Multidisciplinary Urban Capstone Project

U of T’s deep urban expertise, across all fields, is tackling the future of cities. The School of Cities is where educators, institutions, practitioners and the public will engage in research, education and outreach to drive forward new city solutions – and a shared prosperity for all citizens.  

The Multidisciplinary Urban Capstone Project (MUCP) is a unique, full academic year capstone course offered by the University of Toronto. All projects are sourced from cities, community groups and non-governmental organizations for whom the project addresses a real urban need, and requires a multidisciplinary approach to solve. 

Each project is assigned to a team of fourth-year undergraduates drawn from different faculties and departments. Student teams work on a real problem utilizing a multidisciplinary and mixed methods problem-solving approach to meet the client needs. Successfully completing the project requires that students integrate skills and knowledge from across multiple disciplines. Current participating undergraduate departments and faculties are Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Department of Geography and Planning, Rotman School of Management, the Urban Studies Program at Innis College, the Department of Sociology (UTSC and UTSG), Department of Computer Science, School of Environment, and the Faculty of Information.

 

Information for Prospective Clients

 

Information for Students
 

2022-2023 Projects

All of the 2022-2023 projects are posted.

Data Collaboration Alliance “Open Datasets”

The Data Collaboration Alliance is a nonprofit organization committed to the advancement of meaningful data ownership and global collaborative intelligence, with a focus on reducing and ultimately eliminating data copies. The Data Collaboration Alliance operates Node Zero, a free community of data-savvy students and professionals who come together to collaborate on open datasets and free tools in support of their sector and important causes. The Data Collaboration Alliance members self-organized into different domains, including ‘Collaborative Privacy’, ‘Collaborative Sustainability’, and ‘Collaborative Health’. The MUCP student team will kickstart the ‘Collaborative Cities’ domain working on the design and delivery of a free research tool based on how datasets produced by multiple urban stakeholders can be combined and organized for communities, planners, and researchers to use in the future.

Click here for more information about this project

HousingNowTO “Reimagining Coxwell and Dundas”

HousingNowTO is a pro-bono professional services collective that uses data, planning and architectural best practices to ensure that the City of Toronto maximizes opportunities for creating new affordable-housing on surplus City-owned lands. This MUCP student team will work on an upcoming HousingNow project to reimagine a 1.8 acre site that today houses a police station in the east side of the City (moving to a new location in 2026), by designing multiple options for affordable housing, that integrate social equity and climate and social justice.  MUCP students participating in the project will provide HousingNowTO with insights and actionable analysis to help them influence the future direction of the site with the City of Toronto.

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Town+Gown: NYC “Aging subsurface infrastructure”

Town+Gown is a New York City-wide action research program, housed within the New York City Department of Design and Construction, that provides research resources for practitioners and academics to develop and facilitate projects, including experiential learning engagements with students. The MUCP team working with Town+Gown will help to address the complex problem of aging subsurface infrastructure in NYC which is causes considerable traffic delays, high capital expenditures, and other social and environmental issues due to ongoing repairs. The students will assist city agencies and local communities, especially those that are underserved by capital improvements, address chronic infrastructure vulnerabilities in an equitable manner that responds to community infrastructure and social needs.

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IBI Group Inc. “Curbs for mobility users”

IBI Group is a globally integrated architecture, planning, engineering and technology firm that designs every aspect of an integrated city, from high-rises to industrial buildings, schools, state of the art hospitals, transit stations, highways bike lanes and parks. CurbIQ is a product of the IBI Group that through flexible software solutions helps city officials better understand their parking options, restrictions and mobility options around them. Many cities are beginning to realize the value in understanding their curbs and its usage so that the curbside can be better managed, and accessibility and equity can be increased for all users from pedestrians to cyclists, micromobility users, and courier vehicles. Th pe MUCP team working with the IBI Group will complete a curbside management strategy for the University of Toronto Campus to build an equitable curb use plan and promote sustainable mobility options.

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City of Vaughan “Greening Fleet Initiatives”

A key strategic goal for the City of Vaughan is to become more environmentally sustainable building a low-carbon economy and a more resilient city. To support this goal the City’s Fleet Management Services is currently working on the “Green Fleet Initiatives” strategy to reduce the City’s carbon footprint. Currently, the City’s 480 vehicles have annual fuel consumption of 850,000 litres, producing 1,996 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. The MUCP student team working with the City of Vaughan will help the City to identify leading practices in greening vehicle fleets and develop recommendations to support the City's Green Fleet Initiatives Strategy.

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CarbonGraph “Small Business Digital Carbon Footprinting”

For many small businesses, knowing the carbon footprint of their products is becoming a necessity as customers become more concerned with purchasing environmentally friendly products. CarbonGraph is a digital platform designed to support small businesses to calculate their carbon footprint and share sustainability stories with customers. The MUCP team will help to identify the tools and data sources needed to automate carbon footprinting for Toronto businesses.

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Region of Peel “Participatory Justice for Heat Resiliency”

The Region of Peel, together with its municipalities (Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon) and partner Conservation Authorities came together as the Peel Climate Change Partnership (PCCP) to collaboratively reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change. One priority was to identify and prioritize tree planting and green infrastructure solutions in neighbourhoods vulnerable to extreme heat. PCCP research showed extreme heat vulnerability in three high-priority neighbourhoods exposing social vulnerabilities and harms associated with climate change. Adaptation programs were delivered, which emphasized green infrastructure and provided cooling effects. 

To fully address equity concerns the PCCP want to review their procedural (e.g. equitable decision making and governance) and recognitional (e.g. equal acknowledgement and respect of different identities) scope of local climate justice. The MUCP team will propose actionable projects and interventions for heat vulnerable neighbourhoods in Peel, respecting residents with lived experiences and supporting a deeper understanding of their needs.

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Canadian Urban Institute “Pandemic Impact on Main Street” 

COVID has radically altered our way of life. As we move past the peak of the pandemic it remains to be seen how much of this change is temporary and how much represents a more permanent evolution of our society. A combination of relatively new technologies and alterations to workplace policies has allowed many people to work from home. The evolving spatial patterns of production and consumption are fundamentally altering the traditional geographic structures of cities. Not all places have felt these changes equally.
This project seeks to assess the impact of the changes on main streets in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). Main streets have typically been a focal point for urban society. They are places where people congregate for a wide variety of reasons. The aim of this research project is to better understand the varying degree to which main streets have been impacted by the pandemic and what interventions have had the greatest impact to support long-term equity and future-proof the recovery of our main streets.

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Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity “Youth Employment Equity in Green Jobs”

The Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity (CCYP) is committed to changing systems that impact youth’s ability to thrive in the workforce. Parks, Forestry and Recreation department at the City of Toronto is the largest employer of youth employed by the City and provides experiences for youth to further their careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, ecology, engineering and resource management. Black and/or other racially visible youth are severely under-represented relative to their population in employment in parks, nature reserves etc. (Heritage Institution sector). MUCP students will develop an understanding of the existing outreach strategies and approaches in hiring for conservation activities, parks and nature reserves etc. (Heritage Institution sector). They will then identify gaps in the existing recruitment process and devise improvements to them through understanding conditions faced by the community.

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Smart Density “Master Planning Guidebook for Tall Communities”

Smart Density is an architecture and urban planning firm founded in 2016 who want to help drive the conversation about what denser, more sustainable, and more livable neighbourhoods can and should look like. With over one hundred master planned communities proposed or under construction in the GTHA, it’s an important time to examine the relationship between tall buildings and the public realm. MUCP students will contribute to a published collaborative Guidebook and will identify communities from around the world that are similar in scale, character and scope to those in Toronto. Within the Toronto context, this guidebook will explore international master planned neighbourhoods to analyze new high-rise developments and how their advantages can be integrated with appealing urban environments. 

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Tata Consultancy Services “Silver Tsunami”

Tata Consultancy Services is an international IT services, consulting and business solutions organization that offers an integrated portfolio of business, technology and engineering services and solutions. The global aging demography of the population poses several crises: 

Health crisis: The increase in longevity is aggravating the morbidity expansion. The health infrastructure across the world is incapable of supporting this overwhelming requirement.
Financial Crisis: Inadequate savings and long-term healthcare expenses could leave the Baby Boomers outliving their retirement nest egg.
Technology: The pace at which emerging technologies and devices are growing requires the elderly to keep themselves continuously updated and upgraded. This challenges their self-reliance and makes them vulnerable as they become more dependent on others to perform tasks.
The MUCP project is to identify the possible ways to address these challenges either individually or collectively.

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Application Requirement:

Interested students from participating faculties and departments can submit their applications to capstone.sofc@utoronto.ca 

  • Applications for 2022 are now closed.

  • Statement of Interest (not to exceed 300 words).
    • This statement should clearly assert your interest in participating in the course. Please speak to a specific project, how would you approach the project (from your discipline), or what would you learn from it.
  • Resume
  • Unofficial Transcript

 

 

Past Student Projects

Click below to learn more about our past student projects! 

For the 2021/2022 academic year, the MUCP accepted 9 projects representing a range of organizations, from governments to non-profits. Click on the project icons to learn more about each project, as well as student profiles and deliverables.   

 

For the 2019/2020 academic year, the MUCP accepted 4 projects representing municipal governments from across the GTHA. Click on the project icons to learn more about each project, as well as student profiles and deliverables.