Shaping Justice and Sustainability Within and Beyond the City’s Edge: Contestation and Collaboration in Urbanizing Regions

Toronto, Canada

4-7 April 2018  / Abstracts: 1 October 2017

48th Annual Conference of the Urban Affairs Association

In an era of globalizing forces, the region has become an important arena for collaboration and contestation, as metropolitan areas work to craft their individual identities. As they do so, questions of equity, inclusion, and sustainability remain. What is the role of diversity, difference and singularity of social actors and communities when it comes to forging visions of urban development that are collective in process, cohesive in vision and sustainable in implementation? Furthermore, as global financial systems exert greater control over national, regional, and local economies, what is the role of innovative and/or insurgent social practices in an urbanizing region? What are the most effective strategies to create environmentally and economically sustainable communities in a regional context? How will different factions of regional actors evolve given conventional relationships, increased social and cultural diversity, and the contradictions of competitiveness and solidarity?

The conference site, Toronto, has become an international model of alternative approaches to urban policies, particularly in the areas of housing, immigration/diversity, social equity, and environmental sustainability. The city anchors the largest metropolitan area in Canada, a region that has emerged as a global leader in innovation. But significant tensions underlie this impressive image. Rising socio-spatial inequality, escalating housing costs, racialized patterns of growth, and inadequate transportation infrastructure, all threaten the region’s future prospects. Furthermore, social, economic, environmental and political cleavages between municipalities comprising the Toronto region continue to emerge. Yet, there are also examples of collaboration in planning and policy at the local and regional levels that have created opportunities for community engagement, grassroots place-making and larger scale city-building. The conference provides an opportunity to both extend our understanding of the Toronto metropolitan experience, and importantly, to examine the broader topic of contestation and promise of collaboration in regions globally. Ultimately, the conference will allow us to examine a fundamentally critical question: how can policies and actions within a regional context promote the development of communities that are both just and sustainable?

Abstract/Proposal Deadline: UAA will not accept any proposals (of any kind) after October 1, 2017, 12 midnight Central Daylight Time (CDT) or 5:00am GMT. The online submission site will close at 12:01 am CDT.  Acceptance or rejection notices will be sent by November 30, 2017.

Questions? Visit the UAA website: (for info on proposal  submissions, registration, hotel reservations, etc.), or contact us at or 1-414-229-3025