In 2017, the presidents of the four universities in Toronto - OCAD University, Ryerson University, University of Toronto, and York University - released a call for proposals from multi-university, multi-disciplinary teams to document the nature and extent of the current student housing affordability challenge, and to identify creative initiatives that might address these housing challenges.

StudentDwellTO started as the response to this call and is a collaborative effort to research and address how the current Toronto housing crisis is impacting students in the GTA. The initiative is multi-disciplinary in nature and composition and brings together students and faculty in a number of academic disciplines and research methods from all four universities.

Part of StudentDwellTO undertakings include cultivating student-led research projects - embedded within existing courses at each university - in affordable student housing strategies; planning and executing events addressing affordable housing; engaging and mobilizing students through focus groups and data analysis; creating interactive maps and visualizations that are instrumental both for the institutions and students; and activating research and mobilizing students and affordable housing advocates through community arts programming and communication tools.