University of Waterloo and Caivan launch Future Cities Institute

The University of Waterloo and the Caivan Group (Caivan) are launching the Future Cities Institute (FCI) to tackle issues such as the modernization of city planning and the optimization of infrastructure.

Photo credit: University of Waterloo

The University of Waterloo and Ontario land development and homebuilding company the Caivan Group (Caivan) are launching the Future Cities Institute (FCI) as a result of a $10-million commitment from Caivan.

The Institute will bring together some of the top minds in Canada as well as provide resources to tackle challenges facing urban spaces in present day and in the future.

FCI is an interdisciplinary hub located within Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment and will tackle issues such as the modernization of city planning and the optimization of infrastructure to prioritize how cities will be laid out and how they will be sustainable.

Examinations of the root causes of pressing issues, like housing and urban transportation, will result in the development of data-supported toolkits and practical guides that industry and governments can apply to urban policy and building to drive prosperity.

FCI will also bring Waterloo’s applied science and engineering expertise for fostering entrepreneurial problem-solvers to the field of city building as well as create a network of academia, government, industry, and grassroots organizations to mobilize research and train a new generation of leaders.

Its focus will be on four key areas of research including housing, modelling, mobility and sustainable infrastructure, and how they intersect with sustainability, economics, society, health and technology.

The Institute marks an expansion of the Future Cities Initiative, which evolved out of Waterloo at 100, the university’s vision guiding what the school will be known for in 2057; its centennial year.

The initiative also brought together global thinkers across disciplines to discover sustainable solutions for the future of cities, humanity, and the planet.

“I’m excited to see our researchers joining forces with industry experts like Caivan to combine their considerable knowledge and apply it to solving the complex challenges cities of the future will face,” said University of Waterloo president and vice-chancellor Vivek Goel. “This is the kind of innovative, forward-looking partnership we need to embrace if we truly want to solve humanity’s most challenging issues. We need academic excellence; we need on-the-ground expertise; and we need those two things to work together. I’m proud that this is happening at Waterloo.”

Since 2021, Caivan CEOs and Co-Founders Frank Cairo and Troy van Haastrecht, both alumni of the University of Waterloo, have supported the school’s Future Cities Initiative, donating an initial $1 million to seed the initiative.

Caivan is active in over 50 communities across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and in Ottawa.

“The University of Waterloo is renowned globally for the quality of its graduates, its innovation and cutting-edge research. It’s this track record that the Future Cities Institute will leverage to build a healthy, resilient, and prosperous future for all,” said Caivan Co-Founder and CEO Troy van Haastrecht.  “Our cities’ problems are complex, but the Institute’s success metric is simple: devising solutions that will make a difference in the world.”

In addition to the current Master of Future Cities program, FCI will now offer a Master of Engineering (MEng) degree in Future Cities, a Graduate Diploma program where students from graduate programs will be eligible to specialize in Future Cities.

The FCI will be led by Director Leia Minaker, who is also an associate professor in the School of Planning. FCI will also be overseen by an Advisory Board that will advise foundational knowledge for academic programming as well as identify opportunities to embed work-integrated learning. The Advisory Board will work with the director, and leads from the Master of Future Cities program, and the MEng program to ensure the curriculum aligns with the overall Future Cities vision.

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