Centre for Urban Policy and Local Governance

Most Canadians now live in cities and large metropolitan areas. Social, economic, and environmental policymaking by all levels of government is increasingly urban in its focus.
Western’s Centre for Urban Policy and Local Governance (CUP-LG) was created in 2017 to respond to the many new challenges facing local governments and urban policymakers at all levels. Bringing together academic researchers and students from across Western and beyond, our goal is to facilitate new interdisciplinary collaborations on pressing questions, to foster dialogue between academics and policy practitioners, and to communicate the results of research to policy professionals and the broader public.
As Western’s hub for urban research, the Centre builds on the university’s established strengths: the graduate Local Government Program and undergraduate Urban Development Program, the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory, and the work of dozens of faculty members and graduate students across multiple Social Science departments. The Centre is a proud member of Western’s Network for Economic and Social Trends (NEST), which brings together the research centres in the Faculty of Social Science.


City-builder John Fleming joins Western’s Centre for Urban Policy and Local Governance

John M. FlemingThe Centre is excited to welcome nationally recognized urban planner John M. Fleming as a Distinguished Practitioner Research Fellow. Over the next two years, John will build on his significant professional experience to carry out research on local governance, civic engagement, and policy making in the field of city building and design. He will also collaborate with faculty and mentor students.

Mr. Fleming said, “I’m thrilled to be joining the scholarly community at the Centre for Urban Policy and Local Governance at Western. During my 30 years in professional practice, I’ve had lots of revealing and inspiring conversations about city building and design with members of the community, as well as planning and design colleagues from across the country. These conversations have led me to the Centre with the goal of undertaking research that can play a meaningful role in moving the profession forward in Canada. I’m also excited by the prospect of building collaborative ties between the Centre and members of my professional network in London and across the country.”


The Centre welcomes summer interns Brittany Bouteiller, Amanda Gutzke, and Tomother Khalif

bouteiller.jpeggutzke.jpegWe are pleased to welcome three summer interns, Brittany Bouteiller, khalif-small.pngAmanda Gutzke, and Tomother Khalif. Brittany and Amanda's positions are funded by the Western Undergraduate Research Internship (USRI) program. They will work with faculty members to advance research projects associated with the Centre.


Research areas in 2020–22

The Centre will focus on three research areas each year. Each will culminate in a research report or other publication targeted at policy professionals working in local or provincial government, non-governmental organizations, or private practice. In the future, we will solicit ideas for research areas from the policy community. 

Local Elections

London is the first Ontario municipality to adopt a ranked-choice voting electoral system. Centre graduate research associate Charlotte Kurs has written a report that describes London's experience with administering the an election using the new electoral system. The report, entitled Administering a Ranked-Choice Voting Election: Lessons from London, Ontario, is the third report in the Centre's research report series.

A webinar describing the report's findings, along with a Q&A with senior municipal administrators, is available on Youtube: 


Informed Local Economic Development

Funded through a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, this project  investigates how local economic development practitioners engage in informed and evidence-based planning and policy decision-making, exploring what information (or lack thereof) is consulted in the planning process, and ways that impacts and outcomes are measured. A key practical contribution is to assist city officials by providing tangible knowledge and tools for conducting informed planning and policymaking for both immigration and, more broadly, local economic development as a whole.

Canadian Local Government Inventory

It has been over a decade since provincial legal and regulatory frameworks for local government have been comprehensively reviewed and compared. We are building an inventory of information regarding the provincial-municipal relationship in each province and territory.

Two research reports, Power and Purpose: Canadian Municipal Law in Transition and Theme and Variations: Metropolitan Governance in Canadawere published in partnership with the University of Toronto’s Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance in 2020.

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Are you interested in joining the Centre as a Faculty Associate, Graduate Fellow, or Visiting Scholar? Contact us for more information!