Cities worldwide are driving the prosperity of nations and are central to global sustainable development. The Global Cities Institute was created at the University of Toronto in the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design to build on the strengths of a rapidly expanding global network of scholars, city leaders, design and planning professionals, key international organizations, foundations and industry innovators dedicated to securing a better future for cities.
The global urban population is currently 3.8 billion, or 53 percent of the world population. By 2050, 6.3 billion people will be living in cities: 67 percent of the total world population. How will our cities accommodate this additional growth? What city forms are we contemplating? What density and what physical reach are we expecting? How will we plan and design for alternative projections? What forms of governance are we envisioning to guide urban change? What qualities of life do we imagine for these growing cities? How can the form and reform of our cities contribute to increasing the health of populations? How can we ensure increasing levels of physical and social mobility across increasingly large spatial formations with complex political-administrative jurisdictions? How do we identify and act on the key elements that will ensure sustainable prosperity for cities in ways that generate national and global prosperity, and propel us towards more sustainable, safer and livable futures?
To approach these questions first requires accurate city level data, and then the capacity to calculate and visualize new, alternative and progressive forms of urbanization. The Global Cities Institute houses the University of Toronto’s Global City Indicators Facility (GCIF), as an anchor program. It will also house a new Model Cities Theatre and Lab. The Global Cities Institute convenes collaborative, cross-disciplinary research that builds on the GCIF metrics and bridges the fields of urban governance, design, technology and economics.