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Working Papers

The opinions expressed in these working papers are those of the author and should not be taken to represent opinions and views of CUR or Ryerson University. 


Travel Behaviour and Residential Location of Millennials in the GTHA: A Case Study of Post-Secondary Students from Four Toronto-Area Universities

June 20, 2018 - The travel behaviour of millennials has received much attention in the past decade. Much of this is anecdotal, however, and millennials as a group are under-represented in most legacy transportation surveys. This study collected survey data from over 15,000 university students in the GTHA on their daily travel patterns. In the absence of representative data, large comprehensive datasets can be useful in providing partial insights. This is especially the case here, as millennials are pursuing post-secondary education at rates higher than any other generation in history.

The study found that distinct transportation ‘life-cycles’ among these post-secondary students contributed to different travel profiles, as did the characteristics of residential neighbourhoods. An encouraging observation was that two-thirds of all post-secondary students (64.1%) relied almost exclusively on walking, cycling and transit. The impact of changing life-cycles remains to be addressed, however. These students, currently studying in post-secondary institutions in a large metropolitan area, most likely have different economic and social constraints than millennials who are working full-time.The study also found that with increased social role and responsibilities, individuals were likely to become more dependent on cars and transit.

This study contributes to an improved understanding of residential location preferences among young adults, as well as the effect of neighbourhood locations on transportation outcomes. This should be considered when creating policy regarding affordable housing specifically targeted at young adults.  


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Green Infrastructure and Stormwater Management in Toronto: Policy Context and Instruments

REVISED, December 10, 2018 - Green infrastructure (GI) includes a wide range of natural vegetative systems, green technologies and innovative approaches to development that collectively provide a multitude of environmental, economic and social benefits to people and communities.  Many of these benefits relate to water and stormwater management. As jurisdictions across the globe face increased infrastructure, water and development pressures in urban centres, policy makers are trying to advance a shift from grey to green infrastructure by developing and implementing a range of policy instruments.

Understanding green infrastructure policies in urban areas in Canada requires a multi-level governance approach by outlining the policy context at the federal, provincial and municipal levels in Canada. Using the City of Toronto, Canada’s largest urban centre, as a case study, this report outlines the complex context and diverse set of instruments that are currently associated with green infrastructure efforts. In addition to a focus on the City of Toronto, this report also outlines some of the initiatives that non-government organizations and the private sector are engaged in related to green infrastructure and stormwater management across the city.

It is clear from this report that the shift from grey to green requires a recognition of the complex mix of policy instruments involved and an increased emphasis on partnerships – between levels of government; between government agencies with infrastructure, land and water mandates; and between governments and the non-government and private sector actors and organizations.


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Overcoming barriers and facilitating brownfields redevelopment in the GTHA: A review of results from interviews with private sector stakeholders

November 23, 2015 - The redevelopment of brownfields is seen to offer communities a “triple benefit” in terms of remediating pollution, removing neighbourhood blight, and providing new development and employment.  It is for this reason that the Ontario government, through its Provincial Policy Statement and the Growth Plan, explicitly promotes brownfield redevelopment as an opportunity for intensification and more sustainable growth.  Provincial ministries and municipalities have also implemented a range of policy, funding, and technical assistance tools to facilitate cleanup and redevelopment by the private market.

Using information gathered through interviews with twenty developers, landowners, and other private sector stakeholders, this working paper examines the current motivations for, and barriers to, private sector redevelopment of brownfields in the GTHA, as well as the perceived effectiveness of policies, programs, and tools which aim to foster redevelopment.

The overall perception was that the existing regulatory framework was well intended, but needed to be modified to make it more efficient, effective, secure, and generally more cognizant of the costs, timelines, and risks facing the private market.  Many felt that the “easy” brownfield projects in strong GTHA markets have been redeveloped, so continued success in primary and secondary markets would require more collaboration to unlock both private and public returns.

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