The Affordable Housing Challenge Project is an initiative of the University of Toronto School of Cities.

Affordable housing has emerged as a significant issue in Canadian cities and cities globally, over the last decade. The costs of both home ownership and rental housing have increased, and the supply of available rental units in many cities has declined. What impacts is this having, socially, culturally, economically and politically?

The School of Cities is bringing together scholars from across the University of Toronto, who are researching issues related to housing affordability from different disciplinary perspectives, with the objective of working together to research, discuss and debate the causes, processes, policies and consequences of declining housing affordability. Scholarly discussion and work will be shared through our monthly Seminar Series and Paper Series to be published on our website.


Our vision is of city where everyone can find housing options that best meet their needs in an affordable way, with a series of different housing arrangements, models, and tenures that provide real choice.

Our vision is of a city where trying to find affordable housing is not a full-time job, one that scares people away from the city and the region. Instead, appropriate housing should be so easy to find it is never a worry or a stress.

Our vision is of a city that welcomes young and old, with a housing system that meets the needs of seniors, children and youth, solo parents, immigrants and refugees, students, persons with disabilities, diverse families, and others; a housing system that allows people to remain in place even when they age, change their family structure, retire, or suffer unforeseen life events.

Our vision is of a city where people are not displaced from where they live because land values have gone up, or because a land owner realizes they can profit from flipping or converting long-term rental units to different uses. Our vision is of a city where rental housing is seen as a positive resource for all of us to help us realize our dreams.

Our vision is of a city in which housing is not something that separates and segregates us, but instead brings us together. The current housing system separates people by income, by gender and family structure, by age, and through racialization. Our current housing crisis is causing undue competition, stress, and trauma for those who need it the most. A proper functioning and affordable housing system mixes people, brings them together, gives them a safe, healthy and secure foundation and provides them a say in how their city is run.

Our vision is of a city in which housing is seen as a human right. one that makes us all better for it, one that we protect because it is the right thing to do.

Our vision is of a city in which housing is a key ingredient in making people feel like they belong. You – we – all belong here.

The University of Toronto School of Cities is uniquely poised to conduct research that can help realize this vision. The University of Toronto has over 750 urban researchers across a multitude of disciplines whose areas of expertise are necessary to provide a wholistic, multi-faceted solution to achieving affordability.

Project Leadership

Dr. Susannah Bunce

Associate Professor, Human Geography
University of Toronto Scarborough

Dr. Alan Walks

Associate Professor, Geography and Planning
University of Toronto Mississauga

Read more about the project leadership and research assistants here.

About the School of Cities

The University of Toronto School of Cities convenes urban-focused researchers, educators, students, practitioners and the general public to explore and address complex urban challenges, with the aim of making cities and urban regions more sustainable, prosperous, inclusive and just. The School of Cities seeks to leverage our extraordinary community of urbanists and urban-oriented researchers to create a rich, multidisciplinary community of urban faculty, researchers and students across disciplines and perspectives. In addition to facilitating interdisciplinary research projects and partnerships and funding opportunities, we provide a hub for urban-focused interdisciplinary and collaborative learning. Learn more here.