Spacing School of Urbanism

The Spacing School of Urbanism provides unique continuing education and professional development to Greater Toronto-area architects, planners, urban designers, developers, real estate agents, and city-builders seeking to broaden their knowledge of emerging trends in urbanism. Interactive workshops have been co-developed by Spacing and Swerhun Facilitation with advice from academics, practitioners, and other local thought leaders. Our workshops are led by city-builders that will engage participants in a thought-provoking, full-day training session.

  • JULY 16th, 2019: Laneway Housing
  • SEPT 2019: Tactical Urbanism
  • OCT 2019: Housing Continuum
  • NOV 2019: Digital/Smart Cities
  • for full descriptions of each workshop please scroll down

All workshops are eligible for professional development credits with OPPI, CIP, RAIC

For questions, please contact


photo courtesy Lanescape

WHEN: Tuesday, July 16th, 9am-4:30pm
WHERE: 197 Spadina Avenue, Lake Ontario Room, 5th Floor
COST: $250 for professionals, $50 for students (five spots available)
LINK: Buy your ticket now at The Spacing Store

Laneway Housing has been described as a potential solution to some of Toronto’s housing challenges. Adding density to otherwise low-density neighbourhoods, creating more affordable housing, and making better use of parts of the city are just some of the benefits identified by Laneway Housing advocates. For a long time, City of Toronto by-laws all-but restricted Laneway Housing, but now, after years of advocacy from both within and beyond City Hall, the City has adopted new rules to enable and guide Laneway Suites. This component of the Spacing School of Urbanism curriculum is dedicated to exploring Laneway Housing.

Participants in the Spacing School of Urbanism Laneway Housing Workshop will:

  • Learn about the history of Laneway Housing in Toronto, including the policies that previously limited the development of Laneway Housing, the history of advocacy around this kind of development, and what changed to enable new Laneway Housing policies and by-laws.
  • Hear from the City of Toronto about some of the highlights about its recent Laneway Suites policies (including some of the challenges that needed to be addressed in developing the policies), which kinds of Laneway Housing are now permitted, which are not, and what is next for City policies around this type of housing.
  • Hear from Laneway Housing advocates, including some of the key issues that drove their advocacy, what they like about the City’s recent Laneway Housing-supportive policies, and where they would like to see things go from here.
  • Hear from architects and developers with experience in developing Laneway Housing, including some of the opportunities, challenges, and successes they have experienced.
  • Participate in facilitated, interactive discussions that enable participants to ask (and answer) questions, explore ideas, and connect Laneway Housing to their own work.


We have pulled together a wide range of people with an intimate knowledge of laneway policies, housing, and construction.

Lunch and snacks will be provided.

Participants will also have a list of resources available for further reading and research that can be pursued following the session.

Please note that we will need confirmation of your student status after you have signed up. Those who do not qualify will be refunded.


September 2019: Tactical urbanism
Tactical urbanism is a low-cost, prototyping approach to urban design and city-building that has been used in projects as small as re-programming abandoned park spaces to as large as re-designing major transit streets. This workshop will cover the history and key concepts in tactical urbanism, explore both top-down and bottom up approaches, and touch on issues like permission, permits, and the different types of materials to use in tactical urbanism projects.

October 2019: Housing continuum
Toronto faces big challenges in housing. The workshop will explore the range of options available on the housing continuum – who the players are, the housing available, the demographics served, trends over time, and where the big opportunities and barriers lie. Perspectives from the private, public, non-profit, and community sectors will be shared, including how these perspectives often influence how housing issues are framed and discussed.

November: Smart / Digital cities
Depending on who you listen to, smart / digital cities are either the solution to a range of urban and social problems or the skinny end of the wedge leading to urban privatization and surveillance. This workshop will introduce key and emerging concepts in the discourse around smart / digital cities, including the spectrum of opinions about them and the issues informing those opinions. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about: digital governance, data collection and use, privacy and algorithmic bias, the emerging urban / digital eco-system, and others.