History

Although Neptis has conducted comparative urban region projects, its focus has been the Greater Toronto Region.

When Neptis was established in the late 1990s there was a dearth of current information on the Toronto region. Our work, along with others, has helped to stimulate a new era of provincial government initiatives in regional urban growth management.

The foundation began with a comprehensive review of aspects of the region, the six-volume “Portrait of a Region”, and has proceeded through series of growth issue papers, historic studies and commentaries.

The Toronto-Related Region Futures Studies examined several growth and development scenarios for the Toronto region, including the consequences of developing under the business-as-usual conditions of dispersed growth patterns over the next 30 years. This study, in particular, was part of a call to action for the Ontario Government to re-engage in regional planning issues.

Mapping and spatial analysis to communicate regional planning issues has been an important part of the Neptis research program. As a result we have partnered with the GIS and Cartography Office in the Department of Geography at University of Toronto to support many research projects.

More recently Neptis was invited to partner with a network of academic researchers, called Geothink.ca, to study and improve the use of Geospatial Web 2.0 tools for communication and engagement. Ryerson University is a local partner on this 5-year SHHRC-funded partnership grant to collaborate on the Neptis Geoweb, a dynamic, online map-based visualization of the past, present and future land use and transportation patterns within the Greater Toronto Region.

In 2013, Neptis collaborated with Ed Levy to produce a webbook on the history of rapid transit in Toronto.

Neptis is also part of a group of funders who have supported the production of a Community Energy Guide in collaboration with researchers from the University of British Columbia.