SofC's Holiday Reccos

A banner titled "SofC's Holiday Reccos" with illustrations of two people drinking coffee on the top left and bottom right corners

The holiday season is officially underway!

For those Winter days of curling up with a good text or swaying to the beats, the School of Cities has compiled a list of recommended media for all the city-lovers and city-dwellers out there.

Listen, Read, Share, Repeat!




Planning Cities with Young People and Schools Book Cover with snowflakes

Planning Cities with Young People and Schools

Recommended by Nida Shams

Why do we love this book?

As a world rocked by the pandemic aspires for a more equitable future, it is crucial to capture the observations, requirements and opinions of those most marginalized and often left out of the conversation - the children and youth who are set to inherit our fractured reality.
Written by Deborah L. McKoy, Amanda Eppley and Shirl Buss from UC Berkeley Center for Cities and Schools, and with a Foreword by our very own Prof. Chapple, this book raises some pertinent questions for urban planners and city designers while providing the perspectives of young people of colour recorded over a period of two decades.

What other people said -

"Youth deserve to feel a sense of joy, a sense of justice, especially in their cities – that closest form of democracy to each individual." Mayor Libby Schaaf, Oakland, California

You can order the book from UofT Bookstore here.

Rebound: Sports, Community, and the Inclusive City

Recommended by Prof. Karen Chapple

Why do we love this book?

Rebound tells stories of Toronto's public realm that might have gotten lost in the generation or policy gaps. Beginning with the sport of football which has a significant uptake in the less affluent neighbourhoods of Toronto - but little infrastructure to support the rising needs of the diasporic communities that reside there - the book goes on to talk about sports such as volleyball, cricket and other that facilitate interaction between new and not so new Torontonians. Apart from sharing some insightful observations about the state of disrepair that the availability and facilities for such activities are in, the book acquaints people with the sublime, and often undocumented, experiences of communities that call The 6ix a home.

What other people said -

"I couldn't stop reading Perry King's Rebound. An evocative essay about the transformative and uniting power of local sports in a city with residents from every country in the world, the book is well researched, entertaining, and informative. It spoke to my own experiences as a young athlete fitting into a new city when I first came to Toronto – and to the importance our city government must place on local recreation and sports if our city is to help all residents reach their potential. A fantastic contribution to understanding Toronto – and to the power of local recreation in any major city." David Miller, former mayor of Toronto

You can order the book from UofT Bookstore here.

Rebound by Perry King Book Cover with Snowmen Decoration


Magazine Cover of City Journal, Spring 2021 Edition

America's Post-Pandemic Geography

Platform: City-Journal

Why are we recommending this article?

When experts and researchers across the world were predicting the death of cities at the threshold of a global crisis, School of Cities' Distinguished Scholar in Residence Prof. Richard Florida got to work on capturing and articulating the transformation that was sweeping urban centres irrespective of their size and location. In "America's Post-Pandemic Geography," he collaborates with "America's uber-geographer" Joel Kotkin, for the Spring Issue of the City-Journal Magazine, to analyze various aspects of American cities that were most impacted by the pandemic, and put a learning lens on the findings for a clearer picture of the post-pandemic American metropolis.

Read the article here.

Evictions in Toronto: Governance Challenges and the Need for Intergovernmental Cooperation

Platform: IMFG -Perspectives

Why are we recommending this paper?

The pandemic of houselessness raged through Toronto and the GTA alongside COVID. With the Landlord and Tenant Board of Ontario failing to keep up with and being overwhelmed by the deluge of requests from both sides of the table, across the province, people were evicted and left without shelter during a precarious time. In this timely research paper, 2020­–2021 IMFG Post-Doctoral Fellow Julie Mah mapped various aspects of the residential eviction crisis in the City of Toronto over the course of the pandemic, while simultaneously charting the Landlord-Tenant Board of Ontario's eviction process and the impact of provincial legislation on the on-ground reality of eviction, especially given the limited capacity of the municipalities to prevent them.

Read the article here.

Evictions in Toronto: Governance Challenges and the Need for Intergovernmental Cooperation


Vertical Legacy: The case for revitalizing the GTA’s aging rental tower communities Cover PDF

Vertical Legacy: The case for revitalizing the GTA's aging rental tower communities

Platform: United Way Greater Toronto

Why are we recommending this paper?

This United Way Greater Toronto report, published in partnership with the University of Toronto's Neighborhood Change Research Partnership and the Tower Renewal Partnership, finds that aging high-rise rental towers – an important asset home to thousands and long one of the most affordable housing options in the region– are in jeopardy. Aging and deteriorating and increasingly unaffordable, purpose-built pre-1985 "legacy" rental towers pose health and safety concerns for residents. Most of these residents are low-to moderate-income and racialized households who are already struggling to pay the rent.

Read the article here.


Healthy Cities in the SDG Era Album Cover with two winter trees

Healthy Cities in the SDG Era 

Created by: Elizabeth Loftus

Recommended by: Lara Muldoon

Why should you listen to this podcast series? 

The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) aim to improve the quality of living for people across the world by 2030 through directed global collaborative action. This podcast series shares how research conducted by faculty and students at the University of Toronto is helping to achieve some much-needed solutions to pressing issues. This podcast will explore research and policy topics related to SDG3: Good Health and Well-being, and SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, and the ways in which they intersect with the other SDGs - for example, areas like poverty, hunger, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, reduced inequalities, and climate action. 

Listen to this podcast series here.


Outside In: Conversations with GTA Indie Musicians 

Created by: Lloyd McArton

Recommended by: Katherine Danks

Why should you listen to this podcast series? 

An educator and a musician himself, Lloyd McArton - a Ph.D. Candidate in Music Education at U of T and 2020 Urban Leadership Fellow at the SofC – was deeply interested in learning about the challenges posed by the pandemic for local indie musicians already struggling to keep their passion alive in a demanding and stressful creative field; and so, he created Outside In – a short podcast series with indie musicians living outside of Toronto's downtown core. They talk about the disruptions caused by COVID-19, side-jobs, families, other responsibilities and their effects on leading musical lives. 

Listen to this podcast series here.

Outside In: Conversations with GTA Indie Musicians Cover with a Skier sticker

Daily podcast on New York Times in a Spotify Frame with hot chocolate and cookie on the side

The Daily 

Created by: Michael Johnson, Diana Nguyen and Sydney Harper

Recommended by: Ben Liu

From The Daily podcast on New York Times, Ben Liu, the executive director from the School of Cities, recommends this episode, "Which Towns Are Worth Saving?". Climate change has forced the residents and leaders of communities across the U.S. to confront the most difficult question of all; Which towns are worth saving?. "The Daily" will answer this question with a case study of how two towns in the same state confront this issue. 

Listen to this podcast episode here.

Telling Our Twisted Histories 

Created by: Kaniehti:io Horn

Recommended by: Ravisha Mall

Why should you listen to this podcast series? 

"Words connect us. Words hurt us. Indigenous histories have been twisted by centuries of colonization. Host Kaniehti:io Horn brings us together to decolonize our minds– one word, one concept, one story at a time."

With stories and narratives shared in first-person by Indigenous peoples from across Canada about the impact of popularly used phrases and terms with deeply questionable etymologies, this podcast series informs us about the importance of choosing our words with awareness of their weight and twisted histories. A perfect beginning to understanding a small aspect of our role as Settlers on this land. 

Listen to this podcast series here.

Telling Our Twisted Histories Podcast Cover

Stream University of Toronto | Listen to podcast episodes online for free  on SoundCloud

U of T students, faculty, staff and graduates are taking over the airwaves – or the virtual equivalent. Here's a roundup of podcasts by the university community.

View the list of podcasts here.


Urban Beats playlist made by SofC

Urban ❤ Beats - Sharing our love for all things Urban!

With individual recommendations from the SofC Team members, this is a playlist with global beats to perk up your step while commuting, exercising and working, and to put you in an "international" mood! Our little tribute to the city-dweller on the move. 
If you have any songs that remind you of city life, we would love to hear them.  
You can send these recommendations to

Listen to the playlist here.


We hope that this list will help you to spark new insights and inspire creative ways for cities and their residents to thrive. Happy Holidays!

From the SofC Team.