Cities of Inequality, Urban Solidarity, and Community Activism

Project Title: Cities Unmasked: A University of Toronto School of Cities Podcast

11 Podcast Episodes by Lubna Alli,  Victoria McCutchon,  Muhammad Ali Sajid, Brittany Livingston and Thomas Siddal 

 

What is Cities Unmasked?

Cities Unmasked Description

 

Episode 1: The Green City

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Listen to Episode 1 here: https://lnns.co/XdE-NbUauB8

Episode 2: The Isolating City

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Listen to Episode 2 here: https://lnns.co/coG_uHwlvs-

Episode 3: The Informal City

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Listen to Episode 3 here: https://lnns.co/g65MCkPi2rW

Episode 4: The Commuting City

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Listen to Episode 4 here: https://lnns.co/pW9g5AmjYQ1

Episode 5: Race and the City ft. Cheryll Case and Abigail Moriah

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Listen to Episode 5 here: https://lnns.co/YhiBL0Sdm3v

Guests

Abigail Moriah
Abigail Moriah

Abigail is a registered professional planner whose leadership on housing projects has included managing large scale mixed-income, mixed-use redevelopments. In 2018 she launched the Black Planning Project and since then has been building an association of Black planners and in 2019 she began leading a team of early career BIPOC planning professionals to create the Mentorship Initiative for Indigenous and Planners of Colour (MIIPOC). These initiatives seek to promote and connect BIPOC planners, contribute to new knowledge and practice from these perspectives, and strengthen engagement of Black, Indigenous and other racialized communities in the field of planning. Abigail has been working in the field of community development and housing for over 10 years and currently works as a Senior Development Manager for New Commons Development, a nonprofit real estate development company.

Cheryll Case
Cheryll Case

Cheryll specializes in a human rights approach to urban planning. Her methods drive collaborative processes that mend relationships between various stakeholders within the community, non-profit, private, and public sectors. She is dedicated to working with diverse populations and ensuring that their experiences are responded through program design. She is the founder of CP Planning, a non-profit planning firm that applies artistic and creative methods to build bridges between stakeholders and communicate public interests as it relates to city-building.

She began her professional career shaping public conversation on the release of her 2017 report, 'Protecting the Vibrancy of Residential Neighbourhoods'. Produced as an improvement to a class project*, Cheryll used her skills to coordinate with the Toronto Board of Trade for the report to be published in the Toronto Star. This report has since been cited by various others, including the City Building Institute and Evergreen. Since then she has coordinated funding from foundations, charities, and non-profits to engage community members and institutions in conversations that facilitate a shift towards more inclusive community planning practices.

Cheryll is also co-editor and author of House Divided: How the Missing Middle Will Solve Toronto's Affordability Crisis.

 

Episode 6: Education and the City ft. Austin Jafri, Joy Henderson, and Dr. Beyhan Farhadi

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Listen to Episode 6 here: https://lnns.co/wNVAp5JnGtH

Guests

Austin Jafri
Austin Jafri

Austin Jafri is a French as a Second Language (FSL) teacher candidate for the secondary level. He is entering his final year of his FSL BEd program at York University’s Glendon Campus. His interests include equity and social justice in FSL classrooms and programs. He is a research assistant for the Recruitment, Training and Research Project for FSL teaching in Ontario funded by Heritage Canada. He is also a community activist in Scarborough and does activism around education, equity and transit. He is vice chair of Scarborough Families for Public Education, and also a member of TTCriders, Scarborough Transit Action, and Scarborough Civic Action Network.

Joy Henderson
Joy Henderson

Joy Henderson is a mother of three and Child and Youth Care Practitioner. She has lived in Scarborough for 20 years and focuses her activism on education, Indigenous wellness, racial equity, children and youth and building and connecting communities within Scarborough.

Beyhan Farhadi
Dr. Beyhan Farhadi

Dr. Beyhan Farhadi is a postdoctoral researcher in the Faculty of Education at York University, a secondary teacher at the Toronto District School Board, and an alumni of the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto. She researches educational policy, online learning and inequality in secondary schools.

Episode 7: The Queer City ft. Ferdie Lopez, Ryan Persadie, Cornel Grey, and Samuel Yoon

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Listen to Episode 7 here: https://lnns.co/l0hFNcfCOSz

Guests

Ferdie Lopez
Ferdie Lopez

Ferdie was an Associate Professor in Literature at the University of Santo Tomas- Manila. She was the Vice-chair of the Cultural Education Committee of the Sub-commission on Cultural Dissemination of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (Philippines) and a Faculty Council Member of the Philippine Cultural Education Program. In 2015, she was cited by 8 List Philippines as one of the 8 Iconic Teachers Students Love in College. She is a PhD student at the Women and Gender Studies Institute of the University of Toronto.

Ryan Persadie
Ryan Persadie

Ryan is an educator, artist, and PhD student in Women and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto. He holds a MA in Ethnomusicology and Sexual Diversity Studies from the University of Toronto. His doctoral research investigates queer Indo-Caribbean diasporas and the ways in which performance, and specifically music and dance, offer salient queer archives for descendants of indenture to negotiate as well as disrupt normative notions of sexual citizenship, belonging, queer identity and “Pride” in Toronto and New York City. Outside of academia, Ryan is committed to solidarity and coalition-building work among QTBIPoC communities in diaspora. As an activist-scholar, he works with the Caribbean Equality Project (based in NYC), and Queeribbean Toronto.

Cornel Grey
Cornel Grey

Cornel Grey (he/him) is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Women & Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto. His doctoral research examines how black queer men enact kinship and intimacy through physical touch. This work takes seriously the importance of skin-to-skin contact in maintaining bodily, psychic and emotional well-being, and so pushes against systems that mark contact between black queer men as risky, improper and dangerous. This project also mines the slave hold, primarily articulated as a site of violence, for moments of black queer pleasure as a way to rethink black diasporic relations. Cornel is a Research Associate at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health where he is investigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of gay and bisexual men. He is also the co-host of the Fish Tea Podcast, a show about queer life in the Caribbean.

Samuel Yoon
Samuel Yoon

Samuel is a PhD Student in the Women & Gender Studies Institute at University of Toronto. His research is interested in Asian diasporic cultural productions and their insights into practices of queer kinship.

Episode 8: The Image and the City

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Listen to Episode 8 here: https://lnns.co/om8KlgxLBTU

Episode 9: The Affordable City ft. Professor Paul Makdissi

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Listen to Episode 9 here: https://lnns.co/fkrgVi7Cjs6

Guests

Paul Makdissi
Dr. Paul Makdissi

Dr. Paul Makdissi has been a Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa since 2007. He is currently an Associate Editor of the Journal of Economic Inequality. Previously he has held positions at the Université de Sherbrooke (Canada) and at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (The Netherlands). His main areas of research are socioeconomic health inequality measurement, the distributive impact of taxation and public pricing and income inequality measurement.

 

Episode 10: Urban Indigeneity and the City ft. Marissa Campbell

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Listen to Episode 10 here: https://lnns.co/_fOQkD1inAT

Guests

Marissa Campbell
Marissa Campbell

Marissa Campbell has worked as a peer counsellor and advocate for the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre, as well as a youth program coordinator for Canadian roots exchange (CRE). She is from Toronto, ON. She is of mixed heritage of European settlers, Qalipu-Mi’kmaq First Nations and Cree. She is currently working at CRE as a workshop and engagement lead focusing on youth engagement in policy on reconciliation in Canada.

Episode 11: The Patriarchal City ft. Sydney Wilson

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Listen to Episode 11 here: https://lnns.co/wzatJ4U3ecf

Guests

Sydney Narciso Wilson
Sydney Narciso Wilson

Sydney Narciso Wilson is an undergraduate student double majoring in History and Peace, Conflict & Justice and minoring in Human Geography. A lifelong Torontonian she has divided her time between research, activism and community development work. She is particularly interested in gender analysis and intersectional feminism. As part of the Trinity College Research Program she is in the final stages of a major research project assessing government policies effect on the health of Indigenous sex workers, who are overrepresented in the sex industry at a rate of up to ten times their percentage of the general population. Previously, she spent three months in New Zealand as a Queen Elizabeth Scholar conducting research on colonial educations impact on gender roles in Maori communities.

Sydney has been involved in political organizing, feminist advocacy and LGBT community support in Toronto since her early teens. Most recently, Sydney spent the summer guiding youth facing barriers through extended backcountry canoe trips as a means of encouraging personal development and experiencing the therapeutic value of the wilderness.

Podcast series Team:

Headshots of members of Cities Unmasked podcast team

Lubna Alli, Victoria McCutchon, Brittany Livingston, Muhammad Ali Sajid and Thomas Siddal  

Brittany Livingston, (UTSG) Undergrad Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies and Human Geography
Project: Targeted Climate Destruction in New Orleans: The Racialized Socio-Spatial Impacts of Hurricane Katrina

Apart from pursuing her undergraduate degree, Brittany is currently engaged as a research intern at the City of Toronto’s Automated Vehicles Team. Brittany has had the pleasure of extending her studies abroad, participating in both a semester at University College London and a New York City field course. Passionate about improving the lived experience of cities through sustainable place-making, she plans to pursue an MSc. in Urban Planning with a focus on urban design to help construct resilient and equitable built environments. 


Chiyi Tam, (UTSG) Graduate – Masters of Science in Planning
Project : Urban Planning for Transformative Justice in Practice

Chiyi Tam is an urbanist and a second generation Canadian-Chinese settler from Vancouver. She is currently a communication strategy consultant, specializing in helping organizations conduct meaningful engagement by increasing group capacity for healthy conflict. Ms. Tam has been a community organizer, mobilizing research from the UBC Farm and Oxford University’s Department of International Development in sustainable food systems, technology and international development. She has also been active in social innovation and start-up ventures, first with the installation of Vancouver's umbrella share system - Umbracity and progressive food marketing startup - Social Nature. During her time at UBC, Ms. Tam received the Walter G. Hardwick Scholarship in Urban Studies for her writings on the racial implications of Vancouver’s evolving mythology of Chinese real estate investors. Ms Tam is also a proud alumnus of Vancouver's RADIUS Fellowship, CityStudio Vancouver and Inner City Farm’s cohorts. 


Daniel Dongjoo Lee, (UTSG) Graduate – Doctorate of Medicine and Maters of Science in Systems Leadership and Innovation
Project : Lived Experience Forum to Build Empathy for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness Among Health Profession Students

Daniel Dongjoo Lee is a second year medical student, who is concurrently earning a Master of Science degree in Systems Leadership and Innovation at the Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation. While pursuing his Bachelor of Medical Science degree at Western University, Daniel engaged extensively with the Canadian Medical Health Association. He holds leadership and clinical roles at IMAGINE Clinic, a student-run non-profit clinic serving homeless, refugee, and other disadvantaged patients in downtown Toronto. He is interested in Health Services Delivery and is conducting research in improving hospital resource allocation at the Toronto General Hospital.


Janelle Brady

Janelle Brady*, (UTSG) Graduate - PhD in Education, OISE
Project : Action Research Through Black Mothering Perspectives: A Community Activist Project for Change-making

Janelle is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) in the University of Toronto. Her work looks at Black mothering experiences in the schooling and education system. At OISE, Janelle is currently a coordinator of the Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies and co-coordinated the Decolonizing Conference in 2016 and 2018. She is faculty at George Brown College and the University of Guelph Humber and recently taught at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Janelle is involved in activism and political organizing such as the Women’s March Toronto and the NDP’s Ethno-Racial Equity Committee. Janelle is currently the Vice President of the Ontario NDP and serves on other boards of directors including Community Forward, Progress Toronto and Regenesis. Janelle was recently recognized by the University of Toronto with the International Day for the End of Racial Discrimination Award.

Read more about Janelle's motivation and activism in her Q&A with SofC - Lessons in giving back.


Lubna

Lubna Alli, (UTSC) Undergrad - Bachelor of Arts in City Studies and Public Policy
Project : Race for Space: The Dichotomy of the City and the Image

Lubna is in her final year of Bachelors and has lived and studied in Siena, Italy; Brno, Czech Republic; and, Seville, Spain, and was recently selected to go to Tokyo, Japan for a competitive urban design seminar with Masters of Planning students from Germany, China and Japan, at the University of Tsukuba. Lubna was also selected to be a Daughter of the Vote and join 337 other womxn in Ottawa for a historic seating in the Parliament of Canada, representing the riding of Ajax for The Honourable Mark Holland. Prior to this, she placed 1st in the UTSC: 50 Years Later Case Competition for her redesign of the proposed University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Master Plan. Fulfilling her duties as a Parks Planning Intern with The Town of Whitby, and as a Research Fellow with the School of Cities, Lubna believes it the responsibility of each city-builder to be hyper-aware of the anti-oppressive framework as their primary guiding pillar.

Learn more about Lubna's thoughts and journey in her Students in the Spotlight feature. "Students in the Spotlight" is a conversation series with members of the SofC Student Academy and Urban Leadership Fellowship program.


Muhammad Ali Sajid, (UTSG) Undergrad - Bachelor of Science in Economics, double minor in Mathematics and Statistics
Project : The Impact of the Green Belt and Inefficient Land Use on Affordable Housing in the Golden Horseshoe

Muhammad is a 4th-year undergraduate student finishing up a B.S. (Hons) in Economics with double minors in Mathematics and Statistics. He is an international student from Pakistan with a full-ride at the university under the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship program. His research interests lie in applied microeconomics, econometrics, and development economics. In addition to his research work as a Laidlaw Scholar and a Reach Project researcher, Muhammad is involved in campus life and student activism at the university, prominently as President of the Pakistan Development Foundation.

 

Read more about Muhammad's thoughts and journey in his Students in the Spotlight feature. "Students in the Spotlight" is a conversation series with members of the SofC Student Academy and Urban Leadership Fellowship program.


Nick Vo, (UTSG) Graduate – Masters of Science in Planning
Project : Build a Better Bloor Dufferin

Being exposed to the urban issues and chronic stresses in Toronto, Nick is seeking to explore how to make cities more livable, inclusive and accessible. He wants to enhance his experience and understanding of how to create neighbourhoods in cities that are alive, accessible, and inclusive. As an aspiring "city builder", Nick is always seeking opportunities to learn and gain more experience. 


Ntombi Nkiwan*, (UTSG) Graduate - Master of Public Health in Health Promotion
Sophia Zekiros*, (UTSG) Graduate - Master of Public Health in Social and Behavioural Health Sciences 

Project : Rethinking Public Health

Ntombi Nkiwane is a second year Master of Public Health student in the Social and Behavioural Health Sciences stream. She completed her undergraduate degree in Management and Political Science, at Dalhousie University in Halifax. She is interested in the political economy of health in Africa and its diaspora. In her work, she seeks to interrogate the sources of persistent inequities. She recently co-edited an epidemiological research paper on the association between race and mortality in Canada, and is presently working on a research paper about the political economy of health inequities research. Throughout her schooling, she has been involved in various leadership, extracurricular, and community activities relating to: obstetric fistula, reproductive health, incarceration, and housing. She is presently Co-Lead of the Black Public Health Students’ Collective.

Sophia Zekiros is a 2nd year Master of Public Health student in the Social and Behavioural Health Sciences stream, specializing in Global Health. She is interested in the ways Public Health responds to unhealthy conditions produced by social, economic, and political systems, and the particular implications for Black life here and abroad. As a Queen Elizabeth Scholar this past summer, she conducted an evaluation of a breast cancer genetics educational tool in Nairobi, Kenya. This broadened her understanding of the sociopolitical forces that shape Black lives globally, solidifying her commitment to centering the ‘contexts of context’. She looks forward to continuing this work with the School of Cities. She is presently Co-Lead of the Black Public Health Students’ Collective.
 


Sara Wasim, (UTSG) Undergrad - Bachelor of Arts in Equity Studies and Human Geography, Focus in Urban Geography and Planning
Project : Creating Cities for Everyone: Learning from the Ground-Up

Sara is a 4th year undergraduate urban enthusiast at Victoria College. She is passionate about community engagement and the creation of equitable cities through urban planning and human-centered design. 


Semilore Ajayi*, (UTSG) Undergrad - Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and African Studies
Project : Missing Links: Youth Unemployment and Homelessness in Nigeria

Semilore Ajayi is a 4th year Political Science and African Studies student passionate about inequality debates surrounding the development myth and urbanization in Africa, specifically in Nigeria, her home country. Her research interests include issues of inequality, infrastructure, urbanization and policy affecting youth in African and global contexts. She focuses on how international policy, international law, governance, development and civic engagement intersect to influence the tangible needs of the everyday youth. Furthermore, she looks to explore the importance of social entrepreneurship and the non-profit sector in their abilities to advocate for disadvantaged communities.

Read more about Semilore's thoughts and journey in her Students in the Spotlight feature. "Students in the Spotlight" is a conversation series with members of the SofC Student Academy and Urban Leadership Fellowship program.


Sydney Narciso Wilson

Sydney Narciso Wilson*, (UTSG) Undergrad – Bachelor of Arts in History, Human Geography & Peace, Conflict and Justice
Project : Catcalling is Not a Micro-Aggression: Exploring Women's Experience of Space in Toronto

Sydney is an undergraduate student double majoring in History and Peace, Conflict & Justice and minoring in Human Geography. A lifelong Torontonian she has divided her time between research, activism and community development work. She is particularly interested in gender analysis and intersectional feminism. As part of the Trinity College Research Program she is in the final stages of a major research project assessing government policies effect on the health of Indigenous sex workers, who are overrepresented in the sex industry at a rate of up to ten times their percentage of the general population. Previously, she spent three months in New Zealand as a Queen Elizabeth Scholar conducting research on colonial educations impact on gender roles in Maori communities.

Read more about Sydney's motivation and activism in her Q&A with SofC: "Take this opportunity to get back to the roots of pride" - Student Fellow & activist shares a message of inspiration in chaotic times.


Tania Kengatharan, (UTSG) Undergrad - Bachelor of Arts in Equity Studies, English, and Sociology
Project : Project Title: Art Circle Workshop Series

Tania is a fourth-year undergraduate student with a passion for examining the relationship between politics, resistance and art. Through her educational journey and lived experience, Tania aspires to create safe spaces for healing, solidarity and empowerment of marginalized communities. Her work explores the use of art as a space to process trauma, which often exists at the intersections of identity. 


Thomas standing against a colorful wall

Thomas Siddall, (UTSG) Undergrad - Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Contemporary Asian Studies
Project : New Ground: Technologies of Queer Respacialization Against Gentrification

Thomas Siddall (they/them) is a third-year undergraduate studying International Relations and Contemporary Asian Studies. They have served as the Victoria College Director on the University of Toronto Students' Union and as a member of the Victoria University Senate -  a reflection of their dedication towards community activism and equity seeking work. In the summer of 2018, Thomas worked with the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (now Ministry of Children, Community and Social Service) where they focused on northern and rural immigration issues. During that time, they produced part of the policy framework that was developed into the federal Northern and Rural Immigration pilot program. In 2019, they worked with the Beijing LGBT Center as part of a research project on gentrification of the Dashanzi area; this work is set to be published by In:cite Journal in late spring 2020.

Learn more about Thomas' thoughts and journey in PDF icontheir Students in the Spotlight feature. "Students in the Spotlight" is a conversation series with members of the SofC Student Academy and Urban Leadership Fellowship program.


Victoria McCutcheon

Victoria McCutcheon, (UTSG) Undergrad - Bachelor of Arts in Sociology
Project : Meet the Neighbours

Victoria is a 2nd Year undergraduate student studying Sociology and Urban Studies. Throughout high school she was involved with the Mayor’s Youth Action Committee of Halton Hills, helping to advocate for change and advise community leaders on youth engagement initiatives. In the winter of 2013, she began an initiative with her mother known as “Elves on a Mission,” working to provide warm coats and blankets to Toronto’s homeless during the Christmas season. Currently, Victoria contributes to the U of T’s community through her involvement with ‘StrengthIN,’ an on-campus group that works to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health and better prepare high school students for the stress of university through a variety of interactive workshops. With her MHFA and SafeTALK certification, Victoria hopes to bring both her background in mental health and her small-town perspective to her work within the School of Cities.