School of Cities Urban Leadership Fellowship and Academy Virtual Research Festival 


Highlights from the 2020 School of Cities Urban Leadership Fellowship and Academy Virtual Research Festival! 

A weekly webinar series showcasing the School of Cities fellows and academy members’ engaged research, virtual simulations, social impact and creative projects.
Student fellows and academy members presented original and interdisciplinary research projects and the impact they have made through their research, social interventions and practice in this Virtual Research Festival, 9 webinar series, from September 24, 2020 to October 30, 2020. Free and open to all.
The School of Cities Urban Leadership Fellowship and Academy is a tri-campus interdisciplinary academic platform to foster student academic and civic engagement and leadership in city-building and urban scholarship. The Fellowship program and The Academy, structured around thematic working groups on critical urban challenges based on students' interest and research focus, provide an opportunity for ethical research, compelling conversations and interventions on critical urban challenges and issues, and in different fora of civic and social engagement. Our students are current U of T students with strong interest in and passion for cities and urban critical challenges, who have led an innovative and impactful project in 2019/2020.
Convener: Prof. Marieme Lo, Associate Director, Education,


Webinar Series Poster




Thursday, September 24
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Details
Presentation Title

Virtual Research Conference Session 1 thumbnail

Sydney Narciso Wilson

Between These Walls: How has the collapsed spatiality of COVID-19 created a new and gendered experience of 'Home’

Minh-Anh (Mia) Nguyen 
Global Urbanism 
The Labour Dilemma in China’s Digital Industrialisation 
Tzu Chen Wang
Solutions to the Small Business Affordability Crisis?


Thursday, September 24, 2020
2:30pm – 4:00pm

Session Details
Presentation Title

Virtual Research Conference Session 2 thumbnail

Philip Lu

Simulating Autonomous Vehicle Fleets in Toronto

Hikmat Jamal
Sustainable Cities 

City & Crumpets

Naziha Nasrin 
Global Urbanism

Women's Everyday Struggles for Water Access in Dhaka


Friday, September 25, 2020
11:00am – 12:30pm

Session Details
Presentation Title

Virtual Research Conference Session 3 thumbnail

Mischa Young
The True Cost of Sharing: a Detour Penalty Analysis Between UberPool and UberX Trips in Toronto
Judy Perpose

Rebuilding Toronto's Gig Economy: Reimagining Social Policy for Vulnerable Workers and Precarious Work

Lubna AlliThomas Elias Siddall, Victoria McCutcheon, Brittany Livingston, Ali Sajid
Cities of Inequality, Urban Solidarities, and Community Activism
Cities of Inequality Logo
Cities Unmasked: A University of Toronto School of Cities Podcast



Friday, September 25, 2020
2:30pm – 4:00pm

Session Details
Presentation Title


Ryan Khurana
Toronto’s Smart City Future Post-Sidewalk Labs
Atif Khan
Global Urbanism 
Surveillance Cities
James K Gibb
Sexual and Gender Minority Health Vulnerabilities during the COVID-19 Health Crisis
Lloyd McArton

From the Outside In: Conversations with GTA Indie Musicians


Thursday, October 8, 2020
2:30pm – 4:00pm

Session Details
Presentation Title

Virtual Research Conference Session 5 thumbnail

Ivee Yiyao Wang
Alternative Concrete
Qin Wang
Global Urbanism 
Understanding Urban Informality Through Urban Food Systems and Water in Lima
Garrett T. Morgan
Get with the Post-Pandemic Program: De-siloing Graduate Education in Planning, Public Health, and Architecture in Response to COVID-19
Catherine Lu
Creative Cities: Cultural Growth in Complex Adaptive Cities 
A Multiplicity of Stories 
Conroy T. Gomes 
Creative Activism: The Role of Art in Oppression and the City


Friday, October 16, 2020
2:30pm – 4:00pm

Special guest:

Professor Shauna Brail,
Associate Professor
Institute for Management & Innovation, University of Toronto

Session Details
Presentation Title

Virtual Research Conference Session 6 thumbnail

Michael Cameron McCulloch
Beyond Bike Lanes: Cycling Exclusive Infrastructure for Safer, More Sustainable Cities
Martha CabaeroArina DmitrenkoRahemeen Ahmed, Aurora Bolianatz and Elisabetta Campagnola
Infrastructure and Design / Design, Technology and Urbanism
Accessing Toronto Logo
Accessing Toronto in Shutdown: a Comparison between Two Neighbourhoods
Ze Xi (Jessica) Ye
Sim George: Toronto From Home
Christine Balt 
Creative Cities: Cultural Growth in Complex Adaptive Cities
The Alternative Maps Project: How Artists Can Help Us Imagine Livelier and Greener Toronto After COVID-19


Friday, October 23, 2020
11:00am – 12:30pm

Session Details
Presentation Title

Virtual Research Conference Session 7 thumbnail

Daniel Tse
Place Identity: Urban Water and the Anthropocene 
Jigme Lhamo Tsering
Compassion & Empathy: Contributing to a Community of Care using Tibetan Buddhist Philosophies 
Kandeel Imran
The Impact of COVID-19 on Immigrant-owned food businesses in Toronto's suburbs
Semilore Ajayi

Missing Links: The effects of homelessness and unemployment on Youth in Nigeria

Rushay Naik 

Geneva: The “Infrastructure” of Peace? Contextualizing Urban and Political Geographies of Global Peacemaking in the City of Diplomacy


Friday, October 23, 2020
2:30pm – 4:00pm

Special Guest:

Tapfuma Musewe 
Global Executive MBA, PMP, MA 
Founder & CEO, Eschaton Solutions Ltd

Session Details
Presentation Title

Virtual Research Conference Session 8 thumbnail

Ntombi Nkiwane & Sophia Zekiros
Privatization of diagnostic laboratories in Kenya and South Africa and COVID-19 testing capacity
Michelle Verbeek 
Urban Disaster Risk & the Covid-19 Pandemic
Janelle Brady
Black Mother's Community Research Project on the Schooling and Education Experiences for Black students 
Amira Babeiti
Global Sustainable Foods: Farmers Market


Friday, October 30, 2020
1:30pm – 2:10pm


Join us to mark and reflect on World Cities Day! 

Join our students and virtual community in a collective visioning exercise, “My City- My Story: One City, One Word” event. The aim of this naming and visioning exercise is to bring together diverse communities,  reflect on the symbolism of the day, share stories, and identify  a critical urban challenge, concern or excitement about one city that you are passionate about. Free and open to all and all languages.

World Cities Day 2020


With guest Artists

Denardo Hepburn, Storyteller and spoken word artist
Marieme Diop, singer/songwriter

Friday, October 30, 2020
2:15pm – 4:00pm

Session Details
Presentation Title

Session 9 of virtual research festival will be held from 2:30 to 4:00pm on Oct 30.

Adam El-Masri

Cup Collective TO

Soukayna Remmal
Sustainable Urbanization in Africa: Challenges and Policy Options 
Evelyn Ascencio and Conroy Gomes 
Urban Indigeneity/ Indigenous and Racialized Communities

Community Organizing: Leading through Change 

Closing and Virtual School of Cities Recognition Award!


With performances from special guest artists!


Marieme Diop  – Los Angeles based singer and songwriter

Marieme is a dynamic, innovative, buzzed about singer/songwriter with a presence at once as glamorous as she is brutally honest in her music. With music focused on themes of Self Love, Revolution, and Empowerment, this Senegalese-American songstress is making a name for herself with her signature sound featured on film and television and most recently as the voice of LinkedIn’s international campaign.

Listen to Marieme on SpotifyApple Music or YouTube

Follow Marieme on Instagram & Facebook



Denardo Hepburn is a spoken word artist and activistDenardo Hepburn - Storyteller and spoken word artist original spoken words performance

Denardo Hepburn is a curious storyteller who explores the cross-sections of culture, humanity, expression, and art. He writes and performs poetry and prose celebrating blackness and Caribbean life; edits everything from books to essays to press releases; acts in stage plays with television and film aspirations; enjoys public speaking; produces; and is presently creating his debut podcast, which underscores the Bahamian diaspora in Canada and their successes, tribulations, and reasons for emigration. As a diasporic Bahamian in Toronto, Hepburn preserves The Bahamas’ culture through storytelling. His poetry mainly explores the juxtapositions of existence, blackness, Caribbean-ness, and modern-day life. In his quest to find his calling, he has served as a Foreign Service Officer, a Priority Manager, an Editor-in-Chief, and a Research Assistant, all while amassing provocative stories.