Campus Dispatch
Ideas for Your Ears

Hear all about the future of cities with U of T’s new podcasts


You’ve been reading about U of T students and professors and their ideas in U  of T Magazine. Now you can listen to them, too.

This past fall, U of T News produced a series of podcasts focusing on the future of cities – from smart traffic lights to the role of green roofs to private mass transit – and drawing on some of the university’s best-known experts.

After you’ve listened, let us know what you think: Complete a short survey for a chance to win a U of T Bookstore gift certificate or a one-month TTC Metropass!


In the first part of this episode, post-doctoral researcher Samah El-Tantawy explains how her work on artificially intelligent traffic lights could reduce wait times at intersections by 40 per cent.

In part two, engineering alumnus Phil Lam and his team at Wheelspan discuss their human-electric hybrid vehicle and how it would make travel on Toronto roads greener and safer.

And in part three, Professor Zack Taylor explains how he’s enlisting students to help answer questions about political behaviour at the local level.

Read a transcript of Episode 1


What kind of transit plan will work for Toronto? In the first part of this episode, civil engineering professor Eric Miller offers a cautiously optimistic forecast for specific transit upgrades – and one very pragmatic wish.

In part two, Richard Sommer, dean of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, imagines some possibilities for transit hubs outside of Toronto’s downtown core.

And in part three, alumnus Taylor Scollon describes his company Line Six’s plans for private transit in Toronto.

Read a transcript of Episode 2

In part one of this episode, Prof. Liat Margolis, of architecture, explains why green roofs do more than offer condo-dwellers a scenic spot to view the CN Tower.

In the second part, Richard Sommer offers ideas on what a holistic transit policy would look like – one that recognizes transit as more than simply getting riders from A to B – would look like.

In part three, political science professor David Wolfe describes what changes Toronto needs to make to develop a sustainable economy, including reimagining its relationship to the region around it.

Read a transcript of Episode 3

Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer is an author and a PhD student in English literature at U of T. Here, she discusses her latest novel, All the Broken Things, set in a wild and transforming Toronto.

In the second part of this episode, Richard Florida, the director of U of T’s Martin Prosperity Institute, talks about how class issues are reshaping global cities.

Prof. Patricia McCarney is working with cities from around the world to provide – for the first time – a way to compare statistics. Her organization, the World Council on City Data has also led to the creation of ISO 37120 – the first set of international standards for cities.

In the final part of this episode, U of T president Meric Gertler, an award-winning researcher in the geography of innovation, explains his views on the symbiotic nature of the university and the city, and details how each contributes to the other’s strength, stability and economies. (This is an edited version of his speech from the Big Cities, Big Ideas lecture series presented by the Munk School for Global Affairs.)

Read a transcript of Episode 4


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