Cities demand examination from many angles



This issue of Edge is about cities. Many of us under- stand cities because more Canadians than ever before are living in them. On a visceral level, we experience both the problems and pleasures of urban life. But cities have an impact at more than just the individual level. We’re starting to understand that as our cities go, so does our nation. As engines of an increasingly-competitive global economy, we rely on our cities to help us win talented labour.

Cities present us with a multitude of challenges— and opportunities.

The University of Toronto’s work in examining the urban experience is stronger than ever before. last year, U of T announced its participation as a lead university in the southern ontario smart Computing innovation Platform, a collaboration of seven universities, IBM, and the Governments of Canada and Ontario. One of the project’s priorities is cities. The supercomputing power at the heart of SOSCIP will enable researchers to harness the big data associated with cities to tackle urban challenges such as aging infrastructure and rapid urban growth.

And U of T is the only Canadian university in an important new partnership called the Centre for urban science and Progress (CUSP). led by new York University and the Polytechnic Institute of new York University, CUSP will focus on research and technologies related to the challenges facing the world’s cities, such as energy efficiency, public health and transportation congestion.

These are only two examples of the expertise U of T is devoting to research and scholarship on cities.

This issue of Edge offers even more. Of note is our title: Making Cities Better. We know, all too well, the problems cities are facing. In this issue, we have asked 15 professors to tell us how we can transform cities so they work better for people. And, as is so often the case with a societal problem, our experts show us how we need a multitude of perspectives to create the cities we want.

I hope you enjoy this issue.


Professor R. Paul Young, Phd, FRSC
Vice President, Research and Innovation

    EDGE / Fall 2013