Greater Toronto Suburban Working Group

“Making them talk, then act, together!"

The Greater Toronto Suburban Working Group (GTSWG) was established in 2010 with the aim of furthering collaboration within and across government and non-government actors within the planning and development arena of the Greater Golden Horseshoe region of Toronto.

The GTSWG, co-ordinated by Sean Hertel and Roger Keil, has served as a forum for the exchange of information and ideas regarding present-day and future prospects for development and governance policies and processes shaping the growth of suburbs across the Greater Golden Horseshoe. More specifically, this forum discussed and shared issues, working towards inspiring new modes of governance within the region. While one aim of the group was simply to bring people together to talk, the larger objective was to apply wider perspectives and new knowledges to the processes through which the suburbs are shaped, lived and worked in, and perceived.



Next Stop: Equity – Routes to fairer transit access in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area is a landmark report released by CITY in February 2016, urging a call to action for transit equity, as the Province of Ontario continues to roll out a $50-billion investment in 1,200 km rapid transit across the GTHA. The report is a response to widening gaps between affordable housing and employment opportunities that have converged, in combination structural decades-long social inequities that have persisted and worsened in the urban periphery, to make transit service disparities especially severe in suburban areas. Overall, the historic lack of transit investment means many living in the “inner ring” or “905” suburbs of Toronto must either have access to a car or find a home somewhere else.

Click here to read Next Stop: Equity (pdf)

transit equity















GTSWG coordinators Sean Hertel and Roger Keil, in collaboration with MES student Michael Collens released Switching Tracks: Towards transit equity in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area in March 2015. This report, based on research funded by Ontario’'s regional transportation agency Metrolinx, provides a survey of existing research and practice on transit equity and justice. Using insights and examples from around the world, the report notes the importance of making equity concerns a priority in transit planning. It is meant to inspire debate on transit equity in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area more generally, and will be the basis of an expert workshop on the topic hosted by the GTSWG on Tuesday March 31, 2015, in Toronto. For more information, please contact Sean Hertel ( or Roger Keil (

Click here to read a copy of Switching Tracks - Towards Transit Equity in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

report coverAs part of the Suburban Revolution Conference, the GTSWG released The Roundtable Report in September 2013 as a "manifesto-style statement that is geared towards stimulating wider public interest and contributing to future debates in, and about, the region."

You can read the complete Roundtable Report here.

Our Partners Include:

Building and Land Development Association (BILD), GTA Chapter  | Canadian Urban Institute  | DIALOG

Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation  | R.G. Richards & Associates  | The Neptis Foundation

City of Markham  | United Way of York Region  | Urban Strategies Inc. | Seana Kerr | Fora Strategic Planning



Hertel, S. & Keil, R. (2017). Fixing postsuburbia: Recalibrating the way we think, speak and act upon Toronto’s periphery. In P. Maginn & K. Anacker (eds.) Suburbia In The 21st Century: From Dreamscape To Nightmare? Taylor and Francis.

Collens, M. & Hertel, S. (2016). Public Transit and the Public Good. Ontario Planning Journal. 31 (4).

Hertel, S., Keil, R., & Collens, M. (2016). Next Stop: Equity – Routes to Fairer Transit Access in the Grater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Hertel, S., Keil, R., & Collens, M. (2015). Switching Tracks - Towards Transit Equity in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Hertel, S., Keil, R. (2015). Die Region regieren: Toronto's postsuburbane Entwicklung zwischen Diskurs,Territorium und Technologie. In J. Jessen & F. Roost (eds.) Refitting Suburbia. Berlin: Jovis.

Hertel, S. & Keil, R. (2014). Beyond Stereotypes. The Ontario Planning Journal. 

Hertel, S. & Keil, R. (2013). Making Them Talk, Then Act, Together! The Greater Toronto Suburban Working Group. In Keil, R. (ed.) Suburban Constellations: Governance, Land and Infrastructure in the 21st century. Berlin: Jovis.

Hertel, S. & Keil, R. (eds). (2013). The Greater Toronto Suburban Working Group Roundtable Report.


Sean Hertel & Roger Keil Present at the Ontario Professional Planners Institute Western Lake Ontario District breakfast event. (2014, March 20). Royal Botanical Gardens. Burlington, ON.

Canadian Urban Institute: Placemakers Event. (2014, February 11). Good Density: The elusive search for good density. A cure for what divides us? Innis College, University of Toronto.

Launch of the Roundtable Report (2013, September 27).  A Suburban Revolution? An international conference on bringing the fringe to the centre of global urban research and practice. York University, Toronto.

Roger Keil (2013, April 2). Next Generation Suburbs. City of Toronto’s Chief Planner Roundtable event.


Lorinc, J. (2016, February 02). How improving transit can price out those who need it most.

Gordon, G. (2016, February 03). Regional Transportation Plan Review: Transit Equity In The GTHA. Novae Res Urbis, Greater Toronto Edition 19 (5).

CBC News Toronto. (2016, Feb. 10). How to make Toronto's transit more equitable. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Hertel, S. (2016, February 10). Transit Equity Interview with Matt Galloway. Metro Morning. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Litman, T. (2016, February 18). Towards a More Equitable Transit Future. Planetizen.

Spurr, B. (2015, April 25). Waiting for a bus that takes forever: Welcome to Toronto’s ‘transit desert’. Toronto Star.

Keil, R. (2015). Suburbs and the New Urban Century. Ontario Planning Journal, 30 (4). P. 23.

Gupta, R. (2015, October 15). Helping more people access transit doesn’t need expensive solutions, advocates say. Etobicoke Guardian.

Tires or feet? Chief Planner’s Roundtable on next generation suburbs. Spacing.

Hertel, S. (2014, January 8).  Interview with Matt Galloway on Bridging the City-Suburb Divide. Metro Morning. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. CBC Radio, Metro Morning.

Ratchford, S. (2014, February 12). Defining good density: Debunking Assumptions. Novae Res Urbis.

Keil, R. & Hertel, S. (2013, September 25). Look for Toronto’s urban future in the booming suburbs. The Toronto Star.

Pearce, S. (2013, October 2). Toronto needs York Region more than York needs T.O.

Arif, H. (2013, October 7). Suburban Revolution? The Huffington Post Canada.

(2013, December 28). Fourteen ways to fix the GTA in 2014. The Globe and Mail.