Media Releases

A City of Neighbourhoods? Local Associations & Their Critics in Toronto

January 28, 2013

TORONTO, ON – A very large number of neighbourhoods in Toronto include active resident associations that vigorously intervene in decisions impacting on issues of planning and design. For some, this makes the City democratically vibrant; for others it means that responsible decision making is impeded by ill-informed and “NIMBY-ist” interference. It is therefore important to know whether or not neighbourhood activism is a positive or negative force and, therefore, how it can be either further empowered or, for its detractors, curtailed.

The presenting speakers will be Josh Fullan and Dr. Aaron Moore. Audience and panel discussion, moderated by Professor Frank Cunningham, will follow the presentations.

From his experience as a director of the Annex Residents’ Association and chair of People Plan Toronto, Mr. Fullan will examine the successes and challenges of a selection of neighbourhood groups across Toronto, from the established to the suburban to the emerging.

Dr. Moore will address some major questions about local and neighbourhood associations: Are these associations legitimate democratic institutions serving everyone, or do they serve only the needs of the city’s affluent groups? What role will they play in the future of the city? Ultimately, are they a positive or negative factor in Toronto’s development?

Questions and discussion will follow the presentations.


Josh Fullan is a teacher at the University of Toronto Schools and the creator of Maximum City, an award-winning curriculum and research program in urban design and civic sustainability for youth. He is the Chair of People Plan Toronto, a grassroots organization in urban planning that convenes forums and roundtables, advocates for better planning, and promotes a strong community voice in the planning process. He is a director of the Annex Residents’ Association and Jane’s Walk School Edition, and has written and lectured widely on community, planning and education topics.

Aaron A. Moore received his Ph.D in political science from the University of Western Ontario in 2009, and in August 2012, completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. He is currently a Fellow at the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance, and a Research Affiliate at the Cities Centre. He is also the author of Planning Politics in Toronto: The Ontario Municipal Board and Urban Development, a forthcoming book from the University of Toronto Press.


Moderator Frank Cunningham is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy & Political Science, and Senior Advisor, Cities Centre, University of Toronto.

“A City of Neighbourhoods? Local Association & Their Critics in Toronto” is the fourth in the Governance in Toronto series of seven free, public events presented by Cities Centre at the University of Toronto.


WHAT: Public lecture on “A City of Neighbourhoods? Local Associations & Their Critics in Toronto”

WHEN: Thursday, January 31, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: FitzGerald Building, University of Toronto, 150 College Street, Room 103, just east of University.


For more information, or for media RSVPs, please contact:

Richard Stren
Interim Director, Cities Centre, and Emeritus Professor of Political Science and Public Policy
University of Toronto
Tel: (416) 978-0350