Spring Institute in Global Suburban Studies

Florence and Milan (Italy)

April 30 – May 11, 2018

Advanced Master’s and PhD students, post-docs and early career researchers from the University of Waterloo and York University are invited to apply for the Spring Institute in Global Suburban Studies taking place in Italy in May 2018. A limited number of participants from other institutions can be accommodated.

Financially supported by the Major Collaborative Research Initiative (MCRI) on Global Suburbanisms (www.yorku.ca/suburbs), the Spring Institute will bring together leading international scholars in the field of sub/urban studies from York University, the University of Waterloo, University College London, Politecnico di Milano, and the University of Florence, with early career scholars and graduate students from Canada and Italy to provide an in-depth look at suburbanization processes.


The two-week long Spring Institute, structured around the themes of global suburbanization, land, and infrastructure, will combine formal and informal opportunities to study the sub/urban landscapes of Florence and Milan. It will include thematic lectures by international experts, field trips exploring the urban centres and peripheries of Florence and Milan, as well as career building workshops for professionals and early career academics.

Speakers include:

  • Sandro Balducci, Politecnico di Milano
  • Marco Facchinetti, Politecnico di Milano
  • Valeria Fedeli, Politecnico di Milano
  • Pierre Filion, University of Waterloo
  • Roger Keil, York University
  • Ute Lehrer, York University
  • Markus Moos, University of Waterloo
  • Giancarlo Paba, University of Florence
  • Camilla Perrone, University of Florence
  • Nick Phelps, UCL
  • Iacopo Zetti, University of Florence


Advanced Master’s and PhD students, post-docs and early career researchers from the University of Waterloo and York University with an interest in sub/urban studies are invited to apply and will receive priority in the selection. Applicants from other institutions will be accommodated if there is availability. This is not a course offered for credit at York University or the University of Waterloo.


Participants are NOT required to pay a registration fee for the Spring Institute in Global Suburban Studies. The MCRI Global Suburbanisms project has a travel reimbursement fund available to Canadian students. While participants are expected to pay for their own flight and travel and subsistence costs for their stay in Italy, they can apply to have these costs partially or fully subsidized by the MCRI fund after returning to their home. The MCRI Global Suburbanisms project will also pay for accommodation to be organized by the Institute, transport between Florence and Milan, most meals, and other travel, subsistence and course-related expenses. Participants are encouraged to apply for additional travel funding from their institution.

Application process:

Please send an expression of interest (no more than 500 words) outlining your research interests, how your work relates to questions of global suburbanization, and what you hope to gain from participation in the institute.

Submissions must include your full name, email address, institutional affiliation, program, and, if you are a student, the year of your expected graduation. Please send application materials to suburban@yorku.ca no later than February 16, 2018.

Highlights from After Suburbia: Extended Urbanization & Life on the Planet's Periphery

After Suburbia Staff & VolunteersMarking the culmination of seven years of research, the MCRI Global Suburbanisms Project held its final conference, After Suburbia: Extended Urbanization & Life on the Planet’s Periphery October 19-21, 2017 at York University in Toronto, Canada.

The conference was made possible with generous contributions and support from the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), York University’s Office of the President, Office of the Vice-President Academic & Provost, Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation, the Faculty of Environmental Studies, the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU), the Department of Dance and Theatre, the City Institute, and wonderful and committed volunteers. Thank you to all!

After Suburbia brought together academics, students, and practitioners from across the globe to study the suburbs from the perspective of governance, land, infrastructure, and comparative suburbanisms and included keynotes, panel session and roundtable discussions. Keynote speakers included Solly Angel (New York University, U.S.A); Roger Keil (York University, Canada); Crystal Legacy (University of Melbourne); Roberto Luís Monte-Mór (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil); Jennifer Robinson (University College London, UK); and Fulong Wu (University College London, UK).

Highlights from the three day event include:

Graduate Student Pre-Conference
The graduate student pre-conference took place during the afternoon of Thursday October 19 and brought together PhD students from Brazil, India, UK, Canada, Belgium, and the Netherlands to present their work on sub/urban theory and the urban periphery.

Solly AngelOfficial Conference Opening
The official conference opening included welcome remarks from Robert Haché, Vice-President Research & Innovation, Ravi de Costa, Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Studies, Linda Peake, Director of the City Institute at York University, and Roger Keil, Principal Investigator of the MCRI Global Suburbanisms Project. Shlomo (Solly) Angel (New York University) followed with the keynote, “The New Urban Periphery, 1990-2015: Findings from a Global Sample of Cities.”

Migrating the MarginsMigrating the Margins
We were happy to partner with the Art Gallery of York University to present its fall exhibition Migrating the Margins during our conference opening and reception, the evening of Thursday October 19. The exhibition looks at how a new generation of Toronto artists are imagining place, picturing the future, and reflecting on the vast changes in the city’s culture as a result of decades of immigration and life in the suburbs.

Mayors PanelGTSWG Mayors Panel

The Greater Toronto Suburban Working Group’s (GTSWG) Mayors Panel, “Governing and Changing the Urban Periphery” took place during the lunch hour of Friday October 20. The panel was moderated by GTSWG and CITY Institute affiliate, Sean Hertel and featured: Mayor Rob Burton, Oakville; Mayor Linda Jeffrey, Brampton; Mayor Jeff Lehman, Barrie; and Mayor Steve Parish, Ajax.

Concord FloralConcord Floral
Conference participants attended a special staged reading of Dora award winning play, Concord Floral during the evening of Friday October 20. Laura Levin from York’s Department of Theatre, introduced the performance, including images from Erin Brubacher’s photo series, “This is my room. Look.” Thank you to the cast and crew, Erin Brubacher, Cara Spooner, Jordan Tannahill, Erum Khan, and Laura Levin for a memorable performance.

FES Zig Zag GalleryArt in FES Lounge
The FES Lounge in the Health, Nursing & Environmental Studies Building was transformed for the last day of the conference Saturday October 21 with images from Ute Lehrer, Markus Moos, and Robert Walter-Joseph’s exhibition, Urban Growth on the Periphery: Land, Urban Form, Infrastructure and Everyday Life. Drawing on Markus Moos and Robert Walter-Joseph’s recently edited volume Still Detached and Subdivided? Suburban Ways of Living in 21st Century North America (Jovis), this work demonstrates that aspects of this lifestyle occur simultaneously in urban and suburban places. Alongside Moos and Walter-Joseph’s work were visual impressions of urban infrastructure, taken by undergraduate students from York University who explored suburban areas in Canadian cities (Montreal, Toronto, Waterloo, Winnipeg, Vancouver) under the directorship of Ute Lehrer and Roger Keil,as well as photographs taken by graduate students who participated in international planning workshops on Global Suburbanisms (Leipzig, Germany; Montpellier, France; Shanghai, China; and Johannesburg, South Africa.) A visual essay with aerial photography, which is part of the forthcoming book The Suburban Land Question, co-edited by Richard Harris and Ute Lehrer (UTP), remains mounted on the floor of the ZigZag Gallery at the Faculty of Environmental Studies showing the similarities and differences of urban forms at the periphery.

After Suburbia in the Media:









New book edited by Roger Keil, Pierre Hamel, Julie-Anne Boudreau  & Stefan Kipfer


Governing Cities through Regions 9781771122771_cover_rb_modalcover
Canadian and European Perspectives
edited by Roger Keil, Pierre Hamel, Julie-Anne Boudreau  & Stefan Kipfer

'Governing Cities Through Regions broadens and deepens our understanding of metropolitan governance through an innovative comparative project that engages with Anglo-American, French, and German literatures on the subject of regional governance. It expands the comparative angle from issues of economic competitiveness and social cohesion to topical and relevant fields such as housing and transportation, and it expands comparative work on municipal governance to the regional scale.

With contributions from established and emerging international scholars of urban and regional governance, the volume covers conceptual topics and case studies
that contrast the experience of a range of Canadian metropolitan regions with a
strong selection of European regions. It starts from assumptions of limited
conversion among regions across the Atlantic but is keenly aware of the
remarkable differences in urban regions’ path dependencies in which the larger
processes of globalization and neo-liberalization are situated and


New Book Considers the City from its Periphery

  Roger Keils' new book, Suburban Planet: Making the World Urban from the Outside In was recently featured in a yFile article: "Part of an Urban Futures Series produced by the publisher, Suburban Planet is a compelling response to 20th-century Marxist philosopher and sociologist Henri Lefebvre’s demand not to give up urban theory as the […]

Towards/After Suburbia: FES Best of 2017

  Thank you to The Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University for including our Towards Suburbia seminar series and After Suburbia final conference on their Best of FES 2017 list. Click here to see the top ten that made the list.

Article: Transit Lessons Learned

Journalist Andrew Clark references Switching Tracks report authored by Sean Hertel, Roger Keil, and Michael Collens in his Globe and Mail piece "Lessons learned from the King Street Transit Pilot project." Read his article here.  

Article: Insights from GTSWG Mayors Panel

Post City Magazines' columnist David Fleischer writes about the GTA's common economic interests with insights from The Greater Toronto Suburban Working Group's (GTSWG) Mayors Panel  that took place as part of the After Suburbia Conference at York University on Friday October 20. Read the full article "How Amazon brought the GTA together" here.  

Canadian Council for Southeast Asian Studies (CCSEAS) Conference

York's Centre of Asian Research (YCAR) is hosting the 33rd Canadian Council for Southeast Asian Studies (CCSEAS) conference at York University, Oct 26-28, 2017. Everyone is welcome to attend.

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).