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Faculty of Community Services

Urban Development (MPl)

Two-year Regular Stream

Ryerson’s Master of Planning (MPl) in Urban Development Two-year Regular Stream supports university graduates without previous experience in planning to launch their planning careers.

A comprehensive blend of core courses, design studios, electives, a Major Research Paper/Project and an internship allows you to develop the advanced skills, experience and knowledge in urban development that can only come from a master’s education.

Curriculum

Urban Development at Ryerson offers a new holistic process for addressing the design and development of contemporary cities and regions.

As a student in the Two-year Regular Stream, you must:

Take ten required core courses:

  • PL8100 Physical Planning and Design Fundamentals
    This foundation course introduces graduate students to the theory, methods and practice of physical design for urban areas. Classes involve a variety of teaching and learning approaches including lectures, seminars, and case studies in built form, relying on both historical and contemporary urban precedents from around the world. 1 Credit
  • PL8101 Multicultural Cities and Planning Policies
    Recent immigration patterns have prompted the need to explore how local governments provide urban facilities, services and infrastructures. This course will prepare students on how modern cities of diverse cultures evolve and what policy approaches can sustain them. The course offers a balanced mix of theoretical explanations about the geographic, political and economic bases of multicultural cities and a critical review of current policies and planning practices. It compares cities around the world, yet the Greater Toronto Area remains the pivot. Anitrequisite IS 8934. 1 Credit
  • PL8102 Institutional and Legal Context of Planning
    Through a series of case studies in practice, this course offers students a foundation in the legal and institutional context in which planning is practised as a registered profession in Ontario. Relevant statues covered will include: Planning Law, The Planning Act, the Places to Grow Act, the Greenbelt Act, the Environmental Protection and Assessment Acts, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as related policies such as Smart Growth, growth management, Environmental Bill of Rights, etc. The course is taught in combined lecture-seminar format, with students working in teams to debate in moot court, various planning decisions in the context of pertinent statues and policies. 1 Credit
  • PL8103 Finance and Local Governance
    This course grounds students in urban economics and mechanisms of finance used in the development, regeneration and revitalization of contemporary urban regions. Through a series of seminars and case studies in practice, students will critically assess and analyze a range of instruments in urban finance and local governance, including for example, tax increment financing, density bonuses, development charges, land transfers, land swaps etc. 1 Credit
  • PL8104 Advanced Research Methods and Analysis
    This course covers the use and application of quantitative (both descriptive and inferential statistical) techniques in combination with various qualitative research methods used by planners. The course emphasizes in particular, the selection and combination of research methods and instruments appropriate to urban development research and urban design problems typically investigated within an applied planning context. 1 Credit
  • PL8105 Planning for Sustainability
    This course explores the theory and applications in practice of planning for sustainability in the context of an urban cultural-natural landscape. Presenting various theoretical fundaments of sustainability – from socio-political to ecological – this course uses a combination of seminars, lectures, debates and case studies to explore the ways in which planning for sustainability may be articulated and manifested in policy, legislation, governance, civic engagement and built-form in the city. 1 Credit
  • PL8106 Professional Planning Practice and Ethics
    This course establishes the professional context for an urban planning practice through seminar discussions and case studies centered on the ethics of planning decisions and design solutions in various applied examples. Using the professional codes of the planning profession in Canada, graduate students will engage in critical reflection and debate, and learn techniques for facilitating ethical planning and decision-making under the complex conditions that increasingly characterize contemporary planning practice, including, for example, public-private developments, multi-disciplinary practices, joint ventures and community-led planning. 1 Credit
  • PL8108 Advanced Theories of Planning and Design
    This course covers established, current and emerging theories of planning in the interdisciplinary context of urban development, and draws from planning and related literatures, including urban planning, urban design, sociology, political science, philosophy, and decision theory. Theories of contemporary city-building are examined from their historical origins to provide an understanding of the changes in the theories that have guided planning and urban development. It critically reviews the theoretical ideas that have informed planners and shaped urban development, and it examines the rationales for planning in contemporary urban environments. 1 Credit
  • PL8109 Planning Studio
    This core studio forms the backbone of planning theory and techniques in practice, with an emphasis on integrating the two literacies - multiculturalism and ecology in planning and design. Through experiential learning and applied planning and design techniques, graduate students will study urban precedents from various metropolitan regions, critically assess these cases, and from these analyses, critically consider planning alternatives for a local site, develop strategies for implementation or policy issue in the context of contemporary urban development. Working in small groups, students will present their work in weekly critiques, a midterm design charette, and final project reviews presented to a jury of invited critics. 2 Credits
  • PL8110 Advanced Planning Studio
    This core studio builds on planning theory and techniques in practice from MPL 101. Through a combined studio and advanced scholarly seminar format, graduate students will undertake experiential learning and (pure or applied) scholarly research to advance the study of the topics of their choice, critically assess, and present their explorations and analyses in the class. The combination studio-seminar format will afford a diversity of teaching and learning approaches including the opportunity for primary researchers,speculative designers, and professionals in practice to share their work with students. This forum will advance students’ scholarship of design and planning practice through intensive and rigourous focus on a selected site, policy or precedent together with important technical and supporting scholarly knowledge. 2 Credits

 


 

Complete one required planning internship:

  • PL8107 Planning Internship
    In this course, students will be expected to gain a minimum six-week professional experience with planning agencies and community organizations. This learning experience will enrich and advance students’ practical knowledge of planning and prepare them for the workplace. The course will provide opportunity to gain exposure to a range of practical, organizational, political and professional issues. Students will be expected to find placements in consultation with the Instructor. Pass/Fail. 2 Credits

Internship positions are typically unpaid,  however, agencies may decide to compensate on their own.

While we do offer some placements, students are encouraged to choose and make their own arrangements.

 


 

Take three elective courses:

With Graduate Program Director approval, you may take certain electives from other graduate programs as described in the graduate academic calendar. Space is limited.

  • PL8301 Planning and Designing the Creative City
    This subject investigates the concept of the ‘creative city’ as an emerging urban phenomenon that requires new approaches by planning decision-makers. Through exploring the theories of, and links between contemporary arts and culture, cultural planning, urban regeneration and the rise of the knowledge economy, this course considers means and precedents for the planning and design of creative cities. Students will critically assess how cities shape and are shaped by economic and socio-cultural forces, and in turn, consider means by which a contemporary urban planning agenda can manifest innovative ideas and approaches. 1 Credit
  • PL8302 Landscape Urbanism
    Current social and environmental conditions pose significant design challenges to growing metropolitan regions. As a response to these conditions, this course explores theories of urbanism in relation to landscape, which has become a central organizing force in contemporary urban development, and through which the traditional duality of culture and nature is dissolving. The notion of landscape as a complex system and a dynamic, responsive surface is investigated as the basis for understanding and continuously reconfiguring the contemporary city. Through critical analysis of key precedents in large-scale designs, students will consider new modes of practice and emerging strategies to engage directly with the dynamic conditions that characterize today’s urban areas. 1 Credit
  • PL8303 Retrofitting Suburbs
    Our current pattern of low density, automobile dependent, single land use urban form is widely recognized as no longer being sustainable. Yet suburban and exurban growth patterns have largely defined urban built form of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Can the suburbs be retrofitted to intensify and diversify land uses, and to meet the social and economic challenges that accompany this growth pattern? Can transit be viable and housing sustainable? Can suburban ecosystems and landscapes be redesigned or regenerated?? This course will respond to these questions through a series of analytical case studies, speculative policies, and creative design projects. 1 Credit
  • PL8304 Housing and Redevelopment
    Regent Park, the Toronto Waterfront, Lawrence Heights – these neighbourhoods in Toronto represent the next frontiers for innovative urban redevelopment. This seminar explores current issues and challenges in housing through an exploration of related literatures on homelessness, poverty, and neighbourhood creation, with associated study of precedents in residential building form. This course will examine the past, present and future of housing issues in urban redevelopment with an emphasis on developing new viable housing typologies that are affordable, sustainable, and well-designed for contemporary urban vitality. 1 Credit
  • PL8305 Contemporary Urban Design
    This course will assess a number of cities in Canada and elsewhere and the various arrangements of urban form that affect perceptual experiences. Urban design considers the location of structures, open space, movement channels, and methods of implementing public policy decisions affecting urban design. This course will introduce students to the theory and practice of urban design, especially, the contemporary form of urban design through readings, lectures, discussions, and project work. 1 Credit
  • PL8306 Heritage and Cultural Regeneration
    Heritage- and culture-based initiatives are essential to urban regeneration programs in Canada. Heritage and culture take on many forms: painting, writing, quilting, pottery, museums, landmarks, sculptures, landscapes, streetscapes, memorials, sport. It is a way for individuals and communities to express and engage themselves with family, friends, and their neighbourhoods, their communities. Culture can be used to renew or revitalize municipalities, regions, even a country. Through case studies in Canada and across the world, literature review and class discussions, the seminar will explore heritage- and culture-based regeneration.1 Credit
  • PL8307 Ecological Design
    This course will examine critically and in depth the concepts, theory and practice of ecological design. It will explore the interface between ecological science and land use planning in the context of design for sustainable developments. Through lectures, seminars, and practical exercises tied to specific sites, students will examine how the interdependent and dynamic relationship between ecology and planning can be creatively harnessed in the design of urban landscapes and their built forms. 1 Credit
  • PL8308 Design for Diversity
    The course will provide a forum to discuss and analyze issues related to diversity, and, particularly, issues related to inclusive design. Through lectures, examples and seminars, the course will examine diversity issues in design, particularly, the changing roles of the designer in increasingly diverse societies. It will encourage students to respond to questions such as: What are the underlying concepts of diversity that relate to our designed environments? Do we really understand the complexities inherent in these relationships? Is diversity a necessary component of the content, process, and participants in design? What are the consequences of the diversity agenda, particularly in design and planning practice? 1 Credit
  • PL8309 Urban Investments
    The course examines urban investment strategies that integrate market-based solutions into the urban development process to promote local and regional planning objectives. Real estate investment terminology, data, financial analysis techniques and spreadsheet-sheet based applications are covered to learn about the feasibility analysis process associated with income-property investments. Case studies, in-class exercises, lectures and guest speakers provide the opportunity to address contemporary urban development issues. Antirequisite: PLE635. 1 Credit
  • PL8310 Waterfront Cities
    Worldwide, waterfront cities share common opportunities and challenges in urban planning and design, ranging from contamination remediation to public space creation and asset enhancement. The revitalization and redevelopment of waterfront cities require planners to adeptly respond to these and other social, ecological, cultural and economic issues at local, state and global scales. Through policy analyses and case studies in Toronto and abroad, tools for planning and designing vibrant waterfront cities are investigated. Students will explore and analyse a range of post-industrial waterfronts – transitional and derelict spaces, from ports, to ship yards and docklands – considering a range of planning and design solutions being used in the regeneration of these spaces. 1 Credit
  • PL8311 Directed Study
    This course is available to graduate students who wish to gain knowledge in a specific area of planning and design for which no graduate level course offerings are available. This would involve a directed study for which the student(s) would be given one credit. Students will conduct their studies under the supervision of an assigned faculty member with expertise in the chosen subject area. Students can take this course only once during their stay in the program. Registration in and requirements of the course must be approved by the Program Director. 1 Credit
  • PL8312 Spec Topics I: Urban Planning
    This course provides students with the opportunity to pursue advanced studies on issues and themes of immediate and current significance in the fields of Planning and Design. It allows students to access leading-edge research and to explore new and emerging models of practice. The particular theme, topic and structure of the course will vary in response to changes and trends in the field, availability of specialists and student interest. 1 Credit
  • PL8313 Nature as a Cultural Construct
    This seminar course focuses on the idea of nature as a cultural construct. The meaning, use and understanding of nature are closely tied to contemporary cultural norms, human behaviour patterns, and social and political ideologies. The seminar examines nature as a cultural construct through a number of lenses: ideas of nature versus wilderness, historical concepts of nature and environmentalism, nature as a manifestation of colonialism, nature as artistic expression, nature as ideal and norm, and the relationship of nature to the city. 1 Credit
  • PL8314 Spec Topics II: Urban Planning
    This course may be offered in response to students' needs and interests. Topics may relate to a dimension of planning and design that is not covered in existing courses including Special Topics I. The particular theme, topic and structure of the course will vary in response to changes and trends in the field, availability of specialists and student interest. 1 Credit.
  • PL8315 Transportation Planning
    This course focuses on the concepts, methods, emerging issues related to the planning of urban transportation systems. Topics include transportation policy in the TO region, UTMS & other methods of analyzing urban transportation, and the links between transportation, land use, health, equity & environmental justice. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding household travel demand. Relationship between traveller behaviour & the urban (built) environment will be critically explored. 1 Credit.
  • PL8316 Site Planning
    This advanced level course provides students with the opportunity to work through the planning and design process for several distinct land uses on singular urban sites. The emphasis will be on the design of suitable development proposals and their disposition on a typical urban site. Students will have the opportunity to test their understanding of the cultural, environmental, engineering, technical, administrative, regulatory, and aesthetic factors which influence design and plan approval processes. Antirequisite: PLE555. 1 Credit.
  • PL8317 Environmental Planning

 


 

 

And complete a Major Research Paper/Project:

  • Major Research Paper/Project
    This capstone course in the Master’s program allows each student to undertake a self-directed original research paper or applied project involving advanced research and analysis on a major issue, case or site in contemporary urban planning, design and development. Major papers will involve the identification of a research problem with appropriate primary and secondary research methods, data collection and analysis. Major projects will involve the development of an original applied design solution for a particular site or case in contemporary urban planning and design. Pass/Fail. Milestone
Program structure

The Two-year Regular Stream is offered on a full-time basis only.

Students are expected to complete the program in 18 months (five terms):

Term 1 Fall
  • PL8100 Physical Planning and Design Fundamentals
  • PL8102 Institutional and Legal Context of Planning
  • PL8105 Planning for Sustainability
  • PL8108 Advanced Theories of Planning and Design
Term 2 Winter
  • PL8101 Multicultural Cities and Planning Policies
  • PL8104 Advanced Research Methods and Analysis
  • PL8106 Professional Planning Practice and Ethics
  • Elective course
Term 3 Spring/Summer
  • PL8107 Planning Internship
Term 4 Fall
  • PL8103 Finance and Local Governance
  • PL8109 Planning Studio
  • Elective course
Term 5 Winter
  • PL8110 Advanced Planning Studio
  • Elective course
  • Major Research Paper/Project (MRP)

You also must meet requirements for residency, continuous enrolment and minimum degree fees.