U of T, Ryerson, York, and OCAD team up to explore solutions to student housing dilemma

UofT, Ryerson, York, and OCAD are working collaboratively on “StudentDwellTO”: a research project scheduled to take place over the next two years, with the aim of investigating and generating solutions to the lack of affordable housing for students in Toronto.

This initiative will involve close to 100 students and faculty members across campuses. From UofT, that includes students and faculty members from the Daniels Faculty of Architecture.

Each university involved will be responsible for hosting programming within the community, large focus groups to generate data of lived experiences, and interactive digital tools. All four universities will incorporate this research venture into experiential learning courses, which will research and test the solutions being generated. They will also be responsible for hosting public charrettes, in order to capture a wide range of input and responses.

This project will be approaching housing across a range of disciplines, including, but not limited to architecture, engineering, education, environmental studies, psychology, and urban development and planning.

Shauna Brail, Presidential Adviser on Urban Engagement and Director of the Urban Studies program at UofT, highlights in a release from the Daniels Faculty that “[StudentDwellTO] is another example of how the impact of our collective efforts can be far greater than the sum of individual contributions.”

This initiative is working in conjunction with its predecessor, StudentMoveTO: a research project also organized by the four universities, which launched in 2015. StudentMoveTO focused on transportation concerns that affect commuter students across campuses.

The preliminary study results for StudentMoveTO released in spring of 2016 identified “cost of housing” as the most prominent consideration for a student when they are moving. The study results also indicate that students who have a further commute are less likely travel to school, leading to less engagement in campus life.

In a release about StudentDwellTO from OCAD University, Assistant Professor Min Sook Lee says, “we don’t just need research on student housing, we need to mobilize it.