Sustainable Cities

Picture of Clarence Qian.

Clarence Qian

Program of Study: Master's of Business Administration

Project Title: Affordable and Sustainable Living: Accelerating the Adoption of Mass Timber In Multi-Family Residential Development

As a current MBA Candidate at Rotman School of Management and a Master of Architecture graduate of the University of Waterloo, Clarence is an aspiring, passionate, and experienced architect and city builder with eight years of experience designing, leading and managing award-winning projects in the residential and mixed-use sectors. His passion lies in driving social and economic growth through real estate development. Through his fellowship at the School of Cities, Clarence will be examining the financial, architectural design, and construction challenges of mass timber in the multi-family residential and mixed-use development in Ontario. At the core of the project, Clarence is proposing a feasible mass timber finance - design - build approach to catalyze a sustainable and affordable real estate industry.


Picture of Marco Rico Thirion.

Marco Antonio Rico Thirion

Program of Study: Master's of Civil Engineering

Project Title: Future Infrastructure & Built Environment Planning: Towards adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals via Progress Tracking

Marco is a current Master Graduate Candidate in the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering. His desire towards the design and planning of Sustainable, Resilient and Smart Communities has grown thank you to developing 10 years of consulting experience as a Project Engineer, BIM Designer, and Project Manager in multi-discipline joint venture projects for both the Built Environment and Infrastructure industries in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. His passion resides in developing new practices, methodologies and frameworks using principles of Circular Economy, Biomimicry design and Digital Twin technologies, towards a more sustainable and resiliency planning for current and future communities.


Picture of Menilek Beyene.

Menilek Beyene

Program of Study: PhD in Physical and Environmental Sciences

Project Title: Archiving of Toronto's Urban Agricultural Stories, Practices, and Cultures Through Discussions and Knowledge Sharing

Menilek Beyene is an Environmental Sciences PhD student inspired to explore agroecology and forest systems in urban communities and natural environments. Menilek co-ordinated the New Frontiers’ Seminar Series from 2018 - 2020 and is currently the president of the Graduate Students’ Association at Scarborough. He completed his MSc. in ecology and evolutionary biology and was a research technician for BioForest Technologies Inc. As a first-generation Ethiopian in Canada, his concern with environmental injustice and food insecurity drives his efforts to deconstruct systemic barriers to land and food access. Menilek challenges dominant narratives through knowledge sharing, community engagement, and leadership.


Picture of Annie Yuan.

Annie (Yachen) Yuan

Program of Study: Master's of Human Geography

Project Title: Exploring Students' Knowledge and Socio-Environmental Values of Green Infrastructure at the University of Toronto

Annie is a second-year MA Geography student at the University of Toronto Mississauga, and her academic interests involve human-environmental relationships, sustainable urban development, and green infrastructure planning. Annie graduated from the Urban Forestry Program at UBC, with a Minor in Landscape and Recreation Planning. Her current thesis focuses on examining urban residents’ knowledge and attitude toward living green infrastructure. Annie’s research will contribute to identifying barriers and opportunities to green infrastructure planning and development in the residential landscape and explore socio-environmental relationships at the ground level.


Picture of Ahmed Hanif.

Ahmed Hanif

Program of Study: Bachelor's of Science in Biology and Chemistry

Project Title: Novel Molecular Mechanisms in Tree Resistance to Urban Stresses

Ahmed Hanif is a 4+ year Biology and psychology major student at the university of Toronto Mississauga. Beyond academic work, Ahmed has devoted his time to research and community development projects focused on enhancing environmental sustainability. Over the last summer Ahmed worked with the Center of Urban Environment in Toronto to study the effect of road salt and compaction in the resistance of city trees to yield critical information applicable to urban forest health. After conducting this study and exploring a breadth of scientific literature, Ahmed composed an environmentally-driven paper that is currently under review in the Evolution: Education and Outreach Journal. At present, Ahmed is an active member in the non-profit organization RAG with a dedicated mission to advocate for minimization of carbon footprints. Ahmed was recently recognized by the University of Toronto and awarded 1 of 2 CUE undergraduate research awards based on academic excellence and research experience in urban issues.


Picture of Catherine Economopou.

Catherine Economopoulos

Program of Study: Bachelor's of Arts in Architectural Studies

Project Title: Building on Tradition: Bringing Age-Old Indigenous Practices to the Modern City for a Cleaner, Greener Future

Growing up in Chicago as the daughter of Greek immigrants, Catherine Economopoulos was introduced to contrasting lifestyles that instilled a passion for progress and an endless fascination with people in her from a very young age. She was inspired to pursue solo travel, and at eighteen left home to move to Toronto for university. As a current first-year studying architecture, but heavily involved with sustainability and interested in multidisciplinary work, Catherine hopes to explore the structures in place in modern Toronto and how they can be developed further, in order to create a better future, and a social harmony for all the people and cultures that have influenced her in the past. This human diversity, and the belief that one person can effect change, continue to captivate and motivate her today.


Picture of Aaliyah Mulla.

Aaliyah Mulla

Program of Study: Bachelor's of Science in Neuroscience, Psychology and Environment & Behaviour

Project Title: Fruitful Cities: Enriching our Parks, Building Community, and Connecting with the Land

Aaliyah studies Neuroscience, Psychology, and Environment and Behaviour. Driven by a passion to explore the world around her, she always seeks new ways to connect her diverse interests. Aaliyah is a research assistant at Water Allies, a U of T group dedicated to building allyships for water advocacy. There, she learns about colonialism, Indigenous rights and sovereignty. This summer, she volunteered at a community food bank created to address the growing need for food relief during COVID-19. She also tutors students in her community. Aaliyah is passionate about using her skills to help others, and believes the most innovative ideas arise out of collaborations across disciplines.


Picture of Alexander Bimm.

Alexander Bimm

Program of Study: Bachelor's of Arts in Urban Studies and Sociology

Project Title: Running Urbanism: Mapping Toronto’s Runnability

Alexander (AJ) Bimm is an undergraduate student double majoring in Urban Studies and Sociology. As an avid runner, with a passion for studying cities, AJ enjoys using running as way to explore different neighbourhoods in Toronto. AJ’s current research looks at the ways in which land-use planning can be leveraged to create more livable, sustainable and equitable communities. He has written for Spacing Magazine, exploring urban running and other forms of active transportation. He is also a runner for the Varsity Blues Track and Field Team. Outside of running, AJ is also dedicated to promoting racial equity, diversity and inclusion in his work. Most recently, he helped co-found the BIPOC Varsity Association at U of T, a group committed to creating and growing a community of support and improving the experience of student-athletes that are Black, Indigenous and other Persons of Colour.