UCL Urban Laboratory


Shaping and Connecting Global Cities

26 September 2019, 4:15 pm–7:00 pm


UCL and University of Toronto are co-hosting an event to celebrate their Strategic Global Partnership. It will focus on how research is a critical component of city building, in particular the issues planners, policy makers and citizens need to be thinking about now in order to build the cities of the future.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Rachel Hall – UCL Global


Room G13
1-19 Torrington Place

Panellists will draw on examples from both London and Toronto, and demonstrate the important role global academic networks play in addressing pressing urban issues. Among the research discussed will be public perceptions of and reasons for infrastructure project delays such as the UK’s Channel Tunnel Rail Link and Toronto’s Union Station revitalization and how these can be better addressed.

UCL and University of Toronto (UofT) have shared priorities in many areas, including city building and internationalization. By jointly funding collaborative research projects, we aim to accelerate our understanding of pressing issues, which in urban studies includes affordable housing, supporting successful urban neighbourhood in London and Toronto and best practices for tower block refurbishment.

Panellists will include:

Professor Matti Siemiatycki, Interim Director, UofT School of Cities

'City building through local and global collaboration'

This talk will discuss the promise and possibilities of an approach to urban scholarship that is interdisciplinary, internationally networked, and deeply engaged with diverse community stakeholders. Through a series of examples such as the joint UofT-UCL Need for Speed research project and the School of Cities matchmaking service for building partners, I will show how inclusive city building can be achieved through collaborative research projects and programs that bring together interdisciplinary faculty, students, governments, businesses, non-governmental organizations and community groups.

Professor Mike Raco, Bartlett School of Planning, UCL

'Reflections on London’s Housing Crisis and the Costs of Global City Status'

This talk will draw on the findings of a comparative international research project to examine the causes, consequences, and potential solutions to the housing crises that are affecting global cities such as London and Toronto.

Dr Susan Moore, Bartlett School of Planning, UCL

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

Arising from two highly productive workshops, coordinated as part of the scholarly partnership emerging between UCL and University of Toronto, this edited volume is a collaborative output that seeks to develop cutting-edge critical commentaries on the trajectory of contemporary urban governance, development and activism in London and Toronto. Taking these two ‘global’ cities as empirical lenses, the editors and contributing authors 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 in each city respectively. Based around three research themes: governance; real estate and housing; and community, activism and engagement, the book’s aim is generative. Emphasis is placed on establishing meaningful comparative dialogue via joint scholarly consideration of the key narratives, lessons and directions for further research and theorisation.

Dr Clare Melhuish, Director of UCL Urban Laboratory

'UCL East and the impact of university development on cities'

The presentation will consider the impacts which universities have as developers, in partnership with other actors and institutions at different scales, on the re-shaping of the physical and social landscapes of cities.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Chris Michael, Editor for Guardian Cities, and will be followed by a networking reception.


16.15 – 16.30 Opening remarks from Dame Nicola Brewer, UCL Vice Provost (International), Professor Ted Sargent, UofT Vice President (International) and Kevin McGurgan, HM Consul General and Director-General for UK Trade and Investment in Toronto

16.30 – 17.30 Panel discussion

17.30 – 18.00 Q&A

18.00 – 19.00 Drinks reception