We live in an urban world. Cities and city-regions around the globe face pressing social and environmental challenges linked to the climate crisis, emerging infectious disease, global displacement and migration, and deepening inequalities and racial divides. But cities are also the places where solutions to these problems can be found. In Cities, Regions, Planning, you learn to apply inclusive and sustainable planning interventions, consulting skills, governance and political procedures and activist tools to manage urban growth (and decline), provide infrastructure, integrate newcomers, and mitigate environmental impacts.
The Cities, Regions, Planning program examines how cities and regions may be planned in more just and sustainable ways through three thematic concentrations:
- Urban Worlds - engages with different ways of being in cities around the planet to consider how urban residents live, work and play in a rapidly changing global geography of interconnected urban places.
- Urban Planning and Politics - deals with the institutions, actors, struggles and processes that help create and govern communities, cities, regions, and urban networks.
- Urban Political Ecology - focuses on the role of nature and environment in the process of urbanization, urban form and urban life.
Taught by internationally recognized urban scholars and planning practitioners, students acquire the foundational knowledge, critical thinking and technical skills to create tangible change in urban, suburban and regional environments. Students engage with communities in Toronto, across Canada and abroad gaining hands-on experiences of processes of urban transformations, community-based initiatives and design and policy challenges.
Students will explore these critical urban issues:
- Processes of urbanization and city life
- The regional composition of the global economy
- Planning theory and practice
- Urban and regional planning
- Urban infrastructures and mobility
- Urban health and pandemic preparedness
- Suburbanization, growth control and conservation
- Urban analytics and geomatics
- Urban wildlife and habitats
- Urban risk and resilience
- Public participation in planning and governance
- Urban inequalities, gentrification and segregation
- Urban ecologies
- Communities and urban life
This program is supported by the CITY Institute at York University, a leading interdisciplinary centre that facilitates critical and collaborative research and provides new knowledge and innovative approaches to understanding and addressing the complexity of the urban arena.
At a Glance
4 years of study
Bachelor in Environmental Studies (BES)
Offered full time and part time
Accepts applications for Fall (September), Winter (January), & Summer (May) Entry
Hands-on Learning and Field Studies
Learning in the field is a key component in our program. Your courses will take you on location with field trips to various places in Toronto, across Ontario and in the work place.
Urban and Regional Infrastructures
In this course, students will complete a two-week intensive study of Toronto or another Canadian city on location in the field.
On location: Urban placemaking and the spatial politics of difference
In this course, students learn through immersive on-site fieldtrips and activities, walking tours, guest talks, and discussions in public spaces and community venues across the city, providing students with a first-hand experience of the struggles, controversies, and possibilities of place-making practices.
Urban Consulting Practice
In this 4th year course, students will have hands-on experience with partners in public and private urban planning practice and civil society organizations. The course will develop skill training in negotiation, consulting and community participation.
Course for degree credit is an option for all Cities, Regions, Planning students with private or public organization, agency or ENGOs.
With increased urbanization around the world, the need to address issues within cities including those of equity, sustainability, policy, and environment are at the forefront of many governments, businesses, and organizations.
Along with the development of practical, hands-on experiences, you will hone in-demand skills in critical thinking, communication, project management and coordination. Our graduates are working in both the public and private sector in a variety of fields including government, business, land use planning, policy, non-profit, and transportation.
To help you succeed, our Experiential Education Coordinator provides a variety of career support services to our students including resume help, interview prep, and career planning workshops, and maintains an exclusive job board just for our students.
- Urban, Land Use or Transportation Planner
- Policy Advisor and Consultant
- LEED Technical Coordinator
- Transit Supervisor or Manager
- Permits and Approvals Coordinator
- Environmental Manager
- Planning and Space Assessor
We also offer you the opportunity to complete a Global internship with York International
First Year Courses
- EU/ENVS 1010 3.00 Introduction to Environmental Documentaries
- EU/ENVS 1100 3.00 The land we’re on: Treaties, art and environment
- EU/GEOG 1000 6.00 The World Today: An Introduction to World Geography
- EU/GEOG 1401 3.00 Physical Geography: Weather and Climate
- EU/GEOG 1402 3.00 Physical Geography: Dynamic Earth
- EU/ENVS 1210 3.00 Cities, regions, planning in a globalized world
- Plus two or three elective courses of your choice from 100s of courses offered at York U.
Our advising team will assist you with course selection to ensure you are meeting your degree requirements, help you choose your electives, and develop your own unique plan to include your double major, minor or certificate in your degree.