The Global Suburban Infrastructure Workshop

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 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 (, 519 888-4567x33963) or Roger Keil

Workshop Poster final (3)

 View the presentation abstracts here.


Conference Program

Sunday June 14, 2015

2:00-6:00: Planning tour of Waterloo Region

The tour will concentrate on recent planning policies in the region including the construction of a LRT, the densification of the central corridor, downtown areas’ revitalization, the hard-edge growth boundary and environmentally sensitive policy areas. The tour will emphasize the position of Waterloo Region within the Toronto commuter shed and transportation connections with Toronto.

The tour will be conducted by Kevin Eby, Director of Community Planning for the Region of Waterloo. More information will be circulated one week before the workshop.

Participants will be picked up at the EV1 building on the University of Waterloo campus and at the entrance of the Delta Hotel on Erb Street in Waterloo.

7:00: Dinner for participants to the workshop

The location of the dinner is at the Bauer Kitchen, which is about a fifteen minute walk from the Delta Hotel. The location is indicated on an aerial photograph at the end of the program.

Monday June 15, 2015 EV1 Room 221

9:00-9:45 Welcoming messages and the organization and purpose of the workshop

Jean Andrey, Dean, Faculty of the Environment, University of Waterloo

Clarence Woudsma, Director, School of Planning, University of Waterloo

Roger Keil, Faculty of Environmental Studies, Principal Investigator of the Global Suburbanisms MCRI

Pierre Filion and Sara Saboonian, School of Planning, University of Waterloo, co-organizers of the workshop

9:45-10:45: Using Infrastructures to Transform suburbs

Chair: Ute Lehrer (York University)

Rebecca Ince and Simon Marvin (University of Durham)

Retrofitting ‘obsolete’ suburbs – networks, fixes and fluidity

Jeff Casello (University of Waterloo)

Suburban infrastructure and transportation choice

10:45-11:00 Coffee break

11:00-12:30: Infrastructure and Suburban development

Chair: Steven Logan (York University)

Xuefei Ren (Michigan State University)

Infrastructure and mobility in urban China: The case of Beijing’s metro network

AbdouMaliq Simone (Max Planck Institute for Ethnic and Religious Diversity)

Relays – Reworking trajectories of articulation among peripheries and cores

Shubhra Gururani (York University)

Landscapes of infra-structure: Urban transformation, development, and neoliberal capitalism in India

12:30-1:30: Lunch in ev1-221 and the adjacent atrium

1:30-3:00: Passenger and Freight Transportation in the suburb

Chair: Frederick Peters (York University)

Steven Logan (York University)

Transportation as transformation: A media analysis of infrastructure

Jean-Paul Addie (University College London)

The three-dimensional dialectics of suburban infrastructure: Scale, centrality, and the spatial politics of Chicago Southland

Clarence Woudsma (University of Waterloo)

Suburbanization, suburbanisms and freight: Infrastructures at the crossroads

3:00-3:30: Coffee break

3:30-5:00: Water infrastructure in the global suburb

Chair: Shubhra Gururani (York University)

Cecilia Alda Vidal, Michelle Kooy and Maria Rusca (UNESCO-IHE)

Opening the black box: Everyday operation of the urban water supply system in Lilongwe, Malawi

Frederick Peters (York University)

Experiments in neoliberal infrastructure: Dynamic capitalist and institutional learning in the neoliberal experiment of post-Soviet Europe

Jonathan Rutherford (Université Paris Est)

Beyond/before infrastructure: Socio-technical disposition and planning for water and wastewater services in the Stockholm archipelago

7:00: Dinner for participants to the workshop

The location of the dinner is at the Faculty Club. The location is indicated on an aerial photograph at the end of the program.

Tuesday June 16, 2015 ev1 room 221

9:00-10:30: Social equity issues

Chair: Jeff Casello (University of Waterloo)

Sean Hertel (Urban Planning Consultant, Toronto) and Michael Collens (York University)

Switching tracks: Towards equity in public infrastructure priorities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

Igor Vojnovic, Jeanette Eckert and Xiaomeng Li (Michigan State University)

Shaping Michigan urban and suburban landscapes of inequity and inequality

Markus Moos (University of Waterloo)

Sustainability as an urban way of living? Equity implications of planners’ interpretation of sustainable infrastructures

10:30-11:00 coffee break

11:00-12:30: Economic, financial and political perspectives

Chair: Markus Moos (University of Waterloo)

Alan Walks (University of Toronto)

The suburban debtscape: Automobility and financial (infra) structures

David Wachsmuth (University of British Columbia)

The ‘in-between territories’ of suburban infrastructure politics

Janice Morphet (University College London)

Rescaling the suburban: New directions in the relationship between governance and infrastructure

12:30-1:30: Lunch in ev1-221 and the adjacent atrium

1:30-3:00 Green and water infrastructure

Chair: Igor Vojnovic (Michigan State University)

Sara Macdonald (York University)

‘Greenfrastructure’: The Ontario Greenbelt as urban boundary

Jochen Monstadt and Martin Schmidt (Techniche Universität Darmstadt)

Suburban governance of water supply and sanitation in the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main region

Sophie Schramm and Lucia Wright Contreras (Techniche Universität Darmstadt)

Suburban constellations of water supply and sanitation in Hanoi

3:00-3:15 coffee break

3:15-4:00: plenary

  • Main themes arising from the workshop
  • Common dimensions of global suburban infrastructures
  • Distinctions between issues related to different types of suburbs and infrastructures
  • Connections between empirical and conceptual perspectives
  • Conceptual advances in the field of suburban infrastructures
  • Contested infrastructures and their impacts
  • The organization of the edited University of Toronto Press book

4:00 closure