Illustration: Sarah Krichel

Ryerson partners with four Toronto universities on affordable housing initiative

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By Neha Chollangi 

Ryerson University has partnered with York University, OCAD University and the University of Toronto to work on a two year research initiative concerning affordable housing in Toronto. 

The main goal for the project titled StudentDwellTO is to create viable solutions and make recommendations on how to improve housing in Toronto for university students.

Rental and housing prices remain an issue in Toronto. According to Toronto condominium market analysts Urbanation Inc,  the average rent in the GTA in 2017 is about $2,000 a month.

The Eyeopener previously reported on Ryerson students who were having difficulty paying rent as well as the increasing cost of living in several areas, including housing and rent.

The research team involves approximately 100 students and faculty members from all four universities to conduct research as well as facilitate the advocacy aspect of the initiative. The diverse and interdisciplinary team that includes several different disciplines like urban planning, architecture, environmental studies, real estate management, psychology and geography.

Some of the initiative’s goals include creating interactive maps and affordable housing strategies, an interactive website and deep focus groups and surveys.

The average rent in the GTA this year is about $2,000 a month

Shelagh McCartney is the research lead for the project at Ryerson and a professor at Ryerson’s School of Urban Planning. She said development and research are essential to the project. 

“As urban planners, we create,” McCartney said. “People are looking at innovative solutions based on global case studies and there is a move towards incorporating both research and creation in these solutions.”

McCartney said she is also interested in looking into the living experiences of commuters at Ryerson and how it affects their school life while not living at a close proximity to campus in terms of campus engagement and education.

StudentDwellTO stems off a similar research project called StudentMoveTO in which transportation experts from the same four universities conducted thorough research to understand student travel patterns and issues in the GTA. The project produced several academic journals based on the research.

The team has already started to incorporate the on-going research into several classes at all four universities. Students in these classes are in the process of analyzing the housing crisis and testing possible solutions.               

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