Curriculum & Modules

The summer program and in-school curriculum units are organized into modules on different urban topics that culminate in rich problem-solving tasks such as redesigning a struggling local park, or remapping a transit network in crisis. Maximum City has been recognized locally and internationally as a model for bringing civic literacy, urbanism and sustainability education to youth, reaching thousands of students grades 3 and up in Canada and Europe.

The summer 2013 program focused on how to create a great public space for everyone in development-intense downtown Toronto. Students visited case studies such as Yonge-Dundas Square and Sugar Beach, learned from the designers of those spaces, consulted the local community, then tackled the design challenge site at 11 Wellesley where some of their ideas will ultimately be included in the final design of the site.

8-80 Cities

In this module, experts on liveable and sustainable cities partner with a teacher to develop and deliver a lesson on healthy sustainable cities. Students participate in a workshop to examine the importance of parks, public space, mobility, and healthy and happy cities for all ages.

Gil Penalosa Executive Director, 8-80 Cities
Calgary East Village

In this module students examine Calgary's East Village redevelopment as an opportunity to create a sustainable community.

Celesa Horvath Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility Consultant
Cities as Systems

In this module, students study how cities work as a series of interconnected systems in which we all play a part. A city official walks the students through the role the city plays in their lives through various services, followed by an exercise in which students examine the role they can play in the city.

John Schaffter Director Organization Development and Learning at City of Toronto
Civic Engagement

In this module, students learn tools and strategies for building an effective civic engagement campaign then choose a project to implement and follow through on.

Dave Meslin Activist and Organizer
Creating a Public Space for Everyone

Students weigh the importance of gathering input from various stakeholders and users in order to create a successful public space for everyone in a community and city.

Kristyn Wong-Tam Councillor, Ward 27
Cycling

In this module, a cycling consultant delivers a lesson on urban bike infrastructure and networks. Students participate in a neighbourhood safety ride supervised by members of the Toronto Police Service, then discuss and compare the different kinds of existing cycling infrastructure as possible improvements and alternatives.

Yvonne Bambrick Urban Cycling Consultant
Design Thinking

In this module, students learn the fundamentals of architecture and design, key terminology, and the history of important movements. An architect partners with a designer and a teacher to deliver a lesson on architecture and design in context, followed by a model-building activity and a site visit. Students learn how to recognize key elements of design and architecture while exploring the surrounding neighbourhood.

Zahra Ebrahim archiTEXT
Food

In this module, students learn about local and global food systems, and the role our decisions play. With the help of an author, students examine the challenges of our current food system and look for sustainable solutions.

Sarah Elton Author and Journalist
Great Public Spaces

The summer 2013 program focused on how to create a great public space for everyone. Students visited case studies such as Yonge-Dundas Square and Sugar Beach, learned from the designers of these spaces, then tackled the design challenge site at 11 Wellesley.

Josh Fullan Maximum City
Landscape Architecture

In this module, students learn the principles of landscape architecture then collaborate to design a park considering a range of users and community input.

Denise Pinto Jane's Walk
Mapping

In this workshop, students learn how to use a historical air photo collection and geographic information systems (GIS) software with Canadian census data to discover how neighbourhoods have changed qualitatively and quantitatively over time.

Jordan Hale Map & Data Library, University of Toronto
Parks

In this module, students learn the importance of parks in city life and examine what role citizens can play in improving green spaces. An expert on parks will provide an introduction followed by a site visit to a nearby park for a brainstorming session on how to improve local green spaces.

Dave Harvey Toronto Park People
Smart City

The Smart City module introduces the concept of the “networked city.” It focuses on the different ways that data is making previously invisible urban activity visible, enabling new ways of planning, managing, and behaving in cities. The activities in this module are designed to help students identify different invisible urban activities, imagine the kinds of data these activities produce, and propose digital services or products that leverage this data to improve urban sustainability and make life better for city dwellers.

Ian Malczewski Urban Strategies
Sugar Beach

In this site visit, students study one of Toronto's most celebrated and unique public spaces with the help of the designers and a guest speaker form Waterfront Toronto.

Lisa Prime Waterfront Toronto
Transit

In this module, a representative of a regional transit authority delivers a lesson on the social and economic importance of vital transit options across a municipal region. Students examine their own use of existing modes of transit and discuss ways to improve transit accessibility and connectivity.

Mathew Bertin Metrolinx
Brad Ross Toronto Transit Commission
John Lorinc
Walking

In this module, an expert on pedestrian infrastructure partners with a teacher to develop and deliver a lesson on pedestrian infrastructure and urban walkability. Students participate in a personal mapping exercise, reflect on and compare their own pedestrian use, and conclude with a field visit and wrap-up activity.

Dylan Reid Spacing
Yonge-Dundas Square

In this site visit, students study one of our city's most recognizable and discussed public spaces with the help of guest speakers including the designers of the square.

Kim Storey Brown and Storey