About the firm

Smart Cities Research Services (SCRS) is a consulting firm that specializes in research and policy development on issues related to urban sustainability.


SCRS was created in 1991, accumulating almost 30 years of research and policy development experience in the planning and broader urban governance fields. From the start, our goal has been to provide quality research services to clients that are willing to push the envelope on urban sustainability with ground-breaking projects. The firm's work has helped the agenda move forward from the early days of conceptualizing urban sustainability and building implementation tools to broadening the scope of the concept to emphasize equity, smart growth, housing affordability, climate change, resilience and smart technology.


SCRS is comitted to exploring and documenting progress towards urban sustainability in Canada, with research projects covering fields such as the management of urban growth, farmland and ecological services preservation, regional planning, community design, active transportation, community energy planning, climate resilience, affordable housing, reconciliation, healthy communities, and green infrastructure. Also of interest to the firm is the emerging "future cities" space, including civic technology, models of urban innovation, smart and open governance, regulatory innovation, and policy experimentation.

The firm has a special interest in developing innovative planning policies that bridge the gap between planning visions and real changes in the way cities are built "on the ground". Consequently, much of our research has focused on providing evidence of the effectiveness of sustainability measurees, identifying best practices and generating case studies of innovative policies and programs, and exploring opportunities for and barriers to sustainable urbanism.The firm also specializes in developing implementation tools, including fiscal measures that support smart growth, indicators of urban sustainability, certification programs, and planning evaluation systems.

Much of the firm's policy development work is conducted through engagement with stakeholders. For these projects, we work closely with clients to identify the full range of voices that need to be heard and design processes to ensure that input is gathered from everyone concerned rather than the vocal few.


Our expertise covers a broad range of research and engagement methods including both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Qualitative methods include survey development and implementation, structured and semi-structured interviews, focus groups, detailed case studies, media analysis, historical document analysis, and literature reviews. Quantititative methods include primary data collection and analysis, trend analysis, life-cycle analysis, ecological valuation, and cost-benefit analysis.


SCRS conducts research and provides policy advice to federal, provincial and municipal governments as well as charitable foundations and non-governmental organizations, including:


  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

  • Natural Resources Canada

  • Environment Canada

  • Agriculture Canada

  • Infrastructure Canada

  • Transport Canada

  • Office of Energy Research and Development

  • Intergovernmental Committee on Urban and Regional Research

  • Ontario's Growth Secretariat


  • Halifax Regional Municipality

  • City of Ottawa

  • Metro Vancouver

  • City of Calgary


  • Commission for Environmental Cooperation

  • International Joint Commission

  • Fund for the Environment and Urban Life (USA)


  • Federation of Canadian Municipalities

  • Canadian Instittute of Planners

  • Evergreen

  • David Suzuki Foundation

  • Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation

  • Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

  • Ontario Federation of Agriculture

  • Environmental Defence

  • Smart Growth BC

  • Future Cities Canada

  • Whistler Centre for Sustainability

  • Ontario Smart Growth Network

  • Montreal Urban Ecology Centre

  • Pembina Institute


  • McConnell Foundation

  • Ivey Foundation

  • Canadian Environmental Grantmakers' Network

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