Patricia McCarney, 2013

Director of Global Cities Institute

Department of Political Science, University of Toronto

As cities worldwide take centre stage in the sustainable development and prosperity of nations, the need for globally comparable data and knowledge on cities has never been greater. Whereas only 10 percent of the world’s population lived in cities in 1900, urbanization is a defining phenomenon of the 21st century.  By 2050, 75 percent of the world population will be urbanized. Cities produce greater than 75 percent of global GDP and are home to 3.8 billion citizens, Evidence based decision-making, facilitated by sound data is invaluable in maneuvering through this demographic transition. 


David Bristow & Christopher Kennedy, August 2013

Department of Civil Engineering, University of Toronto

Many natural processes within the Earth system exist in non-equilibrium thermodynamic states. When an open system is subject to an increasing input of high quality energy (i.e., of a high capacity to do work – a high quantity of exergy) it will develop new structure so as to maximize the rate of energy dissipation and increase entropy production. This is relevant to a fundamental question for the emerging science of cities: Why do cities grow?


Mark S. Fox, June 2013

Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto

This paper lays a foundation for building an ontology on city indicators. The goal is to formalize the definition of city indicators as developed by the Global City Indicators Facility using the technology of Ontologies as implemented in the Semantic Web. This will reduce the ambiguity of interpretation; take indicators out of the realm of humans and into the realm of computers where the world of Big Data, open source software, mobile apps, etc., can be applied to analyze and interpret the data; and, achieve interoperability, namely the ability to access, understand, merge and use indicator data available from datasets spread across the web.


Daniel Hoornweg (a) & Kevin Pope (b), January 2014

(a) University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT)

(b) Memorial University of Newfoundland

Regional trends in population, urbanization, resource availability and scarcity, as well as economic growth and decline are often best observed in the largest cities (urban areas). Typically, large cities are early adopters to regional opportunities for growth and development. This paper examines the effect of socioeconomic pathways on the regional population distribution of the world's 101 largest cities in the 21st century. City populations are provided for 2010, 2025, 2050, 2075, and 2100. Socioeconomic pathways, with various levels of sustainability and global cooperation are assessed based on their influence on the world's largest cities. The results of this paper provide valuable insights into the effect of sustainable development on the regional distribution of large urban areas throughout the 21st century.


Paper and supplementary report.

Richard Stren Global Cities Institute, University of Toronto Email: restren@gmail.com

Abigail Friendly Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Utrecht University 

Since the second World War, cities have become more important both economically, and politically all over the world. As this trend has established itself, city leaders – and more particularly their mayors – have assumed greater importance as political actors. This importance is visible in the local context, but more and more city mayors are operating at both a national and international level. Given the wider scope of mayors in a more globalized world, what are the implications for our understanding of local politics? This paper will consider some of the major issues around this question, and suggest new lines of research on the appropriate role and function of mayors, especially mayors of big cities.

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