Student Fellows

As part of its mission, the School of Cities Student Fellowship Award provides a forum for urban-focused interdisciplinary and collaborative learning. 

SofC Student Fellows are current U of T students with strong interest in and passion for urban issues and critical challenges and are leading an innovative and impactful project this term. Meet our 2020 Fellows: 

2020 Fellows 

Undergraduate Fellows

Project Title: Missing Links: Youth Unemployment

and Homelessness in Nigeria

 

Program of Study: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
and African Studies

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.  

Her experiences range from professional settings to community organization and advocacy, which combine to provide her with unique insights and perspectives when problem solving. She has extensive experience as a youth leader, having managed budgets of over $70,000, written grant applications and proposals, managed projects and planned large events. Semilore believes in constant learning, growth, introspection, and self awareness as the beginnings of effective innovation and hopes to advocate for and instill the above in youth across the country and the world. 

Project Title: Coffee Cup Collective TO – Eliminating Single-Use Coffee Cup Waste Through Community Participatory Action

Program of Study: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Indigenous Studies

 

Adam is a 4th+ year Computer Science and Indigenous Studies major with over 6 years experience in the field of software engineering including social innovation, autonomous vehicles, cryptocurrency, finance, education and health technologies. He is a software development instructor with the School of Continuing Studies and a head teaching assistant within the department of Computer Science. He has been actively involved in civic engagement for over 3 years as the lead for a City of Toronto youth advocacy committee (YDAC). He is the founder of a tech-oriented non-profit (Dana Project) and a poverty alleviation advocate, working on a multitude of local projects within Engineers Without Borders. He volunteers for and consults on numerous non-profit projects on a regular basis. Above all else, Adam is a long-time and passionate Torontonian who is fixated on leveraging technology and agile processes for the purposes of bettering our communities.

Conroy Gomes

Project Title: Creative Activism: The Role of Art

in Oppression and the City

 

Program of Study: Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience,
Biology and Physiology

As a current Honours Bachelor of Science Candidate majoring in Neurobiology and Physiology, Conroy is a passionate, experienced, and knowledgeable student leader within the academic community at the University of Toronto. Growing up in traditionally underprivileged areas, this gave him an early understanding of the role of urbanization and infrastructure mismanagement in social and health inequalities. Conroy is driven to use his passions in public health policy, research and law, toward the demonopolization of resources for traditionally underserved peoples. He has engaged in advocacy, outreach, and leadership on the ground through community-service development, policy, research, and student initiatives. These activities encompass work at institutions such as the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Kensington Health, the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, the Hospital for Sick Children, and the University of Toronto International Health Program. 

Through his professional, academic, and personal experiences, Conroy has instantiated a strong understanding of how health/social infrastructure and services contribute to the vitality of disparaged populations while remaining undeterred to offering an empathetic and engaged perspective on such issues. His interests in health and social issues go far beyond traditional science avenues, hence his involvement with the School of Cities. Through his current fellowship within the School of Cities, Conroy will be examining the role of art as a vehicle against oppression by disparaged populations and in the construction of cities as well as their amalgamation of culture. As a deliverable for this project, an art gala and book will be curated by Conroy featuring the artworks of traditionally underrepresented artists and their messages.

Read more about Conroy'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.

Project Title: Immigrant Placemaking in Suburban Communities

Program of Study: Bachelor of Arts in City Studies and Public Policy 

 

Kandeel Imran is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto Scarborough majoring in City Studies and Public Policy, and minoring in Critical Migration Studies. Currently, she is the elected student representative for the department of Human Geography in the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union. This summer she worked as the Community Program Assistant at Heritage Toronto, a City of Toronto agency and non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for the recognition of the history and cultural heritage of Toronto neighbourhoods through walking tours, plaques, and awards. Kandeel is interested in community development, especially as it relates to the intersections of immigrant businesses and placemaking in the suburbs of Toronto.

Michael Cameron McCulloch

Project Title: Beyond Bike Lanes: Cycling-Exclusive

Infrastructure for Safer, More Sustainable Cities

 

Program of Study: Bachlor of Applied Science in Civil Engineering

Michael is pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Civil & Mineral Engineering at the University of Toronto (UofT) and works on campus at the Centre for Quantitative Analysis & Modelling at the Fields Institute. Over the course of his degree, he hopes to specialize in Geological Engineering and Mining Finance before beginning a new career in mining and natural resources. Prior to his current studies, Michael earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Latin American Studies from Carleton College and a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University. He also worked for many years as an environmental policy researcher and grant manager for the World Bank in Brazil. His goal, in the future, is to merge the lessons of his past experience with his technical coursework at UofT to support the global mining industry in developing better, more sustainable business practices. 

Jigme Lhamo

Project Title: Depression and Mental Health in the Tibetan-

Canadian Community: The Barriers of Service Utilization

 

Program of Study: Bachelor of Science in Psychology and
Human Exceptionality in Learning

Jigme Lhamo Tsering is a Tibetan-Canadian immigrant currently finishing her bachelor’s in Psychology and Human Exceptionality in Learning at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Jigme is passionate about advocacy, social justice, and is an active member of Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) Canada. Jigme’s involvement with SFT has given her the opportunity to grow as an activist and learn the importance of grassroots movements, representation and intersectionality. She hopes to study the effects of diaspora on mental health and service utilization among the Tibetan Community in attempts to establish a diverse range of representation in research and academia. 

Project Title: Modeling the Impacts of Autonomous Vehicles on Cities

Program of Study: Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering Science, Robotics Engineering Major

 

Phil is a fourth-year student studying Engineering Science with a major in Robotics at the University of Toronto. He is the Managing Director of Global Engineering Week (GE Week), an initiative that engaged nearly 10,000 students across Canada in multidisciplinary problem-solving. As part of GE Week, he co-founded Hack the Globe, a hackathon that challenges students to innovate a tech-based social enterprise to address global issues. Phil is passionate about tackling problems at the intersection of AI/robotics and the social sciences and hopes to explore how urban issues are impacted by the rise of connected, intelligent systems.

Project Title: Policy Brief: Gig Economy

Program of Study: Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy, Global Asia Studies and Urban Public Policy & Governance

 

Judy is an undergraduate student studying Public Policy, Global Asia Studies and Urban Governance. Her research interests include comparative public policy, Pacific Asia history and politics, forced migration and political systems and theories. While studying, Judy has worked for Toronto Deputy Mayor De Baeremaeker (2015-2018) and is currently, Assistant, Special Projects to Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson. Upon graduation from the University of Toronto in June 2020, Judy hopes to pursue a masters and PhD in comparative public policy. As part of the 2018 Jackman Humanities Institute Scholars in Residence Program, Judy worked with a team of multi-disciplinary researchers on the history of settlement relocation and social engineering in ancient China and how such settlement patterns serve political needs. She has also conducted solo research on the history of Transportation in Scarborough with the Scarborough Archives and Historical Society. Judy has represented her university at the 2019 Global Vision Trade Mission to China, World Model United Nations conference in Panama City (2018) and Harvard University’s National Model United Nations conferences in 2016, 2017 and 2018

Project Title: Carceral Geography: Reimagining the Experience of Incarceration in Ontario Using Human-Centered Design Innovation 

Program of Study: Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies, Sociology and Writing & Rhetoric

 

After pursuing professional and academic interests at the intersection of law, social work and public policy, Yusra's interests in correctional policies, procedures and programming led her to the field of carceral geography. She is interested in critically evaluating spaces of incarceration and detention in order to strategically, efficiently and equitably support reintegration outcomes for offenders. With experience in counselling detainees, facilitating psychoeducational services, and developing learning materials for inmates, Yusra has developed an extensive background working with populations in conflict with the law, and is interested in leading and developing policy research on detention centers and prisons in Ontario.

Project Title: The Future for Retail in Cities: Co-Retailing May Be the Way to Go?

Program of Study: Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health

 

Tzu Chen is a fourth-year student studying environmental health in the School of the Environment. Sustainable development has always been a topic that interests them. Studying environmental health has helped them realize that the environment we live in is a complex and multidisciplinary one. Moreover, when talking about sustainability, we usually talk about greener future (environment), economic growth (economic) and health condition (social). With topics such as Google Smart City becoming more apparent, Tzu Chen realized that we took so much for granted living in the city. More and more stores are struggling to survive because of high rents. It was then when Tzu Chen realized that when we talk about the three pillars of sustainability, we underestimated the importance of culture in social. If all we see is the big-name brands on the streets, this city will lose all its characters. Tzu Chen does not see this as a future we are all looking forward to. 

Sydney Narciso Wilson

Project Title: Catcalling is Not a Micro-Aggression:

Exploring Women's Experience of Space in Toronto

 

Program of Study: Bachelor of Arts in History, Human
Geography, and Peace, Conflict & Justice

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.

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. 

Project Title: Toronto Mapped: Layered History, Living History

Program of Study: Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Sexual Diversity Studies

 

Ze Xi “Jessica” Ye is a third year undergraduate student majoring in History with minors in Anthropology and Sexual Diversity Studies at Trinity College, University of Toronto. Her research interests include archival accessibility, examining power structures through an intersectional lens, and telling the stories of the marginalized. Toronto fascinates her as a transnational city with a complex identity and a history that continues to impact its present. She hopes to alleviate the informational barrier between people and the places they live, to create a context for their experiences. Diverse, inclusive cities do not pop up overnight and she believes understanding the process to achieving this goal is just as important as getting there.

 

Graduate Fellows

Janelle Brady

Project Title: Action Research Through Black

Mothering Perspectives: A Community Activist

Project for Change-making

 

Program of Study: PhD in Education (OISE)

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.

James Gibb

Project Title: Queering Food insecurity: Measurement

and Assessment of Food Security among Gender and

Sexual Minorities living in Toronto

 

Program of Study: Master of Science in Evolutionary Anthropology

James K Gibb is a Master’s of Science candidate in Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Toronto. His MSc research examines the factors contributing to sexual orientation disparities in adult male height and health using a longitudinal data on child growth. Prior to his graduate studies, he received his B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Waterloo. His research focused on the ways social stigma and discrimination influence non-communicable disease risk among persons of minority sexual orientations and gender identities.

Ryan Khurana

Project Title: Public Management of Urban Data

 

Program of Study: Master of Management Analytics (Rotman)

Ryan Khurana is a Management Analytics candidate at the Rotman School of Management. He has a background in technology policy working on issues including automation, data governance, and platform regulation. He holds a BA from the University of Manchester in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. His two passions in life are films and watches.

Lloyd McArton

Project Title: Uncovering Barriers to Living

Musically in Toronto

 

Program of Study: PhD in Music Education (Faculty of Music)

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.

Garrett Morgan

Project Title: Back to the Future: Reconnecting

Public Health, Urban Planning, and Architecture

 

Program of Study: PhD in Geography and Planning

Garrett is an urban planner and sustainable development consultant with professional experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors in Canada and the United States. A PhD student in Planning, his research broadly explores community resilience, sustainable transitions, global health, and climate governance. At UofT, he is a member of two collaborative specializations: Global Health at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Environment & Health at the School of the Environment. He is also a Junior Fellow at Massey College. In addition to serving as a teaching assistant in the Department of Geography and Planning and John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, Garrett currently works as a Research Assistant on a CIHR-funded Healthy and Resilient Cities research project as well as at the Sustainable Built Environments Performance Assessment (SBEPA) network. 
 
He holds a Masters of Science in Planning (MScPl) from the University of Toronto, a Masters of Science in Urban Regeneration (MSc) from the University of Edinburgh, and a Bachelors of Arts in History from Vanderbilt University. Additionally he is a registered LEED Green Associate and WELL Accredited Professional. 
 
Outside of academia, Garrett enjoys travelling with his wife who is an art historian spending lazy weekends with their two cats: Hogan and Gertrude.

Soukayna Remmal

Project Title: Sustainable Urbanization Policies

in Africa

 

Program of Study: Master in Global Affairs (Munk School
of Global Affairs)

Soukayna Remmal is currently pursuing a dual degree Masters in Public Policy and Global Affairs (MPP/MGA) at SciencesPo Paris and the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. Prior to that, she graduated with a B.A in International Relations and a minor in African Studies from Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane-Morocco. In pursuit of her degrees, she completed internships at a think tank, an embassy, and an international humanitarian organization. Her areas of interest are policy, advocacy, African urbanization, and international cooperation in the Global South.

Daniel Tse

Project Title: Place Identity: Urban Water

in the Anthropocene

 

Program of Study: Master of Cities Engineering
and Management (Faculty of Engineering)

Daniel Tse is a civil engineer and master’s candidate in Cities Engineering and Management. Passionate about cities and infrastructure, he hopes to impact the sustainability and resilience of global urbanization. Daniel completed his bachelor’s degree at UBC and worked in land development consulting in Calgary for 5 years before moving to Toronto. In his spare time, he enjoys the storytelling of podcasts, the context and subjectivity of art, and the intercultural and self-discovery opportunities of solo travel. He has interests in queerness, equity, and urban and global affairs. He has a hobby Instagram account @tuesday.in.toronto.

Project Title: Urban Disaster Risk in Latin America

Program of Study: Master of Global Affairs (Munk School)

 

Michelle Verbeek is a current Master of Global Affairs student at the Munk School, specializing in innovation policy. During her undergraduate studies in Human Geography at McMaster University, Michelle developed an interest for working with urban issues while developing a policy research project assessing the impact of high-rise dwellings on Toronto’s critical infrastructure. During her studies at Munk, Michelle has had the opportunity to work with the Reach Project in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she worked on social innovation interventions, and studied infrastructure deficiencies in irregular settlements. Currently, Michelle is working at the Urban Policy Lab where she is conducting research on local municipality’s capacities for digital governance. Michelle looks forward to utilizing her professional and academic experiences post-graduation while working in the field of urban development, intensification, and resilience. 

Ivee Wang

Project Title: Fountainhead

 

Program of Study: Master of Architecture (Daniels)

Ivee Yiyao Wang is an aspiring architect who sees the impact of architecture on global environmental issues and strives to improve it through innovative design solutions. Having pursued architecture for seven years, Ivee worked internationally on projects of various scales and programs. Through this experience she observed a growing awareness of sustainability in architecture. But there remains a disconnection between technological development and architectural design, especially in "everyday" architecture that serves commercial and residential programs. Sustainable design needs to be widely accessible and desirable by the public in order to be impactful. She hopes to dedicate her thesis research on this topic, and collaborate with the outstanding faculty of U of T engineering department to design prototypes of innovative and elegant sustainable architecture. 

Mischa Young

Project Title: Revisiting Toronto’s Vehicle-for-Hire

Bylaw: What Issues to Consider?

 

Program of Study: PhD in Geography and Planning

Mischa Young is a 4th year PhD student in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto, where he is part of the Spatial Analysis and Urban Systems Lab. Prior to commencing his doctoral studies, he completed a Master’s degree in Urban Studies at the University of Quebec in Montreal and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics at McGill University. Mischa’s research focuses on urban economics, the sharing economy, and the future of personal mobility. He is especially interested in the ways in which transportation policies can be used to modulate travel behaviours. Lately, his research has focused on ride-hailing services within the context of Toronto and has examined whether this mode behaves as a substitute or complement to transit. He has also identified the market segments that benefits from this new transportation service, and more importantly, those who are excluded from it. Mischa is also an avid cyclist and urban tree enthusiast. 

Project Title: Rethinking Public Health

Program of Study: Master of Public Health: Health Promotion (Dalla Lana School of Public Health)   |   Master of Public Health: Social and Behavioural Health Sciences (Dalla Lana School of Public Health)

 

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.

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.

 

2019 Fellows 

Undergraduate Fellows

Project Title: Urbanization and Climate Resilience in Nairobi

Project Presentation:PDF iconMohamed Ali (2019). Urbanization and Climate Resilience in Nairobi. A research presentation. Toronto: CA. School of Cities, University of Toronto.

Mohamed Ali
Mohamed Ali
Mohamed Ali
Mohamed Ali, Marieme Lo, and others
Mohamed Ali and Marieme Lo

 

Program of Study: Physical and Environmental Geography and African Studies

Mohamed Ali is a 4th year undergraduate student at Victoria College with double majors in Physical and Environmental Geography and African Studies, with a minor in Political Science. His research interests include urban issues, their intersections with climate and energy science and policy, and inequality in the African context. He has been the Social Equity Committee Chair of the City of Edmonton Youth Council and Community Outreach Coordinator for the Somali Canadian Cultural Society of Edmonton. Outside of school, his interests include creative writing, involving himself in community work, and enjoying his summers back home in Edmonton, Alberta.

Project Title: Toronto to Vauban

Freiburg is a small city in south-west Germany, within Freiburg lies a niche neighbourhood called Vauban, that is one of the worlds top models of a sustainable city. Vauban was built in the 1990s off of former french military barracks and was reinvented into a dense but green living space, with a high quality of life that inhabits more than 5,500 people and provides more than 600 jobs. The project Toronto to Vauban was to create a podcast, highlighting all the different features of what makes the city so sustainable talking about, mobility/green transportation, solar energy, water retention and waste management strategies as well as equity and community in vauban.    

Project Presentation: PDF iconSavannah Bein (2019). Toronto to Vauban. A research presentation. Toronto: CA. School of Cities, University of Toronto.

Savannah Bein
Savannah Bein and Marieme Lo

 

Program of Study: Environmental Studies, German and French

An undergraduate student majoring in Environmental Studies with two minors in both French and German, Savannah has a keen interest in sustainability topics and urban settings. She is originally from Toronto, Ontario but has spent the summer doing an internship in Freiburg, Germany. In Freiburg, you would find Vauban, a small neighbourhood in which you could find one of the worlds top models for a sustainable city, in which she has focused her School of Cties research on.

Project Title: Breaking Up with Bad Activism

This project is centered around identifying, discussing, and improving activism habits. In each episode I will discuss certain topics with Indigenous and Non-Indigenous colleagues. The first episode concerns land acknowledgements, myself, Sonam Chokey, and Jessica Sherk problematize current utilizations of land acknowledgments, and discuss ways we might improve them. This project is meant to help organizations and people working towards reconciliation better understand reconciliation as an active resistance towards settler-colonialism. 

Julia Giraudi
Julia Giraudi and Marieme Lo
Julia Giraudi
Julia Giraudi

 

Program of Study: Indigenous Studies, Diaspora & Transnational Studies and Women & Gender Studies

Julia Louise Giraudi is a fourth year student at the University of Toronto obtaining a bachelor's degree in Women and Gender studies, Diasporic and Transnationalism studies, and Indigenous studies. She is a female-identifying Filipinx-Canadian. Her research interests include, Filipinx identity creation, varying methods of activism, and Indigenous and Non-Indigenous relationships. 

Project Title: Developing a Community of Practice at the Intersection of Urban Communities and Machine Learning

Program of Study: Engineering Physics

Andrew Kidd is a fourth-year student at the University of Toronto, studying Engineering Physics with a minor in Economics. Andrew is the Engineering Orientation Chair, coordinating orientation programming for almost 1000 incoming students, and the President of the You’re Next Career Network, the largest professional development organization at the University of Toronto. Andrew has worked at Ontario's Ministry of Health to develop digital health policy and has consulted for leading global organizations at both ZS Associates and McKinsey & Company, focusing on data and analytics strategy. Andrew will be joining McKinsey & Company as a Business Analyst in fall 2019.

Project Title: Re-thinking Urban Parks in Toronto: How Can We Make Them Better

Program of Study: Human Biology and Animal Physiology

Hodan is a fourth year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto. With a passion for health and health promotion, she values the importance of having a sustainable and equitable city. A sustainable city is a city that is going to improve the health and wellbeing of all its citizens and be a place where individuals feel like they belong. She currently works for Health and Wellness at UofT trying to improve the community on campus to become more inclusive and represent the voices that aren’t heard. She hopes she can do the same for the city of Toronto through the School of Cities.

Project Title: RENEWAL: History built the city. Can it build the future, too?

Global cities today face a confluence of forces. Urbanization and growth are leading to gridlock. Water and waste systems are approaching capacity. Sprawl is consuming valuable green space. Climate change and pollution threaten the health of urban residents. Technology is re-orienting how people relate to their city. The future is shaping how cities are changing. But every city's built form is the consequence of its past - infrastructure developed the city of today. Can it do more for the city of tomorrow?

RENEWAL, by Rushay Naik, is exploring how cities around the world are taking on the challenge of aging and under-utilized infrastructure, and adapting the old to support the new.

Rushay Naik
School of Cities Fellow Rushay Naik
Rushay Naik

 

Sample initiatives investigated in RENEWAL include:
- Atlanta's BeltLine project, converting old railway corridors to new transit and green spaces – as industry departs from this corridor, the new mobility options and spaces will pivot neighbourhoods toward the corridor, and stitch them together in an effort to reduce sprawl and sustainably intensify along development nodes.
- LinkNYC, turning New York's phone booths into high-tech public space – as fixed communication links become obsolete, converting old payphone booths into public WiFi hotspots animates underutilized spaces and mobilizes city services in the digital sphere.
- London's decommissioned Battersea Power Station, unlocking new development and affordable housing – as coal and non-renewable power sources fall along the wayside, Battersea is reimagining the river and nearby transport links for their urban qualities, to support the housing needs of a rapidly-growing, services-based economy.

With over a dozen projects explored, RENEWAL develops unique insights into global cities as they physically transition for a changing world. Following the publishing of the RENEWAL Global Report, the project will turn home towards Toronto, with a photography installation to challenge narratives on the infrastructure crisis, and present opportunities for a more resilient city.

 

Project Presentation: PDF iconRushay Naik (2019). RENEWAL: Adapting Global Urban Infrastructure for the City of Tomorrow. Toronto: CA. School of Cities, University of Toronto.

 

Program of Study: Human Biology: Global Health and Peace, Conflict & Justice

Rushay is an undergraduate student double-majoring in Human Biology - Global Health and Peace, Conflict & Justice at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. Recently named a Global Scholar by the University of Toronto, Rushay is leading research projects centred on addressing global challenges through interests in health, politics, and technology. As a project researcher with the Munk School's Reach Project on inclusive development, Rushay is completing an investigation a World Bank solar electrification project for rural nomadic herders in Mongolia. In addition to his School of Cities fellowship on revitalizing aging urban infrastructures, he is currently developing an independent thesis, contextualizing Geneva as the "infrastructure" of international peacemaking amid the changing nature of global armed conflict. Previously, he was a 2018-2019 International Fellow of the Center for the Study of the Presidency & the Congress in Washington, D.C., evaluating legislative pathways to American universal healthcare. 

Project Title: Pads Wise Project

Pads Wise is a community-based organization that formed out of the pressing need to help girls stay in school during their menstruation days. Period poverty affects 30-40% of girls in Kenya who miss school due to lack of access to sanitary towels (Huru international). The girls missing school are at risk of falling behind in class work, and their out of school increases their vulnerability to sexual exploitation and adult poverty in future especially if they drop out of school. Pads Wise Project aims to produce affordable sanitary towels at a price ceiling of Ksh.32 ($0.32 USD) for a packet of 8 pads. First, we want to set up a sanitary towels production unit operated by women. The women will manufacture the pads from scratch, to make a commercial quality products that can compete with superior brands in the market.  The produced pads will be further supplied to women self-groups at production cost, who can sell them at a small margin, to earn extra income. 

 

Project Presentation: PDF iconAntony Ndugi (2019). Pads Wise Project. A project presentation. Toronto: CA. School of Cities, University of Toronto

Antony Ndugi and Marieme Lo
Antony Ndugi
Antony Ndugi and Marieme Lo
Antony Ndugi
Antony Ndugi

 

Program of Study: Industrial and Business Engineering

Antony's deep interest for social innovation has been his drive since 6 years ago, when he started the “Human Waste Bioreactor” project in Kenya. This interest solidified and inspired his choice of Industrial Engineering undergraduate program "to develop efficient, low cost and human-centered designs" to solve local problems. Antony's main focus on urbanization is African urbanization, uplifting the urban poor through support to education. His Pads Project for school girls in Mathare Slums of Nairobi, Kenya is part of his social engagement and contribution to education.

Heeho RyuProject Title: Toronto Past, Today, Tomorrow: Re-remembering Settler-Colonialism in Canada

The City of Toronto owns and operates 10 Historic Museums throughout the Metropolitan Toronto Area. The "Toronto Past, Today, Tomorrow" project examines how these tourist sites construct an idealized version of Toronto's history and identity through the processes of selection and exclusion, and thus how such tourist sites reflect the existing sociopolitical power dynamics of settler-colonialism in Canada. Furthermore, this project refers to works from Indigenous scholarship in order to discuss how the act of remembering is an active process that reflects the values and beliefs of our present institutions, and finally how the way we remember Canada's past affects our present and future identities as urban residents in Canada.

Project Presentation: PDF iconHeeho Ryu (2019). Toronto Past, Today, Tomorrow: Re-remembering Settler-colonialism in Toronto and Canada. A project presentation. Toronto: CA. School of Cities, University of Toronto.

 

Program of Study: Urban Studies, Political Science and Anthropology

A recent graduate from the Faculty of Arts & Science, Heeho received an Honours Bachelor of Arts with Double Majors in Political Science and Urban Studies and a Minor in Anthropology. During their time at UofT Heeho was the President of the Anthropology Course Union, a Student Assistant for the Faculty Registrar's Office, a Work-Study Assistant at the Centre for Indigenous Studies, a Mentor and Volunteer at Caffiends, and a Research Fellow at the School of Cities. Currently they are working full-time in order to gain professional experience before enrolling in a Master's program. Heeho's research interests focus on how marginalized groups practice human agency within unequal structural settings for their physical and symbolic survival, resistance, and reclamation. Their other topics of interest include equity, social justice, urban policy, environmental conservation, indigenous activism, diaspora studies, and online-virtual spaces.

Project Title: Creating Equitable and Inclusive ‘Smart’ Communities: A Cross-Jurisdiction Analysis and Evaluation of North American and European Case Studies

On-going empirical research, stay tuned for more!

 

Program of Study: Urban Studies and Political Science

Keisha is an undergraduate student specializing in Urban Studies and majoring in Political Science at the University of Toronto, St. George Campus. She is currently the Co-President of the Urban Studies Student Union (URSSU) and a research assistant at Social Planning Toronto. Working to create a more equitable Toronto through inclusive city-building and place-making practices, Keisha was previously the Director of Stakeholder Engagement and Housing Lead for the Toronto Youth Cabinet (TYC). On behalf of Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs, she recently had the privilege of travelling to European and North American cities as a Sidewalk Toronto Fellow and has previous work experience in the Ontario Cabinet’s Executive Council Office.

Project Title: Building Inclusive Cities – A Suburban Perspective

 

Research Project: PDF iconHazelmae Valenzuela (2019). Building Inclusive Cities – A Suburban Perspective. A research report. Toronto: CA. School of Cities, University of Toronto.

On-going empirical research, stay tuned for more!

Program of Study: Public Policy and City Studies (UTSC)

Hazelmae is a city builder passionate about community building and engagement, using human-centered design for social change. Currently, she is in her final year of undergraduate studies in Public Policy and City Studies studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough and focuses on building accessible cities for everyone in terms of design+accessibility, diversity and participation. Hazelmae proudly calls Scarborough her home, and connects her work back to the community as a co-founder of Innovate Youth Scarborough an upcoming youth hub focused on the re-envisioning of Scarborough through community building and collaborative placemaking. In the past, she has worked with CivicSpark engaging youth across Ontario through case competitions discussing pressing urban issues in GTHA such as transportation, housing and environmental sustainability, in addition to different capacities within the Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care, Elections Ontario, and the City of Toronto. Hazelmae is driven by her passion for building a more inclusive city that engages diverse communities and voices.

 

Graduate Fellows

School of Cities Fellow Lamia AganagicProject Title: Ogimaakwe – Facilitating Mindfulness and Fostering Leadership for Indigenous Women

Program of Study: Master's student, Public Policy

 As a current Master’s of Public Policy Candidate at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and a Bachelor of Kinesiology graduate from the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, Lamia is a passionate, experienced and knowledgeable student leader within the community of scholars and leaders at the University of Toronto. Her primary policy interest pertains to Indigenous relations at the intersection of urban policy and social policy. Through her fellowship at the School of Cities, Lamia will be examining urban Indigeneity and the health outcomes of Indigenous women represented within Toronto’s homeless population. At the core of the project Lamia is proposing entitled Ogimaakwe, prominent female leaders in the field of Indigenous health will incorporate traditional Indigenous knowledge to enable Indigenous women to engage with physical activity, personal development and mindfulness programming.

Project Title: Guidelines for an Equitable Approach to Smart City Transformation

In  the  context  of rapid urbanization, major cities worladwide are bracing for the next generation of technologies that promise to make them more livable, workable and sustainable.  Yet, the benefits and costs of these technologies, such as artificial intelligence and 5G networks, may not be distributed fairly or equitably. This project consists of a review of best practices and models employed in leading smart cities across the globe, providing insights for inclusive design and equitable policy frameworks for Toronto in its own smarty city transformation. Ultimately, an equitable framework is rooted in the best possible alignment between public and private sector incentives.

Project Presentation: PDF iconRamz Aziz (2019). Guidelines for an Equitable Approach to Smart City Transformation. Toronto: CA. School of cities, University of Toronto.

Ramz Aziz and Marieme Lo
Ramz Aziz
Ramz Aziz
Ramz Aziz
Ramz Aziz

 

Program of Study: JD/MBA student, Law and Business Administration

A passionately curious Pakistani-Canadian, Ramz Aziz is a fourth-year JD/MBA student leader at the University of Toronto dedicated to building more inclusive and prosperous communities. He enjoys tackling societal issues – namely, poverty alleviation, housing insecurity, and healthcare - through an interdisciplinary lens. As an organizer, Ramz has led rights-based advocacy campaigns with numerous non-profits to address chronic homelessness. As a researcher for the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario and the International Human Rights Clinic, he has examined the effectiveness of policy interventions on access to justice for low-income tenants, and protections for migrant workers in Canada. Through the Creative Destruction Lab, Ramz is exploring how technology can help build more equitable cities. In his spare time, he indulges in foreign films and hiking with his partner and two young children. 

Project Title: Mashkiki gitigaanan omaa akiing: Indigenous Medicine(s) in the City

Mashkiki gitigaanan supported Indigenous community members at the University of Toronto, and more broadly across the city, to develop knowledge and skills around planting, growing, harvesting, and using traditional medicines from an Anishinaabe perspective. 

Rebecca Beaulne-Stuebing
Rebecca Beaulne-Stuebing
Rebecca Beaulne-Stuebing and Marieme Lo
Rebecca Beaulne-Stuebing and Marieme Lo
Rebecca Beaulne-Stuebing and Marieme Lo

 

Program of Study: PhD student, Social Justice Education; collaborative specialization in Indigenous Health

Rebecca Beaulne-Stuebing (Naawakwegiizhigookwe) is a Red River Metis Anishinaabekwe of the bald eagle clan and 1st Degree Midewiwin in the Three Fires Midewiwin lodge. Rebecca currently teaches at Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, Algoma and York universities, and is pursuing a PhD in Social Justice Education and Indigenous Health at the University of Toronto.

Project Title: The Wastebelt: Incorporating Energy Production and Waste Management into Toronto

Wherever there is development, there is waste. In order to deal with the energy production and waste management requirements of neighbourhoods in Toronto, this project explores the possibility of incorporating sustainable methods of energy production and waste management into the fabric of Toronto in attempts to address the declining presence of industry in Toronto's shifting employment maps. 

Jennifer Chau Tran
Jennifer Chau Tran

 

Program of Study: Master's student, Landscape Architecture

Jennifer Chau Tran is a Master of Landscape Architecture student at the John H. Daniels Faculty, having completed her undergraduate degree in Art History and Earth Science at the University of Toronto. She is interested in using design to create restorative and ecologically resilient landscapes in urban settings. She is excited to apply her interdisciplinary background to landscape design. 

Project Title: Scarborough Studies Collective Zine Making Series

The Scarborough Studies Collective will be hosting a series of workshops, which will be open to the public. The purpose of the series is to have the community self-publish a body of Scarborough-centred narratives, which will be launched at a zine fest and compiled into a zine library that will be exhibited across the UTSC campus and Scarborough community.

Niyosha Keyzad and Marieme Lo
Niyosha Keyzad
Niyosha Keyzad and Marieme Lo

 

Project Presentation: PDF iconNiyosha Keyzad (2019). Scarborough Studies Collective. A research presentation. Toronto: CA. School of Cities, University of Toronto.

The purpose of the series is to have the community self-publish a body of Scarborough-centred narratives, which will be launched at a zine fest and compiled into a traveling library that can be exhibited across the UTSC community.

 

Program of Study: PhD student, English and Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies 

Niyosha is a current PhD Candidate at the Department of English and the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies. Her doctoral work focuses on memoirs of the Iranian diaspora, literatures of exile and displacement, and theories of space and identity. She has previously served as the Founding President of the Race and Ethnicity Caucus of the University of Toronto Graduate Students' Union, and Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee at Massey College, where she is a Junior Fellow. Niyosha currently teaches at the Department of English at the University of Toronto Scarborough. To learn more visit, www.scarboroughstudies.com.

Project Title: Red Embers: Power through Art

Red Embers transformed Allan Gardens in downtown Toronto. For the first time in the city's history, monumental art by Indigenous womxn artists was displayed for free to the public. The banners were created in Toronto and across Canada by commissioned artists and floated from 13 tall charred-black gates throughout the park. Two of the banners faced the Victorian-era glass Palm House, while the others straddled the major pathways of the park, allowing visitors to admire them from all directions and walk below them. Vanessa's work focused on the process of implementing this exhibit and why this project has been considered so successful in a time where implementing Indigenous art in the City of Toronto is deeply challenging. 

Project Presentation: PDF iconVanessa Kiley (2019). Red Embers: Power through Art. A research project. Toronto: CA. School of Cities, University of Toronto.

Vanessa Kiley
Vanessa Kiley

 

Program of Study: Master's student, Planning

Vanessa is in her second year of the Masters of Sciences in Planning Program at the University of Toronto. Growing up in a small town on Vancouver Island that is also home to British Columbia's largest Band, she was surrounded by Indigenous art and there was a distinct sense of what the area was like pre colonialism. After moving to Toronto, she quickly noticed the lack of Indigenous placemaking and art in our City. Partnering with Red Embers, a team of Indigenous artists, Vanessa has been researching and writing about why we need more Indigenous public art and how to make that process work within the City of Toronto. She is very appreciative of the School of Cities for funding her research and whole-heartedly supporting her work.

Project Title: Urban Climate Resilience in Southeast Asia Partnership (UCRSEA)

Urbanization in Southeast Asia is a transformative process driven by regionalization, economic development and post-conflict social transformation. This unique process of urbanization creates complex vulnerabilities for many urban residents, especially the urban poor. This rapid and unplanned growth of cities intersects with climate change to produce challenges that urban governments and civil society are ill-prepared to face. While research is helping us to better understand these changes and their consequences, there remains a gap between the development of knowledge and its use for policy. Some researchers have begun to engage policymakers in knowledge co-production, in search of evidence that is more useful for policy decisions. However, even where there is political will, policymakers often lack the capacity to respond to this knowledge, and researchers often do not have the skills, time, or resources to support policymakers' learning. This project worked with researchers in the Urban Climate Resilience in Southeast Asia Partnership to address this gap. Drawing on UCRSEA partners' research findings, and their assessment of their policy stakeholders' knowledge needs, we have developed a series of empirically-informed curriculum modules on urban climate change resilience for the researchers to use in their engagement with policy and civil society stakeholders. The modules "along with a training guide and webinar" are being made available as an open-access resource that can be adapted to different users' needs. 

 

Project Presentation: PDF iconJoanna Kocsis and Rebecca McMillan (2019). Bridging the Knowledge to Policy Gap. A research presentation. Toronto: CA. School of Cities, University of Toronto.

Joanna Kocsis
Rebecca McMillan
Joanna Kocsis and Marieme Lo
Joanna Kocsis and Rebecca McMillan
Joanna Kocsis

 

Program of Study: Joanna- PhD student, Planning; Rebecca - PhD student, Human Geography

Joanna Kocsis is a participatory research methods specialist and PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. Her research has inquired into the nternational development project from many angles, ranging from the learning practices of large international grantmakers, to the role of affect in the lived experiences of marginalized urban youth. Generally, her work focuses on helping to empower members of vulnerable communities through ransformative, participatory research, by offering opportunities for reflection, capacity development and social learning. Kocsis worked at the International Development Research Centre in 2012 and 2014 and as the Evaluation Specialist for the UCRSEA Partnership since 2014.

A PhD Candidate in Geography, Rebecca is interested in urban governance in the global South, particularly in contexts of political economic and environmental change. Her graduate research has examined citizen participation in urban water management in informal settlements in Caracas, Venezuela. Rebecca is a research assistant with the Urban Climate Resilience in Southeast Asia Partnership and has taught Urbanization and Development at UTSC. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies and an MA in International Development and has professional experience at the intersection of environment and development. Her Academic honours include the Canada Graduate Scholarship and the IDRC Doctoral Award.

Project Title: Evaluating and Redefining the Health of the Canadian Health Care System in a Changing World: How Youth can Help Build Sustainable and Healthy Communities in Canada

Linxi Mytkolli
Linxi Mytkolli
Linxi Mytkolli

 

Program of Study: Master's student, Sustainability Management (UTM)

Linxi is a daughter, sister, best friend, Albanian-Canadian, student, and above all, a complex, unapologetic and proud woman. She is currently pursuing a MSc. Sustainability Management, focusing on applying the learnings from this degree to the field of healthcare. She believes that sustainability is the capacity to endure over time and healthcare is the field that aims to maintain and improve health. Her passion for equality and change has led her to work with uOttawa, the University of Toronto, the United Way, SickKids Hospital, and the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care. Linxi hopes to keep learning about how to better use her voice and platform to ensure that we work towards a future that is inclusive, representative and empathetic. 

Project Title: Circular Toronto

My project is focused on promoting the concept of a Circular Economy in Toronto. More specifically creating a platform (circulartoronto.com) for enabling collaboration between community members involved in this socio-economic movement and introducing the movement to the general public. The circular economy as defined by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has three main principles: Designing out waste and pollution; keeping products and materials in use; and regenerating natural systems. 

Adrien Roy
Adrien Roy
Adrien Roy

 

Program of Study: MASc in Civil Engineering

Adrien is currently working towards an M.A.Sc. degree in Civil Engineering, with a research focus on sustainable infrastructure and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions in the construction sector. His interests in infrastructure and urban studies go far beyond technical engineering aspects, hence his involvement with the School of Cities. He is fascinated with urban systems and governance, particularly with regards to how we can continue to make cities more sustainable and equitable for all those who reside in them. 

Project Title: Challenging the Status Quo through Productive "Disruption"

Program of Study: Master's student, Urban Planning

Igor is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Urban Planning at the University of Toronto after completing his B.A. focusing on Urban Studies/Geography at the University of Toronto, through Trinity College. He has worked on many successful events, conferences, and special projects leveraging his experience with accessibility and his skills with people. He is a Junior Fellow Massey College, a Rotman Citylab Fellow, Past-Chair of the Canadian Conference on Student Leadership and Past Governor on Governing Council. 

Igor currently works with the City of Toronto Transportation Services - Autonomous Vehicles as a consultant and volunteers on the Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT) for the TTC, Student for Barrier Free Access (Vice-Chair) and sits on the Faculty of Arts and Science Council (Vice-Chair). He currently represents Graduate Students, focusing on removing financial barriers to education, improving mental health supports on campus, and prioritizing the needs of disabled students. 

School of Cities Fellow Jessika TremblayProject Title: Toronto Smart City: A Future in the Present

 

Project Report: PDF iconJessika Temblay and Frans Ari Prasetyo (2019) The Harbour City that Never Was… and the Smart City that May (Never) Become. A research report. Toronto: CA. School of Cities, University of Toronto.

 

 

Program of Study: PhD candidate, Anthropology

Jessika is a PhD candidate in socio-cultural anthropology at the University of Toronto, where she is completing her dissertation about a “cyber village” in urban Indonesia. She is the cofounder of the Urban Ethnography Lab, an international and interdisciplinary collaboration between the U of T, Humboldt University and Harvard. Jessika is the coordinator of the Ethnography Lab, where she manages events and projects about ethnographic methods in academic and non-academic settings. Her research interests are urban and digital anthropology, development, and the anthropology of Java, focusing on how urban dwellers encounter and use digital technologies to improve their lives.