Environment introduces Urban Studies Minor

Monday, February 6, 2017

aerial city scene featuring buiding rooftops

Photo credit: "Toronto rooftops" by mariusz kluzniak, licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 2.0

Environment’s new Urban Studies Minor will prepare students to shape tomorrow’s inclusive and vibrant societies

For the first time in history, more people in the world live in and around cities than in rural areas, and the United Nations predicts that this proportion will only continue to grow. The situation in Canada mirrors the global patterns: according to the latest national census, 81% of Canadians live in metropolitan areas.

A new minor offered at the University of Waterloo aims to educate students to lead this transition to an increasingly urbanized world.

Based in the Faculty of Environment, the Urban Studies Minor is open to all undergraduate students. Students pursuing the minor can select one of four themes:

  • Urban Economics and Finance explores how economic policies influence the behaviours of governments, businesses and residents of cities.
  • Urban Activity and the Environment examines the environmental impacts of urban activity: for example, how transportation and the energy use in buildings affect air and water quality.
  • Urban Societies explores the role of governance and political leaders in defining and achieving objectives for an urban society. This theme also examines issues involving race, gender, health, housing, and equity.
  • Emerging Global Urban Regions will address developing cities in Asia and Africa, where the economic, environmental and social challenges of urbanization can be the most acute.

"As city populations continue to grow in Canada and around the world, well-crafted policy and governance will be necessary to address the challenges of contemporary urban areas: poverty, inequality, environmental degradation and political unrest” says Jeff Casello, Associate Provost, Graduate Studies and Associate Professor, School of Planning and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “The Urban Studies Minor will provide the next generation of urban scholars, policymakers and professionals with the skills needed to shape effective policy, better manage natural and built environments, and create equitable, inclusive and vibrant societies.” 

Students will learn to tackle complex urban issues by examining them from a variety of perspectives. Building on the Faculty of Environment’s strong interdisciplinary approach, and drawing from expertise across the campus, the Urban Studies Minor combines courses in planning, ecology, environmental studies, geography, sociology, political science, international development and more. The minor will prepare students to pursue careers in both the public and private sectors and increase their competitiveness for graduate programs in a variety of fields.

Learn more about the Urban Studies Minor.

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