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June 2018

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

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

June 20 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Campbell Conference Facility, 1 Devonshire Place
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3K7 Canada
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Toronto is evolving with a style and character unique in the world, widely recognized for its livability. Now its economic power and its critical and largely successful function as a crucible of immigrant settlement is becoming more and more evident. Remarkably, the emergence of Canada’s cities on the world stage, and Toronto’s rise to the top dozen in global status, has been largely accidental. How did this happen?

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Is Municipal Cooperation a Silver Bullet? Experience from Australia, Brazil, and Canada

June 14 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Munk School of Global Affairs, Room 208N, 1 Devonshire Place, North House, Room 208N
Toronto, ON M5S 3K7 Canada
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Municipal cooperation on planning and service delivery is often advanced as a means to strengthen local government and address fragmented governance in metropolitan and other regions. If municipalities could work together, we could improve efficiency, lower service delivery costs, achieve better outcomes, and provide an alternative to municipal mergers. But, is municipal cooperation a panacea, or is it just a convenient solution to address some immediate problems?

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May 2018

The reality of sub-national taxation in conflict-affected states: The incidence and implications of informal taxation

May 24 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Munk School of Global Affairs, Room 208N, 1 Devonshire Place, North House, Room 208N
Toronto, ON M5S 3K7 Canada
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Taxation is at the centre of the relationship between state and society. In conflict-affected countries, it can be especially critical to rebuilding infrastructure and ensuring sustainable peace and development. When policymakers and international donors approach the task of rebuilding fiscal systems, they often do so with a narrow conception of tax reform in mind – one that is often based on the experience of developed countries.

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Are You Serious? The Governance of Metropolitan Sydney

May 16 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Munk School of Global Affairs, Room 208N, 1 Devonshire Place, North House, Room 208N
Toronto, ON M5S 3K7 Canada
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Sydney is Australia’s largest metropolis with 5 million people, growing towards 7-8 million by mid-century. It faces serious challenges of infrastructure and service provision, environmental management, and spatial inequality.

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

May 3 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Munk School of Global Affairs, Room 208N, 1 Devonshire Place, North House, Room 208N
Toronto, ON M5S 3K7 Canada
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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 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Campbell Conference Facility, 1 Devonshire Place
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3K7 Canada
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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 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Campbell Conference Facility, 1 Devonshire Place
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3K7 Canada
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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

Building a Better Budget Process in Toronto

December 19, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Canadiana Gallery, 14 Queen's Park Crescent West, Rm CG-160
Toronto, ON M5S 3K9 Canada
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The City of Toronto’s 2018 municipal budget cycle is in full swing. Council’s Budget Committee has begun debating $12 billion worth of city spending based on a seemingly endless supply of financial reports compiled by staff. Making sense of the numbers is remarkably difficult, even for the closest City Hall watcher. To lift the veil, the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) and the U of T School of Public Policy and Governance (SPPG) convened a panel to shed light…

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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, Room 108N, 1 Devonshire Place, North House, Room 108N
Toronto, ON M5S 3K7 Canada
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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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