Every effort will be made to manage the course as stated. However, adjustments may be necessary at the discretion of the instructor. If so, students will be advised and alterations discussed in the class prior to implementation.
It is the responsibility of students to ensure that they understand the University’s policies and procedures, in particular those relating to course management and academic integrity. A list of relevant policies is included at the end of this outline.
TIME AND LOCATION: Mondays 18:30 to 21:30 in ENGLG11.
Founded in 1793 by John Graves Simcoe as the Town of York, capital of Upper Canada, Toronto has emerged over two centuries to become one of the most important cities in the world. This course has been designed to provide students with an understanding of the geographical evolution of the city of Toronto and its surrounding region. The course examines a number of important aspects of the Toronto phenomenon from both the inter-urban and intra-urban perspectives. Throughout the course, North American and global perspectives are considered, where appropriate.
COURSE OBJECTIVE/LEARNING OUTCOMES: At the end of the course, students should be able to:
· have a clear understanding of the development and present geography of Toronto and its surrounding areas
· assess how the city has grown and expanded through time
· analytically critique past and present planning decisions within the city space
· understand the interrelation between the city and its inner and outer suburbs
· analyze how and why different identity groups (the homeless, persons with disabilities, ethnic groups, LGTBQ people, etc.) have occupied and appropriated certain city spaces
· Encourage students to relate formal education to their everyday life experiences.
TEXTBOOK & READING LISTS:
Reading material is a combination of books’ chapters that are found in the Customized Manual (the Manual can be purchased at the Ryerson Bookstore) and journals’ articles available through the Ryerson Library. Additional material will be posted on D2L.
Please note that the instructor will occasionally post additional readings on D2L for consultation.
METHOD OF INSTRUCTION:
Lecture (we might also occasionally have short field trips).
METHOD AND SCHEDULE OF STUDENT EVALUATION:
Midterm exam (in class)
Final Exam (in class)
All grades will be posted on D2L.
CLASS ATTENDANCE & PARTICIPATION
Attendance is strongly recommended. Students are expected to have completed the readings before class and participate in class discussion. The instructor will be lecturing on material that is not necessarily the same as the course readings. This additional material is also a required component of the course. If students miss a class, it is their responsibility to get in touch with their colleagues and borrow their notes.
The midterm exam takes place in class on October 16 and last 1 hour. Students are NOT permitted to leave the classroom for the duration of the exam. Students are required to answer 30MC questions. Every correct definition is worth 0.5 of the final grade. Marks will be available on D2L by October 20.
BIA SELECTION: For this assignment, students are required to visit the City of Toronto website https://web.toronto.ca/business-economy/business-operation-growth/business-improvement-areas/bia-list/ and select one Business Improvement Area (BIA). Students must clearly indicate the geographic boundaries of the area (northern, southern, eastern, and western boundaries), where the area is located within the city (northeast, southwest, etc.) by using as reference points Yonge Street and Bloor Street, and provide a map of the area (the map MUST be the one provided on the website; other maps will not be accepted). Students should make sure of selecting a BIA that they can visit regularly throughout the term since their essay will focus on the selected area. This assignment MUST be completed in order for the essay to be considered. I will show in class how to navigate the website provided.
Please make sure your assignment includes a title page with student’s name and ID number, course title and code, assignment title, date of submission. The written part should not be longer than a paragraph. The map must be clearly legible and on a separate page.
The essay is around 2000 words (max 2100 – min 1900, bibliography, headings, tables, and title page included) and must be double-spaced. ANY ASSIGNMENT THAT DOES NOT RESPECT THE WORD LIMIT WILL INCUR A 20% DEDUCTION (this includes all assignments with a word count above or below the limit). Use 12-size font. The essay MUST combine your direct observations with academic literature. Only one submission is permitted on D2L so make sure you are submitting your final copy: IF YOU SUBMIT THE WRONG COPY, YOU WILL NOT BE PERMITTED TO RESUBMIT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Zipped files and PDF are not acceptable; make sure you upload a word document.
Objective: Throughout a critical analysis, you are expected to demonstrate an understanding of one of two different aspects of the geography of Toronto (other transportation OR gentrification). You are also required to show an active engagement with the subject and be able to formulate an original perspective on it. The goal of the essay is to examine first-hand how life in the city is shaped and affected by the constant interaction between place and the people who inhabit it, and to analyse and discuss your observations in light of the existing literature. You will explore some of the themes discussed in the course using information from everyday experience.
Evaluation: The essay requires the student to carry out an analysis of the subject, and make and justify an evaluative, comparative or explicatory judgement. The essay will be evaluated based on clarity of organization, logic, syntax, and grammar of student writing.
· Follow an essay format and make sure your paper includes an introduction (clearly indicating topic, thesis statement, and how you plan to structure your paper), a proper body, and a conclusion (reviewing and summarizing the arguments and evidence presented in the body).
· Make sure the essay discusses what is the situation of either gentrification or transportation within Toronto as a whole (for this part you will rely on the academic literature) and whether or not the situation in your BIA conforms to the situation in the city (for this part you will rely on your observations).
· When you quote or paraphrase other scholars, you MUST provide in-text references and a full list of work cited at the end.
· You are required to use at least 6 peer-reviewed journal’s articles (books’ chapters, commentaries, book reviews etc. will not be accepted) outside class readings.
How to proceed:
If you have chosen to write your essay on the topic of gentrification, you should begin with a discussion of what gentrification is and how the concept has evolved since its emergence in the 1960s, particularly within the Canadian context. Secondly, you need to assess how gentrification has been implemented within the city of Toronto. The third step is “to get out there”: you must physically reach the BIA selected in the Assignment and assess its form structure and degree (or lack thereof) of gentrification. In your analysis you must indicate: a) day and time of your visit; b) how is the BIA structured; c) current construction activity (if any) in the BIA. Once you have all the information, you are expected to draw some conclusions on the area by assessing whether or not it validates the claims found in the existing literature (both the one we discussed in class and the one you have uncovered in your library investigation). Your selected BIA will provide you with a tangible example to analyze how gentrification affects urban neighborhoods.
If you have chosen to write your essay on the topic of transportation, you will discuss transportation (public, private, and alternative forms of transportation) in the BIA selected in the assignment. You should begin with a discussion on the role that transportation plays in an urban environment, particularly within the Canadian context. You also need to assess the problems transportation presents for the city of Toronto and discuss the factors causing/contributing to these problems. The second step is to visit the area (please indicate times and dates). Answer the following questions: a) is the area a trafficked one? b) What is the most used form of transportation? c) Is there a high circulation of cars in the area? d) What about buses? e) Are there subway stops, streetcar routes, bike lanes? f) Is there a high number of pedestrians? Finally, with reference to course reading material and to the additional articles you have found during your library research, you will assess whether the area investigated is among those presenting a significant problem for the city in terms of transportation and the reasons why this is or isn’t the case. You will also indicate possible solutions to make transportation in the BIA more efficient and cost-effective.
Grammar and Style:
Before submitting your work, please make sure that you have conducted a spell and grammar check in word, and strictly followed the page limits. In order to write a good assignment, it is not enough to follow the instruction and have thoughtful arguments, you also need to present the material in a clear and organized fashion.
Submissions must be made by the end of the day indicated in the course outline.
While writing your assignments, keep in mind the following:
a) Follow MLA, APA or Chicago style;
b) Make sure your argument unfolds in a logical, coherent fashion, and that the discussion emphasizes analysis over description, remains focused, and avoids irrelevancies and repetitions;
c) Quotations must be introduced, contextualized, and explained adequately;
d) Your goal should be to write an essay that is well structured and a pleasure to read; avoid one-sentence or one-page paragraphs;
e) Very important: make sure all sentences are complete; discussion uses formal language (no jargon or slang); no contractions or abbreviations; paper has been proofread and avoids typos, errors and punctuation problems; title page is included; pages are numbered.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of Peer-Reviewed Journals where students will be able to find articles focusing on urban space:
Canadian Journal of Urban Research
Environment and Planning A
Environment and Planning C
The Canadian Geographer
Journal of the American Institute of Planners
Canadian Journal of Regional Science
Annals, Association of American Geographers
Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services
Journal of Urban Planning and Development
Journal of Urban Affairs
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research
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