Taking Flight: The Role of Airports in Thriving City Regions

When and Where

Wednesday, March 10, 2021 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm


Jean-Paul Addie
Lloyd A. McCoomb (Panelist)
Pamela Blais (Panelist)
Josh Neubauer (Panelist)
Matti Siemiatycki (Moderator)


Pearson International Airport is an indispensable hub for mobility, goods movement, and employment in the Greater Toronto Area. COVID-19 has significantly affected airports around the world, however, and it remains unclear how quickly they will recover once the crisis is over.

What role do airports play in ensuring thriving and prosperous city regions? How will that change following the COVID-19 crisis? How can governments at all levels work together to make sure airports are embedded into their regions while continuing to succeed as economic hubs?

On March 10, Jean-Paul Addie, Assistant Professor at Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, will examine what we can learn from other city-regions on these questions. A group of local experts will then join him for a panel discussion on the implications of his findings for Pearson and the region.




photo: Jean-Paul Addie

Jean-Paul Addie is an Assistant Professor in the Urban Studies Institute at Georgia State University. He is an urban geographer working on issues of urban and regional governance with a focus on the politics of infrastructure. Questions of city-regionalism are at the heart of Jean-Paul’s research. He has investigated the politics and practices of city-region formation through the geography of higher education, the experiences of infrastructural regionalism, and the multi-scalar dynamics of urban transportation – including the development of ‘aero-regions’.





photo: Lloyd McCoomb

Lloyd A. McCoomb was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) from 2007 until 2012. Prior to that, he served as Vice President, Airport Planning and Development, in which capacity he was responsible for the planning and construction of the GTAA’s four billion-dollar facility restoration and expansion program. He most recently has served as Chair of the Board of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority and is currently the Chair of the Advisory Panel of the University of Toronto Transportation Research Institute.



photo: Pamela Blais

Pamela Blais is an urban planner and Principal of Metropole Consultants, a Toronto-based planning practice. In her twenty-plus-year career as an urban planning consultant, her work has included reurbanization strategies; long-term regional growth planning; municipal economic development strategies; innovative land-use policies; and urban regeneration strategies. She recently completed Planning the Next Greater Golden Horseshoe, a report that explains a shifting economic landscape in the Toronto region and its implications for planning.



photo: Josh Neubauer

Josh Neubauer is a Principal at Urban Strategies. Josh plays a key role in Urban Strategies’ airport planning practice. Josh has helped develop the vision for a new transit hub at Pearson airport, evaluated the pros and cons of expanding passenger volumes at Billy Bishop Airport, articulated the need for regional air planning with the Southern Ontario Airport Network, and reviewed the regional and local benefits of a new airport in the east GTA.




Prof. Matti Siemiatycki

Matti Siemiatycki is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, Canada Research Chair in Infrastructure Planning and Finance, and Interim Director of the School of Cities at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on large-scale infrastructure projects, public-private partnerships, and the effective integration of infrastructure into the fabric of cities. He has undertaken studies on major cities in Canada and around the world including Vancouver, London, Los Angeles, Sydney, Bilbao, and Delhi.