Mensur Akgün at the Istanbul Kültür University, and Julia Strutz and Erbatur C̨avuşoğlu at Mimar Sinan University as well as Jean-François Pérouse (IFEA).


The workshop specifically is designed to address the political economies of large scale housing projects in the peripheries of the world’s cities. The event/project is about the various ways in which peripheral urban housing projects are being built and re-vitalized.

The location of Istanbul where the workshop will take place was deliberately chosen. The significance of the city’s development from providing housing through gecekondu-style squatting and regularization to massive state-led building of mostly peri-urban housing estates (through organizations such as TOKI) is widely recog
nized as exemplary and subject to much inter-referencing in global debates on housing in post-suburbia.

Istanbul is also a geographical bridge between West Asia, North Africa and Europe, both historically and currently. We therefore would consider Istanbul to be at several intersections of theory, history and geography.updatespotlight on istanbul_conference1C_small size (1)

The workshop will bring together leading Turkish and global researchers and activists on peripheral housing and settlement as well as social activism around housing, displacement and re-settlement with members of the MCRI research team to discuss how inter-referenced forms of urbanism are used to a) build peripheral large scale housing estates and b) manage those estates over time, in times of re-vitalization, shrinkage, population change, environmental challenges and economic crisis.

The event opens with a tour of Istanbul’s periphery and a keynote by Mustafa Dikeç (Ecole d’Urbanisme de Paris) on The Political Challenge of the Urban Periphery. This will be followed by two days of presentations by international and local experts. The program for the workshop can be downloaded here.

The event has been supported financially by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) through the MCRI Global Suburbanisms, by the York Research Chair in Global Suburban Studies and by local host institutions Istanbul Kültür University and Mimar Sinan University.


Click here for a PDF copy of the workshop program. 


Hey York Students! Share your travel story by filling out StudentMoveTO and YorkU’s survey! Get it done before December 8, when the survey closes.












Check out our website ( for more details and watch out for an email linking you to the survey.

StudentMoveTO is an initiative started by the four presidents of the four major universities in Toronto (York, U of T, Ryerson, and OCAD) to address the broader issue of transportation in the Greater Toronto Area. StudentMoveTO is surveying students to understand their commuting experiences to campus. The data gathered from the survey will contribute to the research on transportation in the Greater Toronto Area, and will look to improve student’s commuting experience to their campus. By completing the survey, students are eligible to win a $50 gift card to York University’s Book Store.

To take the survey, please go to:

To find more information about StudentMoveTO, please go to:


Inhabited Futures/ Constructed Pasts



















The international graduate PhD program “The World in the City,” run by a consortium of universities from Berlin, New York, and Toronto, is having its annual meeting in Toronto November 19-21, 2015. The topic of the meeting is Inhabited Futures – Constructed Pasts.

Please join us for the meeting’s keynote lecture by York University professor Ute Lehrer. Professor Lehrer will speak about “Urbanism, Public Space and the Condominium: Between Dark Age and the Good Society.”

The lecture takes place at the George Ignatieff Theatre, 15 Devonshire Place, University of Toronto, 4pm, November 19.

Suburban Governance in an Era of Globalizing Urbanization

untitled (6)This workshop, organized by Professor Pierre Hamel at the Université de Montréal, took place over two days, October 26 and 27, 2015.

It was hosted at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Université de Montréal and brought together international scholars with expertise in urbanism and suburban governance in different parts of the world, and doctoral candidates engaged in joint research with them. Researchers in the suburban governance subproject of the MCRI Global Suburbanism as well as faculty members and students from Montreal universities also participated.

A paper with the title “Institutional Forms, Political Outcomes and Democratic Challenges of Suburban Governance in an Era of Global Urbanism”, distributed by Hamel presented an overview of recent debates about how to meet the new challenges suburbs are facing in a globalizing world considering that the traditional dichotomy between the city and the suburb is clearly behind us whilst urban democracy is being defined in new terms. While urban studies researchers share a large consensus about an inevitable transition in the management of cities from government to governance within a globalizing context where the role of the state has been redefined, numerous disagreements prevail regarding the meaning of the notion. If some insist on the role played by private economic actors in managing public resources, others focus on the openness towards participation and deliberation – governance becoming in that perspective a “distinctively normative model” – while some others prefer an analytical approach emphasizing the role played by norms, culture and institutions in circumscribing the cooperation between public and private actors. Finally, collective work in an volume on Suburban Governance edited by Hamel and Keil on the governance of suburbanization highlighted three modalities (the state, capital accumulation, and private authoritarian government) in the governance of suburbanization in several parts of the world.

Participants of the Montreal workshop presented case studies based on exploratory interviews in various regions across the world: Bangalore, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Miami, Montreal, Shanghai, and Toronto. These presentations brought out common concerns about the main issues of suburban governance. The papers led to intensive discussions on the conceptual and empirical aspects of each paper. The contributions will be the basis for chapters in an edited book for the University of Toronto Press’s Global Suburbanisms series.

Click here for a copy of the workshop program.


Presentations from the Global Suburban Infrastructure Workshop, Waterloo, June 14-16, 2015





The Global Suburban Infrastructure Workshop June 14-16, 2015

Workshop Poster final (3)School of Planning, University of Waterloo, June 14-16, 2015

As the world population is becoming increasingly urban, most of the growth is happening in suburbs. It is thus there that infrastructure stress is most acute, would it be because of a lag of infrastructure development relative to population and economic growth, neglect of suburban populations relative to those of more central parts of urban areas, or the location in suburbs of large infrastructures serving the needs of the entire metropolitan region. The workshop will explore suburban infrastructure issues from a global perspective. It will identify the specificity of these problems according to different parts of the world as well as conditions faced by all suburban areas across the globe. Participants to the workshop will use this information to formulate solutions to suburban infrastructure problems.

The workshop, which is organized jointly by the Faculty of Environmental Studies of York University and the School of Planning of the University of Waterloo, will group international academic experts in different types of infrastructures. For information you can reach Pierre Filion (, 519 888-4567×33963) or Roger Keil

View a copy of the conference program

View a copy of the presentation abstracts


International Forum on Global Suburbanism May 9-11, 2015

DSC_0543Fudan University, Shanghai, China

As a rapidly growing city, Shanghai is exposed to significant challenges with regard to social, economic, environmental, and cultural planning. This forum analyses suburbanization in Shanghai as well as other regions in China from various aspects including land, governance, and infrastructure.

Organized by Major Collaborative Research Initiative (MCRI) on Global Suburbanisms The City Institute at York University

Co-organized by Bartlett School of Planning, University College London, Center for Urban & Regional Studies, Institute of Population Research, Fudan University, Centre for Modern Chinese City Studies, East China Normal University, Institute of Urban and Demographic Studies, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

View a copy of the conference program

View a copy of the presentation abstracts


Center for Metropolitan Studies Podcast: Interview with Roger Keil

Professor Roger Keil speaks to International Graduate College (IGK) Fellow Lisa Vollmer for the Center for Metropolitan Studies podcast series (November 2014).





Yes, We Can Afford to Plan for Smarter Growth and Better Housing

“Critics of smart growth are not comparing apples to apples when it comes to housing costs. We need to consider the full cost of housing under different development scenarios.”


MCRI researchers Markus Moos, Pierre Filion, Roger Keil, and Alan Walks collaborate with University of Waterloo researchers Jeff Casello, Laura Johnson, and Maxwell Hartt to look at a range of factors that are responsible for escalating housing prices in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Check out the Huffington Post article here.







Cancelled-SUBURBSTALK: Urbanizing the regions- Wednesday February 10th, 2016

February 5, 2016
We are sorry to cancel the event for “Urbanizing the regions. Master planned transformations and the change of urban shapes” with Professor Marco Facchinetti (Department of Architecture and Urban Studies, Politecnico di Milano, Italy).


MCRI research featured in “Inside Hanoi’s Gated Communities”

January 26, 2016
MCRI researcher Lisa Drummond and a former postdoctoral fellow with the MCRI, Danielle Labbe, are quoted in the Guardian’s “Inside Hanoi’s gated communities: elite enclaves where even the air is cleaner.” Lisa Drummond, an urban studies professor at York University in Toronto, has been studying Hanoi for decades. She says a “chasm has begun to more »


Job Posting: Research Administrator

January 13, 2016
YORK UNIVERSITY Position Description -YUSA 2 Position Title: Research Administrator Department: The City Institute at York University (CITY) Term of Employment: Contract — one year Band Level / Rate of Pay: $19.87/hour Hours of Work: 23 hours per week (schedule to be determined once hired), 4 days per week Reports to: Anna Gordon, HR Business more »


Symposium on Student Transportation

September 17, 2015
Please join us for a SYMPOSIUM ON STUDENT TRANSPORTATION Monday, September 21, 2015 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. Registration at 3:30 p.m. Council Chamber, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street West Getting here is standing in the way of being here. Together we can fix this. Join us on September 21st for an interactive symposium more »


MCRI Scholars Featured in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research

September 17, 2015
MCRI researchers are featured in the most recent issue of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research: The Politics of Post-Suburban Densification in Canada and France Written by: Eric Charmes and Roger Keil Abstract This debate specifically focuses on densification as a particular dimension of (post-) suburbanization. In the introduction, we discuss densification, along with ‘compactness’ more »


The Global Suburban Infrastructure Workshop

June 11, 2015
School of Planning, University of Waterloo, June 14-16, 2015 As the world population is becoming increasingly urban, most of the growth is happening in suburbs. It is thus there that infrastructure stress is most acute, would it be because of a lag of infrastructure development relative to population and growth, neglect of suburban populations relative more »


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This research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada through funding from the Major Collaborative Research Initiative “Global suburbansims: governance, land, and infrastructure in the 21st century (2010-2017).