The New Urban Agenda


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.


Speaker’s Book Award


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

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

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

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

About the Authors

Bill Freeman

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014
Bill Freeman photo

Bill Freeman

Bill Freeman is a Canadian urban issues writer and winner of the Governor General's Literary Award. He has authored nineteen books, including The New Urban Agenda. Bill lives on Toronto Island.