The Bartlett School of Planning


Critical Dialogues of Urban Governance, Development and Activism: London and Toronto

Edited by Susannah Bunce, Nicola Livingstone, Loren March, Susan Moore, and Alan Walks

Critical Dialogues of Urban Governance, Development and Activism

1 December 2020

Download via UCL Press

Cities have been sites of some of the most visible manifestations of the evolution of processes of globilzation and population expansion, and global cities are at the cutting edge of such changes. 'Critical Dialogues of Urban Governance, Development and Activism' examines changes in governance, property develipment, urban politics and community acitvisim, in two key global citiesL London and Toronto.

The analysis is inherently comparative, but not in the traditional sense – the volume does not seek to deliver a like-for-like comparison. Instead, taking these two cities as empirical cases, the chapters engage in constructive dialogues about the contested and variegated built forms, formal and informal governmental mechanisms and practices, and policy and community-based responses to contemporary urban concerns.

The authors position a critical dialogue on three central issues in contemporary urban studies: governance, real estate and housing, and community activism and engagement. Their less traditional approach to comparative framing seeks to understand London and Toronto from a nuanced perspective, promoting critical reflection on the experiences and evaluative critiques of each urban context, providing insight into each city’s urban trajectory and engaging critically with wider phenomena and influences on the urban governance challenges beyond these two cities.

The publication features contributions from a number of members of staff and past students from the Bartlett School of Planning:

Introduction: Critical dialogues of urban governance, development and activism: London and Toronto

Susan Moore, Susannah Bunce, Nicola Livingston, Loren March and Alan Walks

Part I: Perspectives on governance

1. Capital flows in the capital: Contemporary governmental Imaginations in London’s urban development

Mike Raco and Nicola Livingstone


2. The elusive, inclusive city: Toronto at a crossroads

Shauna Brail and Tara Vinodrai


3. Regulating property conditions in the private rented sector: The complex geography of property licencing in London

Tatiana Moreira de Souza


4. Metromobility and transit-led urbanisation in London and Toronto

Theresa Enright


5. The governance of urban public spaces in London: In the public interest or in the interest of local stakeholders?

Claudio De Magalhães

6. London, its infrastructure and the logics of growth

Daniel Durrant

7. Governing urbanisation in the global city: A commentary

Alan Walks and Mike Raco

Part II: Real estate and housing

 8. Governing urban development on industrial land in global cities: Lessons from London

Jessica Ferm


9. Global city, global housing bubble? Toronto’s housing bubble and its discontents

Alan Walks


10. Trends and Issues in the (unaffordable) London housing market  

Tommaso Gabrieli


11. Housing crisis in a Canadian global city: Financialisation, buy-to-let Investors and short term rentals in Toronto’s rental market

Emily Hawes and Sean Grisdale

12. Planning for densification and housing in London: Urban design and real estate agendas in practice

Michael Short and Nicola Livingstone


13. Addressing equity concerns in land value capture: The spatial distribution of community benefits in Toronto’s urban redevelopment

Jeff Biggar and Matti Siematycki


14. Real estate and housing: A commentary. Dynamics of a housing crisis – the politics and planning of housing in London and Toronto

Susannah Bunce and Nicola Livingstone

Part III: Community, activism and engagement


15. DIY: making space in Toronto’s ‘Creative City’

Loren March


16. Pragmatic fix or a farewell to welfare? Making sense of and contesting the financialisation of public land and council housing in London

Joe Penny


17. Community-based responses to exclusionary processes of neighbourhood change in Parkdale, Toronto

Elena Ostanel


18. Time to be an activist: Recent successes in housing activism in London

Pablo Sendra and Daniel Fitzpatrick


19. Engagement and activism in community land ownership: The emergence of community land trusts in London and Toronto

Susannah Bunce


20. Community, activism and engagement: A commentary

Loren March and Susan Moore


Conclusion: Critical dialogues on urban governance, development and activism in London and Toronto

Alan Walks, Susannah Bunce, Nicola Livingstone, Loren March and Susan Moore