Are the professionals who shape urban policy working with or against economic drivers? On November 20th, Ryerson opened their new Centre for Urban Research and Land Development, an offshoot of their School of Urban and Regional Planning, at their Faculty of Community Services. Its mandate is to tackle these very complex, and very real issues that Toronto faces today.

2011 image of Ryerson's School of Urban and Regional Planning, where Professor Amborski works. Image copyright Google, 2013

The child of Ryerson Professor David Amborski, the centre's purpose is to bring economic and market analysis into the conversation around issues of urban policy such as housing and employment. Collaborating with him were Patrick O'Hanlon, Ryerson alumni and president of Kylemore Communities, and Frank Clayton, a semi-retired urban and real estate economist with Clayton Research Associates. The Centre would help fill a GTA-sized gap in land development concerns, as well as build on Ryerson's commitment to Toronto. "It meets the present city-building mandate of the university, and produces research opportunities for students," Amborski says.

The school would hope to create new research and educational opportunities, including:

  • Public seminars and policy forums
  • New research projects with both public and private-sector partners
  • Ongoing educational opportunities and advice for government planners

Ryerson President Sheldon Levy, Ryerson Dean Usha George, Patrick O'Hanlon, and David Amborski. Photo courtesy of Ryerson.

The expert-led research organization will focus on the role of market analysis in shaping urban policy. Amborski says that Toronto and the larger GTA are facing many development issues, whose policy solutions are sometimes at odds with the economic conditions that both cities and developers face. "How is Section 37 applied? Does that need to be improved? What land value capture tools are available? What are alternatives to development charges for funding public improvements?" he asks. "The centre will tackle public problems and public issues, many of which relate to urban planning".

For more information about the Centre for Urban Research and Land Development, contact Professor David Amborski at the School for Urban and Regional Planning at 416-3979-5000 ext 6768, or Julie Brown, Director of Develoment at the Faculty of Community Services at 416-979-5000, ext. 7877.