Driving equitable urban change in cities requires a distinctive set of skills and tools combined with collaborative approaches to partnership. Rotman and the School of Cities are proud to launch Leading Urban Change, an essential program that prepares mid- to senior-level city officials, public and private sector leaders to confront complex challenges while deepening their understanding of emergent models of leadership, impact measurement, implementation, relevant party engagement and systems-wide change.

Canadian cities are at a crossroads. On the one hand, we must develop rapidly to accommodate projected growth driven by immigration. On the other, we are constrained by global forces and provincial priorities that may contravene local goals for just, sustainable, inclusive, and prosperous cities.

In this course, University of Toronto faculty from the School of Cities and the Rotman School of Management will show participants how to leverage location, collaborate across sectors and silos, shape narratives through data, and push implementation forward.

Richard Florida on the contents and benefits of Leading Urban Change

What you’ll learn:

  • Make better decisions across teams, divisions, and effective partnerships with the private, public, and non-profit sectors.
  • Understand the importance of data and narrative as key components of organizational strategy and performance.
  • Develop a shift in mindset on how to push forward equitable urban change.

The program combines the School of Cities’ flagship model of multidisciplinary and collaborative approaches to problem solving with the Rotman School of Management’s world-renowned faculty, research institutes and network of global partnerships. The result? We expect to shift the mindset of participants to help create a new culture of urban change management.

Throughout the program you will gain the skills to:

  • Understand cross-sectoral dynamics and strategies
  • Acquire skills to build trust with partners/relevant parties/constituents
  • Understand silo-busting strategies
  • Use urban data for decision-making and narrative construction
  • Understand the elements of locational strategy
  • Clarify fiscal constraints and opportunities for urban change and development
  • Demonstrate inclusive leadership and cultural competencies

Quick links:

Featured faculty

Karen Chapple, Director of School of Cities

Karen Chapple, Ph.D., is the Director of the School of Cities at the University of Toronto, where she also serves as Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning. She is Professor Emerita of City & Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, where she served as department chair and held the Carmel P. Friesen Chair in Urban Studies. Chapple studies inequalities in the planning, development, and governance of regions in the Americas, with a focus on economic development and housing.

Richard Florida, Professor of Economic Analysis and Policy

Richard Florida is University Professor, Professor of Economic Analysis and Policy at the Rotman School of Management and Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence, School of Cities, University of Toronto. Florida has held professorships at George Mason University and Carnegie Mellon University and taught as a visiting professor at Harvard and MIT. Florida earned his Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. from Columbia University. His research provides unique, data-driven insight into the social, economic and demographic factors that drive the 21st century world economy.

Richard Florida

Meet the faculty and instructors teaching in Leading Urban Change

Rotman Executive Program faculty are known for their ability to translate the latest research into practical applications for the workplace, and to transmit skills to participants with the best teaching techniques. Industry leaders contribute to our programs to bring you the most up-to-date best practices and a wealth of real-world experience.


November 19: Evening keynote speaker and cocktail reception
November 20-22: Class time: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm Eastern


Schedule subject to change.

Day 1
  • Keynote Speaker
  • Cocktail Reception
Day 2
  • Why Cities Matter
  • Talent and Cities
  • Guest Speakers/Panel Discussions
  • Managing Large Scale Projects
  • Silo Busting and Working Across Sectors
Day 3
  • Enacting Emancipatory Leadership
  • Office Hours
  • Guest Speakers/Panel Discussions
  • Silo Busting and Working Across Sectors
  • Building a Culture of Collaboration
Day 4
  • Negotiations
  • Urban Data and Narrative
  • Guest Speakers/Panel Discussions
  • Understanding Fiscal Implications
  • Implementation



$5,950 CAD + HST

Participant profile

Leaders with a passion and curiosity for integrating across traditional silos to build and execute an urban change agenda, including:

  • Mid- to senior-level city leaders from municipalities in Canada
  • Mid to senior public servants in Government Ministries
  • Senior leaders in real estate, development, urban planning, transportation and mobility, community services
  • Minimum 10 years of work experience

Application process

Before beginning the application process, please review the application policies. To apply, complete the online application form.

Each application is reviewed by Rotman’s admissions committee to ensure participants have the appropriate academic and work experience.

If space is available and eligibility requirements are met, participants will receive a notice of admission within 10 days of receipt of a completed application and fee deposit.

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Payments can be made online. A deposit of 50% of the program fee (or $4,000 if the program fee is over $8,000) is required at time of application. If the full fee is not paid at the time of application, the balance of the program fee is due 30 days after receipt of invoice or 30 days before program start date, whichever is first. Fees will be refunded to those not accepted into the program.

More information from Rotman