Canadian Urban Institute

The Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) was established in 1990 in Toronto as Canada’s applied urban policy institute. Our mandate is to build wisdom and inspire leadership for healthy urban development. CUI is a public good enterprise funded through project work.

Our Impact Why We Exist

The Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) was established in 1990 in Toronto as Canada’s applied urban policy institute. Our mandate is to build wisdom and inspire leadership for healthy urban development.  CUI is a public good enterprise 95% funded through project work.

Our Story What We Do

We perform the following roles in support of decision-making to sustain economically, socially and environmentally resilient communities:

Applied Research: Collect data and ideas about global practices and thought leadership, analyze their application to the local conditions and communicate the opportunities arising for learning and inspiration.

Education/Training: Transfer thought leadership and lessons learned to increase capacity for public and private sector partners.

Stakeholder Engagement: Help organizations to improve decision-making by incorporating thought leadership into the engagement process.

Data Mapping and Visualization: Aggregating and organizing data from disparate sources to support decision-making. Examples have involved energy, water, culture, and transportation.

CUI works in partnership with members of our extensive networks in the private, public, academic and civil society on projects in the following themes:

Infrastructure Optimization: Value Planning, Canadian Infrastructure Report Card, District Energy Planning, LightSavers Canada

Good Density: Age-Friendly Communities, Rethinking Suburbs, Mid-Rise Database

Vital Places: Value of Investing in Downtowns, Culture-Led Strategic Planning, GTA Region in Transition

Enabled Teams: DataWise, Ukraine Regional Development

Our Programs How We Do It

Some of our current programs:

The Canadian Infrastructure Report Card project convened 18 professional membership organizations to develop tools and assess the condition of Canada’s public infrastructure. The project collected data from 121 municipalities representing a population of almost 20 million.

CUI was engaged by the Ontario Growth Secretariat to assess the effectiveness of Growth Plan implementation by interviewing 80 senior planners from 38 Greater Golden Horseshoe municipalities.

LightSavers Canada

Accelerated adoption of LED technology for street lighting in 7 provinces anddeveloped syndicated purchasing platform for BC municipalities.

Strategic Regional Resource Alliance

SRRA exists to enhance the competitiveness and resilience of the GreaterToronto Area (GTHA) by identifying practical solutions for connecting public policy with infrastructure and real estate investments.

Toronto Ward Boundary Review

The review of Toronto’s ward boundaries to recommend a configuration that respects principal of effective representation.

Greater Toronto: A Region in Transition

Motivated Provincial government to coordinate transit investments with land-useand economic development policies to achieve return on investment from outset.

Repositioning Age-Friendly Communities

Created awareness about built environment and health impacts of aging that resultedin collaborations between municipal planning departments and public health officials.

The Value of Investing in Canadian Downtowns

National baseline for economic health of downtowns and tool for decision-makers toincrease funding for downtown revitalization.

New Geography of Office Location

Demonstrated the misalignment between office real estate investment and Provincialtransit and growth policies (“Big Move,” “Growth Plan”).

Culture-Led Strategic Plan for City of Humboldt

Enabled City of Humboldt to negotiate long-term contributions from public andprivate sector partners to fund growth related infrastructure.

What You Can Do

CUI is a public good enterprise working to enable more equitably distributed prosperity through better urban policy making.  Our mandate is to build wisdom and inspire leadership for healthy urban development.

We provide applied research, education/training and communication to improve the processes and policies needed to make informed decisions about urban assets. We believe the most vulnerable in society will benefit the most from:

  • Efficient, effective public transportation.
  • Built form that accommodates people of all ages.
  • Utilities that function in times of extreme weather events.
  • Safe, accessible, engaged communities that connect to nature.

We are currently 95% funded through project work.  We would like your financial support for the work we do in between projects, to communicate best practices and help educate a broader audience about the impact of urban policy making.

With your funding support, CUI will build on its strong legacy of thought leadership and innovation to engage stakeholders, including the private sector, in discussions and capacity building about better urban policy and practice.


Shannon Clark
Communications Director
416.365.0816 x251
Charitable Number: 121844418RR0001