Justin Murfitt, MSc Geography student, wins the June Scott Teaching Excellence Award for Teaching Assistants

Justin Murfitt (Masters Supervisor: Laura Brown, UTM Geography) has won the June Scott Teaching Excellence Award for Teaching Assistants for his exceptional work as a TA in UTM’s courses in GIS, quantitative methods, and physical geography.

The objective of the June Scott Teaching Excellence Awards for Teaching Assistants is to recognize publicly the contributions, which teaching assistants make towards the achievement of excellence in undergraduate education, and to honour those who have made exceptional contributions to teaching. More information about the award can be found at: https://www.utm.utoronto.ca/vp-research/teaching-excellence-award-teaching-assistants

Emily Gilbert in the U of T News on President Donald Trump’s first week in office

U of T News spoke with Emily Gilbert, an associate professor of geography and planning and Canadian studies in the Faculty of Arts & Science, about the implications of these executive orders and how Canada will be affected by these sweeping changes.

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Canada’s First Social Innovation Lab on Food Waste and Food Insecurity launched at UofT’s Department of Geography and Planning


The Food Systems Lab is a one-year project which will be piloted in the City of Toronto. It has the potential to be replicated in other municipalities across Canada. Photos from the 1st workshop held November 24th , 2016:














In recent years, food waste has become a hot topic, garnering attention in mainstream media internationally. Globally, about one-third of all food produced is wasted. In Canada, this amount is closer to 40%, of which nearly half is from consumers. High levels of food waste negatively impact the environment, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, nutrient loss, and the inefficient use of resources for food production. Based on single-family waste audit data from 2015/2016, the average Toronto household throws away about 223 kg of food per year at home, of which about 62% could have been eaten. About half of edible food waste is fruits and vegetables.

In September 2015, the United Nations announced a target of halving global food waste per capita by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals, which almost all countries in the world, including Canada, have committed to. With such an ambitious target, all levels of government, industry associations, businesses, non-profit organizations and citizens are talking about the issue and looking for solutions to reduce food waste. On Thursday November 24th 2016, the Department of Geography and Planning will be the site of a historic event, the launch of Canada’s first social innovation lab on food waste and food insecurity funded by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and developed by PhD Candidate in Planning and Trudeau Scholar Tammara Soma and Belinda Li of GOAL 12 and Engineers Without Borders. University of Toronto’s President Meric Gertler will officially launch the event.

In this frenzy of activity, it is easy to develop solutions in a hurry without careful consideration of root causes or all of the stakeholders that are affected, especially marginalized groups. Without a systems approach to addressing food waste, deeply held assumptions may not be challenged, critical features of the broader system may go unnoticed, and opportunities for innovation and collaboration may be missed.

In the Media : Matti Siemiatycki – On Infrastructure spending in Ontario on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin

Ontario has launched an ambitious $130 billion infrastructure spending program. The Agenda talks to University of Toronto professor Matt Siemiatycki about how the money will be spent and what benefits and pitfalls may lie ahead.

Congratulations: Professor Emeritus Ian Burton awarded the Laureat d’Honneur 2016 from the International Geographical Union for his pioneering work on the understanding of disasters.

This prestigious award was established to recognize individuals who have achieved particular distinction or who have rendered outstanding service in the work of the IGU or in international geography and environmental research. Professor Burton’s contributions to disaster risk and climate change research from a geographical perspective have made an indelible mark on several generations devoted to their study, in both the developing and developed worlds. He has been a leader in establishing theoretical frameworks and methodologies within the international area of environmental risk assessment climate, resilience adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development. His innovative contributions in disaster risk reduction and management across scales have provided clear paths for the transition from theory to practice.

Alan Walks in the Toronto Star speaking to gentrification “Hidden Pockets of Gentrification…”

The hidden pockets in Toronto where gentrification is really happening

Tammara Soma on CTV Your Morning – Canadians are wasting tons of groceries as lineups to food banks grow

To help shed some light on how Canadians could do more to help curb food waste, food and social justice advocate Tammara Soma sat down with Your Morning host Anne-Marie Mediwake. Among other things, she recommends not buying items in bulk at the grocery store, and learning how to cook.

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Nathan Stewart (MScPl candidate) in the U of T News – U of T students tackle climate change in Southeast Asia

Stewart is part of a team of researchers participating in the Urban Climate Resilience in Southeast Asia (UCRSEA) Partnership, a collaboration between academics in Canada and four Asian countries: Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.

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Matti Siemiatycki quoted in the Toronto Sun – Why do delays plague transit projects?

TORONTO – Public transit is supposed to be about speed and efficiency but new projects too often take the scenic route in Toronto..

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Planning alumnus Sara Udow in the UofT News – These “Crazy Dames” want us to rethink the way we engage with the city

It’s not every day you get to hang out in a blanket fort.

And this is not just any blanket fort. It’s a sprawling, impressively constructed tunnel of colourful sheets, high enough that you can almost stand up – taking over a big part of the Gardiner Museum’s third floor.

It may look like a child’s fantasy but it was thought up by two innovative adults – alumna and urban planner Sara Udow and artist Jennie Suddick, otherwise known as the Crazy Dames.

The duo started Crazy Dames as a nod to urban theorist Jane Jacobs – who would have turned 100 this year.

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