Announcing 2023-24 School of Cities Visiting Experts

The School of Cities is thrilled to announce our new Visiting Experts for 2023. Today, Rebecca Alty (Mayor of Yellowknife) and Chris Murray (former Toronto City Manager) join the School as Canadian Urban Leaders; Don Iveson (former Mayor of Edmonton) renews his position as a Canadian Urban Leader for a second year; and Chiyi Tam (Executive Director, Kensington Market Community Land Trust) joins us as an Early Career Canadian Urban Leader.  

Urban Leaders within the School of Cities’ Visiting Experts program are globally influential or emerging leaders in civil society, the arts, business, media and government. During their affiliation with School of Cities, they engage in intellectual, cultural and/or artistic exchange, nurture experimentation and new ideas, and support research, collaboration and knowledge creation across geographies, disciplines and communities.   

Canadian Urban Leaders are prominent Canadian global influencers who have served in government or the public service and managed a portfolio with significant urban focus.  

Early Career Canadian Urban Leaders demonstrate leadership potential and capacity and are in the first ten years of their current career path.  

Meet our 2023-24 Early Career Canadian Urban Leader

Headshot of Chiyi TamChiyi Tam 

Chiyi Tam is an urban planner and anti-displacement organizer practicing in Tkaronto's Kensington-Chinatown neighbourhood. She is the Executive Director of the Kensington Market Community Land Trust, where she led the organization’s first building acquisition, securing 12-units of deeply affordable residential units from further speculation.  

Ms. Tam is a founding board director of the Toronto Chinatown Land Trust, serves on the steering committee of the Canadian Network of Community Land Trusts and is a member of the Union Cooperative Initiative, which incubates unionized worker cooperatives. She frequently supports groups from all corners of Turtle Island exploring community ownership and wealth-building as an anti-displacement strategy for racial and economic justice.   

During her time as an Early Career Canadian Urban Leader, Chiyi’s focus will be on supporting the incorporation of the new Toronto Chinatown Land Trust; more fully participating in the inaugural business planning process for the Canadian Network of CLTs; and hosting events and public educational programming at the School of Cities.    


Meet our 2023-24 Canadian Urban Leader

Rebecca AltyRebecca Alty headshot 

Rebecca Alty has been the Mayor of Yellowknife, NWT since 2018. She was born and raised in Yellowknife, and has served as Executive Director of the Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation, Director of Communications and Community Development at AVENS, and Manager of Communities and External Relations at Diavik Diamond Mine Inc. She served two terms as a Councillor with the City of Yellowknife before running for Mayor - a position to which she was elected in 2022 for her second term.   

Ms. Alty will use her time as a Canadian Urban Leader to explore ways of expanding housing options and making housing more affordable in Yellowknife, where the percentage of the population experiencing housing challenges or homelessness is higher than in many larger Canadian cities, and where the northern, remote and rural nature of the city makes the challenges unique and limits the range of solutions.  

Chris Murray headshotChris Murray 

Chris Murray is special advisor to the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Communities on issues of regional transit investment and affordable housing. Prior to this role, he served as City Manager of Toronto from 2018-2022 and City Manager of Hamilton from 2009-2018. During his term in Hamilton, Mr. Murray established the Greater Hamilton Toronto Area (GTHA) executive leadership table, which still meets regularly to discuss shared interests in housing, transit, digital infrastructure, procurement and financial sustainability, and shares information with more formal metropolitan structures in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax.    

Chris is a registered professional city planner, with considerable experience in housing and transportation planning. During his time as a Canadian Urban Leader, he will explore his interest in and experience of the role of Canadian municipalities in the innovation economy – especially in the healthcare and climate change sectors – and the rise of Canadian regional planning and the urban agenda.  


Don Iveson 

Don Iveson headshot

Don Iveson served as Edmonton’s 35th Mayor from 2013 to 2021, during which time he oversaw the launch of the city’s Smart Growth Plan; City Council’s Energy Transition Strategy; and the Citywide Flood Mitigation Strategy.  

Since retiring from City Hall he has worked part-time with Co-Operators as Executive Advisor for Climate Investment and Community Resiliency and on ramping up Civic Good, a public policy advisory practice working on climate, housing, governance and civic innovation projects with like-minded clients ranging from startups to governments. He also volunteers as Board Co-Chair of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness.  

During his time as Mayor, Mr. Iveson also served as Chair of Canada’s Big City Mayors and on the board of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities; helped to shape the National Housing Strategy; was an Honorary Witness to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada; and implemented the first trauma-informed all-staff Indigenous awareness and reconciliation training program at a major Canadian city.   

Don returns to the School of Cities for a second year as a Canadian Urban Leader. He is using his time in the role to build cases for governance and financial empowerment of Canada’s Metropolitan City Regions and extra-constitutional changes that a visionary Canadian province could adopt to drive inclusive growth, resilience & sustainability, and prosperity for their citizens.