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September 2019

Metropolitan Governance: Future Necessity or Misplaced Dream?

September 19, 2019 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Campbell Conference Facility, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, 1 Devonshire Place
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3K7 Canada
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Experts from multiple disciplines have argued in principle for the benefits of metropolitan governance, but how has it played out in practice? On September 19, IMFG Visiting Scholar Alan Harding addressed this question by drawing on his experience as Chief Economic Adviser to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority as well as his many years of academic research on metropolitan governance. In his presentation, professor Harding assessed the arguments produced in favour of metropolitan governance, the extent to which real-world reforms…

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June 2019

From the Top Down: The Governance of Urban Development in Mexico

June 20, 2019 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, Room 208N, 1 Devonshire Place
Toronto, ON M5S 3K7 Canada

Although efforts were made to decentralize in Mexico during the late 20th century, federal and state-level policy has continued to supersede local governance. Local governments in Mexico have limited financial and institutional capacities and are seldom able to guide urban development and construction processes, for example. The result of this top down approach has sometimes been sprawling and unsustainable development patterns, particularly during the 2000s, when federal and several state governments backed large, peripheral housing developments. These developments placed a…

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November 2018

Toronto’s Future: Who’s Paying? The 7th Annual IMFG Toronto City Manager’s Address

November 29, 2018 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Campbell Conference Facility, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, 1 Devonshire Place
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3K7 Canada

Chris Murray, Toronto's new City Manager, is a former planner who thinks of the future in terms of decades, not years. In his address, Toronto's Future: Who's Paying?, he will discuss the "elephant in the room" when it comes to municipal government: what kind of city are we leaving behind for future generations?

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Housing Access & Urban Governance: Lessons from Mexico’s Recent Experience

November 19, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, Room 208N, 1 Devonshire Place
Toronto, ON M5S 3K7 Canada

Changes to federal housing policy in Mexico in the 1990s helped finance the largest housing boom in the country’s history. During the 2000s, millions of Mexicans acquired mortgages to buy homes in the fringes of cities throughout the country. At the same time, decentralization efforts were under way to increase the capacity of local governments to, among other things, manage urban growth. Yet, even large municipalities have been ill equipped to provide adequate infrastructure and services to the new remote housing locations that have popped up in the last two decades. Furthermore, an increasing number of Mexican households have struggled to keep up with their mortgage payments with the result that some new developments have alarmingly high housing vacancy rates, all while about a third of Mexicans live in poor housing conditions.

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October 2018

Behind the City Beat: A Pre-Election Media Panel

October 2, 2018 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Campbell Conference Facility, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, 1 Devonshire Place
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3K7 Canada

In the lead up to Ontario’s upcoming municipal election, the Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) will bring together a panel of journalists who will address how they cover municipal elections; which policy issues matter most; and how they adapt and stay relevant in the changing media landscape.

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June 2018

Mind the Funding Gap: Transit Financing in Los Angeles County and Metro Vancouver

June 26, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, Room 208N, 1 Devonshire Place, North House, Room 208N
Toronto, ON M5S 3K7 Canada

Across North American cities, the demand for better public transit is pervasive, yet many local governments lack the sufficient revenue tools to finance the construction of new infrastructure. To resolve this dilemma, some localities have turned to citizens directly, proposing temporary earmarked sales tax increases as a way to finance capital-intensive projects. Why have some communities been more receptive to this funding model than others?

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May 2018

Does local government autonomy promote fiscal sustainability? Lessons from Illinois’ home rule municipalities

May 3, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

What are the consequences of home rule authority on fiscal sustainability? What lessons does this hold for Canadian municipalities? This seminar will address these questions by analyzing the experience of over 50 cities and villages that adopted home rule within the past two decades.

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March 2018

Legacies of the Megacity: Toronto’s Amalgamation 20 Years Later

March 27, 2018 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Campbell Conference Facility, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, 1 Devonshire Place
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3K7 Canada

In 1998, Metropolitan Toronto and its six lower tier municipalities were amalgamated to form the City of Toronto. The decision to amalgamate was controversial then, and continues to be contentious to some today. Two decades later, what can we say about the megacity merger? Did it achieve its goals? Are Torontonians better served by one large government than the previous two-tier model? Looking forward, what lies ahead for regional governance in the GTHA?

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January 2018

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

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

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…

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December 2017

Democracy from the Bottom up: Unlocking the Potential of Community Councils

December 12, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, Room 108N, 1 Devonshire Place, North House, Room 108N
Toronto, ON M5S 3K7 Canada

In a number of cities around the world, community councils give local residents the power to get directly involved in local matters facing municipal government. In Toronto, City Council will soon consider the boundaries, mandates, and powers of its four community councils, which were created in 1998 to address the perceived lack of direct access to City Hall as a result of amalgamation. This panel discussed the benefits and challenges of using bodies such as community councils to govern local decisions.…

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