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Promise and Peril in the Smart City: Local Government in the Age of Digital Urbanism

January 25, 2018 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

The recent swell of interest in smart cities draws attention to the way the city of the future will be designed, built, and run. Increased use of technology in municipal servicing and governance holds tremendous promise to increase community engagement, create efficiencies in service production, better manage scarce resources and increase sustainability. At the same time, however, a push towards new technology adoption in local government could worsen the digital divide, increase inequity, and privatize control over data and urban space.

How will the shift toward “smart” solutions impact city finance, governance, and service delivery? What kinds of terms and regulations should cities set for these new relationships with technologists and private companies? What will be the impact on how local services are delivered? How involved will the public be in decision-making around new technological adaption?

On January 25, the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance and the Innovation Policy Lab convened a panel discussion on the implications of ‘smart’ innovations for local governments.


  • Tracey Cook, Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, City of Toronto
  • Pamela Robinson, Associate Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning, Ryerson University
  • Peter Sloly, Partner and National “Security & Justice” Lead, Deloitte
  • Zac Spicer, Visiting Researcher, Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance
  • John Lorinc (moderator), Senior Editor, Spacing

This event was co-sponsored by the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance and the Innovation Policy Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

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Watch the webcast

View Tracey Cook’s presentation

View Pamela Robinson’s presentation

View Zac Spicer’s presentation


January 25, 2018
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
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Campbell Conference Facility
Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, 1 Devonshire Place
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3K7 Canada


Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance