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W Booth School Promotes Livable CitiesApril 30, 2018

Urban development using the principles of sustainable communities and smart systems is a cornerstone of the W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology at McMaster University.

A leading example is the Livable Cities course (SEP 6X03) taught by Dr. Gail Krantzberg in partnership with Dr. Velma I. Grover.

This popular graduate course explores a mix of city planning strategies to help regenerate built and natural excellence. Emphasis is placed on theory and practice, along with case studies in resilient environmental, social and economic success.

This spring the students were taken on an experiential learning tour of James Street North in downtown Hamilton. This diverse community is in the midst of a comprehensive renewal program intended to foster active transportation, mixed use development, access to nature, and other hallmarks of a livable city. The community presents a host of opportunities and challenges commonly associated with modern urban regeneration. As such, it offers up real world learning for students.

The tour started at the Evergreen Community Storefront — a dynamic hub that responds to local needs by providing opportunities for civic engagement and action. Manager Jay Carter talked about the hub’s mission and achievements in accelerating revitalization through grassroots events like100in1Day Hamilton and initiatives such as the Hamilton Civic Incubator and Mobility Lab.

The students also heard from Dr. Lynda Lukasik, Executive Director of Environment Hamilton, a local not-for-profit organization that inspires people to protect and enhance our environment through leadership, education and advocacy. Dr. Lukasik discussed the ongoing regeneration of Hamilton Harbour, including the need to strike a healthy balance of residential, recreational and industrial uses.

These speakers set up a curated walking tour of James Street North led by Judy Lam, Manager of Urban Renewal, City of Hamilton. Ms. Lam pointed out improvements to the public realm, examples of new transportation infrastructure and investments in brownfield remediation. And she spoke from experience about the complexity of converting ambitious design plans into reality.

“We benefited from an informal conversation with a seasoned professional,” said W Booth School graduate student Amar Maharaj. “This experience helped us connect classroom learning with practice and build valuable career networks.”

The tour validated the growing demand for fresh graduates who will contribute to the design and implementation of next generation livable cities in Canada and beyond.

Our thanks to everyone who made this special learning opportunity possible.

Image: W Booth School graduate students on a livable cities tour of James Street North in downtown Hamilton, March 2018. Tour leader Judy Lam, City of Hamilton, is pictured in front row with megaphone.