Mobilizing knowledge to create just and sustainable cities

As we move through the 21st century, cities are rapidly growing and urbanization is everywhere. The spread and intensification of urban settlements are increasingly driving human impact on the planet, as well as unequal access to opportunities, urban services and resources for disadvantaged populations. Urbanization has accelerated climate change and, in turn, cities are affected by the climate crisis, which is taking its toll on the most vulnerable and poorest human communities. This means the struggle for social justice and sustainable living environments must go hand in hand.  

Now is the time to prioritize building more just and sustainable cities that drive positive change across all communities, particularly those facing the greatest risks. York University’s Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change (EUC) is producing cutting-edge research and mobilizing knowledge through bold ideas and concerted action, preparing students to respond to both the challenges and opportunities of widespread urbanization. EUC researchers and educators are revolutionizing how we think about urban and environmental planning, regional governance, equitable development, housing and urban infrastructures.  

EUC is advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #11, making cities and human environments sustainable, safe, resilient and inclusive. We are bringing together physical scientists, social scientists, planners, artists, ecologists and humanities scholars to study how urbanization processes can lead to better forms of urban life for all. As a collective of expert thought leaders, in collaboration with urban communities locally and globally, we work to understand people’s lives and livelihoods in cities, suburbs and beyond and how injustices undermine the ability of human and nonhuman nature to thrive on an urban planet.  

Planning is also crucial to addressing the fundamental impacts associated with urbanization. Planning interventions, however, hinge on understanding how social, environmental, economic, political and cultural factors work together to shape urban problems and solutions. EUC programs, including the BES Cities Regions Planning and the accredited Masters of Environmental Studies in Planning (that can be completed in a 3+2 combination),– empower students through fundamental interdisciplinary knowledge, critical thinking, hands-on experience, policy grasp and global perspectives necessary to realize planning’s potential and sustain positive change.   

EUC is a launchpad for innovative, passionate and positive changemakers who will help create just and sustainable lives for everyone. We provide opportunities for students to transform their passion into their profession through “living labs” such as the Maloca Community Garden and York research centres such as the City Institute (CITY). Whether addressing food insecurity, housing crises or energy transitions, EUC students will lead the global urban change movement, cultivating the positive change needed to navigate our transition to a more just and sustainable world. 

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2023, Mehwish
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