New centre considers the challenges of the modern cityDecember 07, 2018
On November 23, 2018, Western’s Centre for Urban Policy and Local Governance hosted its first official event: a public roundtable on The Intentional City: Shaping London’s Urban Future.
This was an important moment for the new Centre, signalling its goal of productively engaging scholars across disciplinary boundaries and building new relationships between Western researchers and the community. Indeed, roundtable participant Neil Bradford noted that “we underestimate Western, the convening power of the university as a neutral third space on issues”—and highlighted the potential for the Centre to play this role.
London is at a crossroads. Neither a core global city nor a place left behind, it occupies the open middle ground of Ontario’s and Canada’s urban future. What kind of future do we want for London, and how do we get there? Who should lead, and who needs to be at the table? What can London learn from other mid-size cities? Fundamentally, can London be an intentional city—one that knows what it is, knows what it wants to become, has assembled the resources, including community and intergovernmental support, to get there?
Moderated by the Centre’s associate director, Prof. Martin Horak, the roundtable brought together civic leaders and academics for an open public discussion of these questions. Five panellists participated: Pierre Filion, Professor in the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo and an expert in mid-sized cities; Arielle Kayabaga, Councillor-Elect for City of London’s downtown Ward 13; Michelle Baldwin, Executive Director of London’s Pillar Nonprofit Network and Co-Founder of Innovation Works; John Fleming, Managing Director of Planning and City Planner for the City of London; and Neil Bradford, Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Huron University College.