Urban Governance, Law and Policies

Picture of Bryan Yau.

Bryan Yau

Program of Study: Master's of Business Administration and Doctor of Law

Project Title: Revisiting the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy 2020: Lessons for Toronto and the GTA

As a second-year candidate in the joint JD/MBA program and Scarborough resident, Bryan is passionate about understanding broader changes within the city. Along with his siblings, as the firsts in his family to receive a post-secondary education, he is interested in studying the role that neighbourhoods and institutions have in facilitating socio-economic mobility or perpetuating inequalities. Bryan has previously worked in community development, financial services, and public policy. A common thread in all of his work is a specific emphasis on understanding the interactions between governments and people and the impacts of public policy on broader society.


Picture of Hongyu Xiao.

Hongyu Xiao

Program of Study: Master's of Public Policy

Project Title: Evidence-based Transit Policy: the "Death" of Politics

Hongyu is a Masters of Public Policy at the Munk School, with an interest in zoning, land-use planning, and transit development. He is passionate about helping cities grow as a way to reduce inequality and combat climate change. Hongyu obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Law at the National University of Singapore and worked in private litigation for 3 years before moving to Toronto. In his first year at the Munk School, Hongyu won the Urban Policy Lab Case Competition with a presentation on zoning reform as a way to encourage density. He enjoys boardgames, scuba diving, and hiking trails.



Picture of Mircea Gherghina.

Mircea Gherghina

Program of Study: PhD in Sociology

Project Title:  Accelerating Inequality: Neighbourhoods, Jobs, and Urban Economic Development in New York City

Mircea is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology. His research is focused on issues at the intersection of inequality, the economy, and cities. His most recent project (with Fedor Dokshin) looks at how wealth inequality within and between neighbourhoods affects the adoption of solar panels. Prior to moving to Canada to pursue a doctorate, Mircea worked for the European Central Bank and completed a MSc in Social Science Research Methods with distinction at the University of Bristol.


Picture of Jeanne Lee.

Jeanne Lee

Program of Study: Master's of Public Policy

Project Title:  Reimagining Urban Governance: Inclusive Urban Planning and Participatory Co-creation Through Civic Tech

Jeanne Lee is a Master of Public Policy (MPP) candidate at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, and previously did her undergraduate studies in Ethics, Society, and Law at the University of Toronto. Among other things, Jeanne is currently leading a team of policy analysts on regulatory innovation and disruptive technologies at the Policy Innovation Initiative, and is assisting with govtech research at the Open Democracy Project. In January, she is set to conduct public-facing research on citizen engagement in local municipalities on the joint Urban Policy Lab and Samara Centre for Democracy’s Canadian Municipal Barometer project.


Picture of Sophia DiNicolo.

Sophia DiNicolo

Program of Study: Bachelor's of Science in Health Studies and Equity Studies

Project Title:  Youth-Led Civic Engagement Campaigns: A Study of the Toronto Youth Cabinet

Sophia DiNicolo is pursuing an Honours Bachelor of Arts at the University of Toronto, specializing in Health Studies and minoring in Equity Studies. Sophia is passionate about addressing the social determinants of health using an equity lens. She is the Co-Chair of Hart House Social Justice Committee, and Co-Editor in Chief of the Health Perspectives Undergraduate Academic Journal. Additionally, she is a leader within her community at Trinity College, working to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all. Sophia also leads the Urban Health Working Group at the Toronto Youth Cabinet, where she advocates for healthy public policy.



Picture of Andi Alhakim.

Andi Alhakim

Program of Study: Bachelor's of Arts in Political Science

Project Title:  The Disappearing Face of Compassion: Legacy of Jakarta’s Forced Evictions Policy on Urban Riverbank Slums

Andi Darell Alhakim is a third-year undergraduate specializing in Political Science. A Lester B. Pearson Scholar, Andi’s passions in social equity and environmental justice have brought him to current posts as co-directors for the Hart House Debates & Dialogue Committee and the University of Toronto Environmental Action, and has been invited to speak as panelist and facilitator at official University events. His experiences working for the Indonesian Foreign Ministry’s SDGs Directorate and President Gertler’s Advisory Committee on the Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainability inform his advocacy for community and institutional action. Recently, Andi co-founded the Berlayar Project which mentors, networks, and develops the soft-skills of college-bound students living outside urban centres in his native Indonesia.