Skip to main content

Liberal Arts and Professional Studies (AP) – Urban Studies

Location: S775 Ross Building, Tel.: 416-736-5054, ext. 77796
Program Coordinator: D. Young, Social Science
Affiliated Faculty: R. Basu, Geography; J. Caulfield, Social Science; L. Code, Geography/Social Science; L. Drummond, Social Science; G. Fallis, Economics/Social Science; L. Gilbert, Environmental Studies; S. Hornstein, Visual Arts/Fine Arts; W. Jenkins, Geography; M.J. Keall, Social Science; R. Keil, Environmental Studies; S. Kipfer, Environmental Studies; L. Lo, Geography; G. Norcliffe, Geography; L. Peake, Social Science; V. Preston, Geography; J. Radford, Geography; B. Rahder, Environmental Studies; M. Stein, History; G. Wekerle, Environmental Studies; P. Wood, Geography; D. Young, Social Science

The city is among the most fundamental of human institutions. Across history, cities have been sites of basic innovation in economic, political and cultural life — centres of trade, seats of empire and the locale of scientific, social and artistic creativity. Cities retain these roles today and are the home of a growing majority of the world’s population who increasingly live in large metropolitan regions of several million people. Often, as in many Canadian cities, these urban regions are marked by complex social diversity, striking contrasts of wealth and poverty, and a challenging array of planning and environmental dilemmas.

These several themes are the focus of York’s Urban Studies program which offers a framework for an undergraduate liberal-arts education based in the study of modern metropolitan life and the social and spatial fabrics of cities. The program is interdisciplinary, drawing on the work of scholars and researchers who have viewed the urban field from a range of perspectives in the social sciences and humanities. Its courses encourage a critical appreciation of the everyday life that we experience as Canadian city-dwellers and of the modern city in historical and comparative context, and they seek to explore future challenges that may confront city-building and urbanism. Many courses also stress field studies in the streets and neighbourhoods of Toronto.

The program provides a good foundation for graduate study in such fields as urban planning, community development, municipal affairs or international development, or for careers in such areas as education or journalism. Many program alumni now work as planners, policy advisers, researchers and research consultants, teachers, real estate entrepreneurs, government or corporate administrators, social workers, lawyers or in other professions for which their undergraduate studies served as a springboard. Students may explore these possibilities in the program’s 4000-level work-placement course.