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YCAS Research Projects

As the precursor organization to IRIS, the York Centre on Applied Sustainability conducted pioneering conceptual work and laid the foundation for the transdisciplinary perspective of sustainability that informs York University's approach to this day. Through its multifaceted research projects on everyday issues facing residents and commuters of the GTA and beyond, YCAS also successfully promoted sustainability as a priority area for both governmental and non-governmental agencies and actors.

  • The Sustainability Report
    Issues and trends shaping Canada's health, economy and environment. Funded by Environment Canada, The Laidlaw Foundation and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
  • Taking Toronto's Vital Signs
    The Toronto Community Indicator Project. Funded by the Toronto Community Foundation.
  • Solar Photovoltaic Businesses in Developing Countries
    Lessons learned and key factors for successful business ventures that also improve the lives of the poor in developing countries. Funded by the International Finance Corporation.
  • Map Reflections Sustainability Monitoring and Reporting
    A web-based data collection, assessment and reporting system focused on biological indicators of urban sustainability in Southern Ontario. Funded by the TD Bank Financial Group's Friends of the Environment Foundation Community Fund and SSHRC.
  • Kortright Centre for Sustainable Living
    2000 research conference focusing on the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority's plan to extend the green space along all watersheds in the Greater Toronto Area. The conference also focused on plans to transform and expand the Kortright Centre into a sustainability learning centre. This project was supported by Suncor, Husky and Lever Ponds. Led by David Bell.
  • Sustainable Transportation
    Ontario Ministry of the Environment sponsored research into "Travel Behaviour of Parents and Children: A Study into Ontario's Travel Patterns and Attitudes Toward the Journey to School". Led by Dr. Catherine O'Brien.
  • Sustainable Development Council in Jamaica
    A comparative study and recommendations for a renewed Sustainable Development Council in Jamaica. This project provided recommendations directly to the government of Jamaica on mission, goals, structure and membership. The project was supported by CIDA and the Government of Jamaica and was completed in 1999. Led by David Bell.
  • Advancing Sustainability in the Great Lakes Basin
    An Environment Canada Challenge Paper, Advancing Sustainability in the Great Lakes Basin, February 1, 1999, was prepared by David Bell, YCAS Senior Fellows Anna Tilman and Annie Cheung, with the assistance of MES candidate Albert Engel.
  • Ethics Codes: The Regulatory Norms of a Globalized Economy
    This 1998-2001 project received a SSHRC strategic grant towards the applied ethics field, with a focus on voluntary codes. The first year was spent developing a common framework, and the second two years consist of individual work.
  • Culture of Sustainability in the Southern Cone and Canada: A Cross-National Project
    David Bell visited Brazil as a follow-up to The Culture of Sustainability in the Southern Cone and Canada: A Cross-National Project. The work involved developing a good public survey instrument for sustainability. Focus groups were organized and linked into workshops for the different stakeholders, from education, NGOs and the business sector. A book related to this project will be published in Brazil (in Portuguese) in the fall of 2000, with David Bell's article on The Culture of Sustainability as the lead article.

The following awards were also granted to students under the aegis of YCAS:

  • AGRA Award in Science and Technology
    The AGRA Award in Science and Technology was granted to the York Centre for Applied Sustainability for its proposal An Initiative to Promote Sustainable Communities and Community Based Monitoring Using Geomatics Technology. Awarded through the Ontario Graduate Scholarships in Science and Technology (OGSST) program, this project provided a unique opportunity to support a deserving graduate student working on research to advance science and technology in Canada. More specifically, The AGRA Award in Science and Technology enabled YCAS and the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University to apply geomatics technology (e.g. GIS, GPS, remote sensing) as part of an interdisciplinary initiative to promote "sustainable communities" through community-based monitoring. This award received two to one in matching funds from the Ontario government.
  • Canadian Pacific Scholarship
    A Canadian Pacific Scholarship was awarded to the York Centre for Applied Sustainability for its proposed Integrating Geographic Information System Technologies with Traditional Traveller Survey Techniques to Strengthen Sustainable Transportation Research. The focus of this Ontario Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology (OGSST) project linked Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Technology and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to traditional survey methods currently being used to delineate household trip behaviour across Ontario. The anticipated result of this research was to develop a prototype information system that integrated road network databases with dynamic traffic information, and vehicle positional data in a real-time monitoring environment. This award received two to one in matching funds from the Ontario government.
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