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Social Science Urban

The New Urban Agenda

The Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

by (author) Bill Freeman

foreword by Christopher Hume

Dundurn Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2015
Urban, Urban & Land Use Planning, Post-Confederation (1867-)
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    Publish Date
    Jun 2015
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    Publish Date
    Jun 2015
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2015 Speaker's Book Award — Shortlisted

City planning in the GTHA has been mired in political grandstanding for the past decade, The New Urban Agenda offers a plain language solution to the issues plaguing the GTHA.

Politics in the Greater Toronto, Hamilton Area (GTHA) have become increasingly divisive over the past decade, and solutions to the city’s problems have become hot-topic issues debated in council and the press, but never finding resolution.The New Urban Agenda is equal parts history, social science, and call to action to solve the major problems facing the GTHA. Issues such as urban and suburban development, transit, the region’s environmental impact, affordable housing, and the seemingly inherent gridlock of municipal politics are all discussed. Award-winning author Bill Freeman offers a level-headed approach to the problems and lays out an agenda that will lead to an improvement in the quality of life in our neighbourhoods and downtowns and make our cities more economically viable. He encourages individuals and communities to speak up for themselves and get involved in politics at a grassroots level.

With no shortage of examples, he shows how this strategy can create the change that is needed to move cities forward in a way that benefits everyone, not just the business and political elite.

About the authors

Bill Freeman is an award-winning author who has written historical fiction for young adults, film scripts, documentaries, theatrical plays, educational videos, and non-fiction books. He specializes in writing about Canada and the Canadian experience.

In the 1960s and '70s Bill lived, worked, and studied in Hamilton. The play Glory Days is part of his exploration of the life of the city and its fascinating history. Bill is perhaps best known as the author of novels for young adults set in Canada in the latter part of the nineteenth century called the Bains Series. He is also well known for his books of popular history. His most recent work, Hamilton: A Peopleâ??s History, surveys the cityâ??s often turbulent history. Many of his books have received high critical acclaim and a number of awards. In recent years Bill has worked in the film industry as a writer and historical consultant. He has been on the creative team of many film projects as writer, narrator, and consultant. The projects include a science series for high school students and Mighty Machines II, a made-for-television project for preschool children. Bill Freeman lives on Toronto Island with his partner Paulette.

Bill Freeman's profile page

CHRISTOPHER HUME has written about art and architecture for The Toronto Star since 1981. He has won nominations for National Newspaper Awards in 1988, 1992, and 1995, and in 1993 received a Citation of Appreciation from the Ontario Association of Architects for his columns in the Star. He is a frequent contributor to many major Canadian and American magazines and has been a regular guest on many radio and television programs.

Christopher Hume's profile page


  • Short-listed, Speaker's Book Award

Editorial Reviews

Bill Freeman is someone who has experienced local government from the best seat in the house. The front row of the public gallery. Not only has Bill been a strong voice in the fight to build better cities, he knows how important it is sometimes to protect the city from its own city hall. Bill is as urbane as he is urban. 
Adam Vaughan, MP and former Toronto City Councillor

Professionals, elected officials, journalists and interested citizens as well as teachers and students in this broad area can journey into this book and find many things of interest.

Freemen's writing is clear and no-nonsense, and he infuses it with the warmth of his personal voice and his own direct experience over many decades as an engaged citizen, community activist, historian and social researcher. He eschews a one-size-fits-all approach, taking care to explore the diverse needs of each area within the region.

Raise the Hammer

Bill Freeman is more than an academic and writer. He is an experienced and savvy activist dedicated to ensuring community voices are heard. He is the perfect person to devise a new urban agenda.
Brian Iler, Lawyer and Community Activist

A new urban agenda, the kinds of reforms that people need to make cities livable, will only come into being through the kind of urban activism that has long occupied Bill Freeman. Until activists can educate and mobilize citizens, we are doomed to live in cities that serve the internal rates of return demanded by property developers rather than the needs of citizens. This book is a great addition to that debate.
Robert MacDermid, Political Scientist, York University

Other titles by Bill Freeman

Other titles by Christopher Hume