Creative Cities: Cultural Growth in Complex Adaptive Cities

Avery Clarke, (UTSG) Graduate - Masters of Landscape Architecture
Project : Marsh as Muse

As a Halifax native, Avery has an unwavering passion for the East coast and the unique maritime landscape that forms the fabric for its vibrant communities, cultures, and heritage. His understanding of the dynamic interchanges between community, culture, and heritage has endured through his Bachelor of Knowledge Integration, specializing in collaborative design, from the University of Waterloo. His undergraduate thesis examined the relationship between environmental attitudes, dietary patterns, and purchasing intent. His fervour for design and sustainability led him to the Master of Landscape Architecture program at U of T, of which he is currently completing his third year. Last summer, he worked as a landscape designer at Unknown Studio, a landscape architecture firm based in Baltimore, Maryland. His work, designing for coastal cities and communities in Baltimore, has reinvigorated his passion for the Maritimes and he hopes to pursue a professional career as a landscape architect in Halifax. 

Catherine Lu, (UTSG) Undergrad - Bachelor of Arts in Digital Humanities, Environmental Anthropology, Book and Media Studies
Project : A Multiplicity of Doorways -- A fiction anthology exploring what it means to live with a city

Catherine is a second-year student who transferred from Queen’s University in Kingston last year. She’s passionate about the harnessing the power of storytelling to change people’s lives, and critically thinks about stories she comes upon in daily life and the problematic narratives they reiterate. Catherine is also involved with The Varsity, U of T Spoken Word, and various Toronto arts organizations. Her project idea is all about spreading hopeful and diverse ideas so readers can become more empathetic decision makers. 

You can read more about her project at A Multiplicity of Stories is an original and open access Anthology of short fiction stories set in urban areas. It features 8 themed explorations, insights, and prompts on cities.

A Multiplicity of Stories

Join us for the Anthology Launch on October 8, 2020 at the Webinar Series Session # 6


Christine Balt

Christine Balt, (UTSG) Graduate – PhD in Curriculum and Pedagogy, OISE
Project : Towards a Caring Urban Public: Youth, cities, ecologies and drama

Christine Balt is a third-year doctoral candidate who holds a Master of Arts in Dramatic Arts from Rhodes University in South Africa, in which she examined intersections of site, ritual and embodiment in post-Apartheid theatre and performance. Christine has worked as a performer, an applied theatre facilitator and practitioner, and a high school drama teacher. She has taught in classrooms across South Africa, Japan, South Korea and China before settling in Toronto, where she graduated from the Master of Teaching program at OISE. Her current doctoral research uses drama as a research tool to explore the attitudes, feelings and experiences of young people in the midst of urban change, development and gentrification in the city of Toronto. Using site-specific and place-based performance as tools for teaching and research, this project aims to examine how young people find and make ‘place’ in destabilizing urban environments. 

Read more about Christine'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.

Learn more about Christin'es project at The Alternative Maps Project — Artists Imagining a Livelier, Greener Post-Pandemic Toronto.


Through the support of the University of Toronto's School of Cities Urban Leadership Fellowship and Student Academy 2020, The Alternative Maps Project was launched to instigate the subtle cultural shifts that are required to help us re-think urban space. It consists of three contributions from young artists who reside in Toronto and its surrounding neighbourhoods. 

Jessica Ying, (UTSG) Graduate – Master of Architecture
Project : Toronto reimagined - towards a collective city

While pursuing her Maters at U of T, Jessica most recently collaborated with Professor Mauricio Quiros and Michael Piper for the EDIT Design exhibition. She has also assisted the external relations and outreach department at the Faculty of Architecture. Previously, she worked at various architectural firms in Toronto, Beijing, and Hong Kong, and also as an undergraduate teaching assistant at U of T. She has participated as a student speaker at the UNGC PRME Global forum and coordinated international higher education conference. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the U of T. 

Lloyd McArton

Lloyd McArton*, (UTSG) Graduate – PhD in Music Education, Faculty of Music
Project : Towards a Caring Urban Public: Youth, cities, ecologies and drama

Lloyd is a musician, teacher, and researcher originally from Parry Sound, Ontario. He is working on his PhD dissertation at the Faculty of Music, conducting research on independent music scenes and how people learn to create musical lives within them. Other areas of research have included exploring the inequitable variance in access to avenues of musical learning, and devising ways to ameliorate barriers that may be contributing to those discrepancies. Outside of academia, Lloyd works, creates, and facilitates others’ learning as a DIY multi-instrumentalist and educator. He teaches music at The Clover School and plays guitar and saxophone in the indie rock band Lost Cousins.

Sandy Ma, (UTSG) Undergrad - Bachelor of Arts and Science in Urban Studies and Neuroscience
Project : How would you design your city?

Sandy is an Urban Studies and Neuroscience student who spends a great deal of time thinking of brains and cities and how to combine the two together. 

Sarika Navanathan, (UTSG) Undergrad - Bachelor of Commerce and Economics
Project : Engaging in Identities Through Artistry in Toronto

As a student passionate about cross-cultural learning, Sarika has been lucky enough to travel to North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa to study and work in professional and academic settings. She is heavily involved at the U of T in Student Life, and volunteers with various non-profit organizations and community initiatives within the GTA, most recently a GOTV campaign in the GTA’s Tamil community. These experiences have allowed her to become a skilled communicator, a dynamic organizer, and an open-minded problem solver. Sarika is also a skilled musician and regularly performs in Toronto and around the world and teaches children as well. She hopes to combine her education with her interests in social well-being and community development to make a difference in the future, and work in the social innovation or non-profit space. 

Shahd Fulath Khan, (UTSG) Undergrad - Bachelor of Arts and Science in Psychology, Neuroscience, and Political Science
Project : The Infrastructure of Happiness: Re-imagining Toronto’s Response to Mental Health

In first year, Shahd was selected as one of 25 individuals to participate in the Munk One Global Innovation program at U of T. She was also awarded with the First Year Involvement Award for her active participation in campus life and extracurricular activities. In her second-year she served as the secretary for the largest student club on campus, the Muslim Students’ Association, where she was awarded both, Team Player of the Year and Program of the Year by the Student Life Division. Shahd was also awarded the Dr. David Chu Scholarship for Asia-Pacific Studies (Valued at: $3500) to pursue independent research on plastic waste elimination in Indonesia. She also works as a Psychology Research Assistant for the Social-Emotional Development and Intervention Lab. As a Psychology specialist, she aspires to combine her interest in mental health reform and global innovation to design effective solutions for students who are at risk of suicide. 

Tzu Chen

Tzu Chen Wang*, (UTSG) Undergrad – Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health
Project : Project : The Future for Retail in Cities: Co-Retailing May Be the Way to Go?

Tzu Chen moved to Canada when he was in grade 9 and is an undergraduate student at U of T and has a strong passion in learning and education. His journey in teaching started when he was in grade 8 when he was given the opportunity to teach basic English to children from low-income families in Taiwan. It was in grade 10 when he started volunteering at an NGO that welcomes newcomers and refugees; this opportunity has allowed him to meet people from all over the world and made him realize that education is more than just teaching what’s on the textbooks. It was then when he started trying all kinds of new things such as volunteering at various cultural centres, joining various student clubs, researching at the coroner’s office, and launching his own startup.