Munk in the City is an experiential learning initiative organized by the Urban Policy Lab, and supported by the University of Toronto’s School of Cities, that asks students to step out of the classroom and into the community to grapple with urban policy issues first-hand. In the weeks leading up to the 2022 Toronto municipal election, teams of students from both the Master of Public Policy and Master of Global Affairs programs ventured out to all corners of the city to explore and report on key issues and concerns. To see all student submissions, visit the project’s Padlet page. In this blog post, Graduate Fellow Luca Dannetta picks out a few of his favourite submissions.
In the month leading up to 2022 Toronto municipal election, students from the Urban Policy Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy engaged in an exciting learning experience. A total of 58 Master of Public Policy and Master of Global Affairs students, in teams of 2 or 3, visited 18 of the city’s 25 electoral wards to speak with residents about the urban policy issues that were on their mind in this year’s election.
Armed with their cell phone cameras — and a crash course in soliciting public opinion, led by public engagement professional Adam Hasham — students produced creative dispatches documenting their exploration of the assigned wards, their conversations with residents, and the issues shaping local engagement.
I was deeply impressed by the quality of creative dispatches submitted by students, utilizing a range of different media and creative techniques to share what they saw and heard. Here are a few highlights:
- Sara, Anna, and Sarah produced an engaging and well-researched photo essay examining the issues attracting attention in Ward 15, Don Valley West.
- Kieran, Elva, and Rong created a photo essay that soberly examined some heavy topics — including police violence and homelessness — via some candid conversations with residents in Ward 10, Spadina-Fort York.
- Raafia, Arnaud, and Napas created an Instagram account sharing what they saw and heard in Ward 20, Scarborough Southwest, including the insights and interests of some local residents.
- Albina, Armaan & Jason were voted by their classmates to have produced the best creative dispatch — Ward 13 – A Mosaic of Toronto’s Diversity — from their visit to Toronto Centre. Their Prezi deck provided a rich tapestry of the different demographics voting in Toronto Centre and the different priorities shaping how those residents were engaging with municipal politics. They were handsomely rewarded with these stylish U of T tote bags!
On election night (October 24th), students gathered at the Canadiana Gallery to share their creative dispatches, discuss what we had learned, what surprised us, what made us laugh, and what got us thinking, and naturally, to watch election results roll in. Students also enjoyed a delicious feast of Afghan food from a local restaurant, as well as some scrumptious baked goods made by one of the Urban Policy Lab’s very own fellows!
Students had a lot of fun and learned a great deal about the issues shaping political participation in the City of Toronto!