Media Releases

StudentDwellTO: U of T, OCAD U, York, Ryerson students and faculty take on affordable housing in massive joint research project

August 29, 2017

Toron­to, ON – The pres­i­dents of Toronto’s four uni­ver­si­ties – the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, OCAD Uni­ver­si­ty, York Uni­ver­si­ty and Ryer­son Uni­ver­si­ty – have teamed up for a new ini­tia­tive called Stu­dent­D­well­TO to tack­le one of the biggest issues fac­ing post-sec­ondary stu­dents in the Greater Toron­to area: afford­able hous­ing.

The ini­tia­tive brings togeth­er near­ly 100 fac­ul­ty and stu­dents from the four uni­ver­si­ties to take an in-depth look at stu­dent hous­ing in the GTA.

This fol­lows a pre­vi­ous col­lab­o­ra­tion between the four uni­ver­si­ties: a mas­sive sur­vey of stu­dent trav­el behav­iour, called Stu­dent­Move­TO, which revealed that long dai­ly com­mutes for stu­dents – many of whom live far away where hous­ing is more afford­able – were lead­ing to low­er cam­pus engage­ment and in some cas­es lim­it­ing stu­dents’ class choic­es.

Stu­dent­Move­TO and Stu­dent­D­well­TO are parts of an ini­tia­tive by the pres­i­dents of the four uni­ver­si­ties aimed at improv­ing the state of the city-region – and, in turn, the expe­ri­ences for uni­ver­si­ty stu­dents in the GTA.

“This is anoth­er exam­ple of how the impact of our col­lec­tive efforts can be far greater than the sum of indi­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tions,” says Pro­fes­sor Shau­na Brail, U of T’s pres­i­den­tial advis­er on urban engage­ment and direc­tor of the urban stud­ies pro­gram.

Giv­en the num­ber of post-sec­ondary stu­dents in the GTA – more than 180,000 spread across the four uni­ver­si­ties alone – study­ing the basic issues fac­ing our stu­dents as they live in and nav­i­gate the city is crit­i­cal, says Brail, who will be U of T’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive for StudentDwellTO’s steer­ing com­mit­tee.

Stu­dent­D­well­TO will look at hous­ing afford­abil­i­ty from a range of per­spec­tives, bring­ing togeth­er dis­ci­plines includ­ing archi­tec­ture, art, edu­ca­tion, engi­neer­ing, envi­ron­men­tal stud­ies and design, geog­ra­phy, psy­chol­o­gy, real estate man­age­ment and urban devel­op­ment and plan­ning.

The two-year ini­tia­tive will have heavy research and advo­ca­cy com­po­nents, and the researchers will col­lect data using a vari­ety of research meth­ods that include:

  • wide-scale focus groups and accom­pa­ny­ing sur­veys to draw out nar­ra­tives sur­round­ing stu­dents’ lived expe­ri­ences,
  • inter­ac­tive web­site and com­mu­ni­ty arts pro­gram­ming and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tools, and
  • inter­ac­tive maps to devel­op afford­able hous­ing strate­gies.

The sub­ject mat­ter will also be incor­po­rat­ed into expe­ri­en­tial learn­ing cours­es, across all four uni­ver­si­ties and var­i­ous dis­ci­plines, to pro­pose and test solu­tions to the stu­dent hous­ing expe­ri­ence and cri­sis.

Along the way, researchers will col­lab­o­rate with gov­ern­ment, non-prof­it, pri­vate sec­tor and com­mu­ni­ty part­ners in the GTA.  Each uni­ver­si­ty will hold pub­lic events, includ­ing afford­able hous­ing char­rettes, to get a wide range of input on solu­tions.


For more infor­ma­tion:

Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Media Rela­tions
Tel: (416) 978‑0100