The assignment is to propose a topic for your Research Report. As we are located in Toronto, and Toronto urban issues are in the news daily and are the subject matter of numerous studies, it is recommended that students choose a Toronto related topic, but other cities can also be proposed to your TA. The issue chosen should be analysed using one or more of the theoretical and analytical approaches introduced in the text and the lectures.
The research report proposal should set out what topic you propose to study, explain why it is significant, state what questions you hope to answer, and identify a preliminary bibliography of relevant academic literature sources (at least 8) needed to prepare your paper. The Final Report is not intended to include original research from primary sources such as interviews or surveys, but should be based on existing published research and data. Start with the bibliographies and suggestions for further reading at the end of the relevant chapters in the text. Your proposal should be not more than 1,200 words.
Topics and Questions:
Issues of transportation and mobility are currently a major topic of debate in the Toronto area because of worsening congestion and demands for improvements to public transit services. These issues can be examined based on recent debates about public transit, mobility, car dependence, congestion, urban form and sustainability. What are the main transport and mobility issues in the Toronto area, how do these affect different populations and areas of Toronto unevenly, and what solutions are proposed to solve them?
Issues of housing affordability and homelessness. How have Torontos housing markets changed in recent decades, and what is the significance of those changes? Why is housing in the Toronto area so unaffordable? Why are there so many homeless people in Toronto, and what responses to the homelessness and housing affordability problems have been proposed and attempted in the past?
Social Space. How have the socio-spatial patterns of Torontos population changed in recent decades, why are those changes occurring, and what is their significance? In particular, why is Toronto seeing increased socio-spatial polarization? What approaches have been developed to study these changes? How should we understand these changes to Torontos social geography?
Urban Environment. Toronto has a number of pressing environmental issues, including flooding, air pollution, toxic waste contamination, protection of greenspaces and natural heritage systems. How are these issues understood, and what is being done about them? What research has been done measuring the significance of these issues? Who is involved in trying to mitigate these issues?
Urban Planning. Identify an important planning issue in Toronto, and the policies that have been proposed or implemented in response to it. For example, there are many major redevelopment projects ongoing in the Toronto area, such as the Toronto Waterfront and Portlands, intensification of the downtown core, and redevelopment of public housing projects such as Regent Park and Lawrence Heights, which are interesting topics for analysis. Who is involved in the project, why is it being carried out, what are the arguments for and/or against the project, or for modifications to it?