Knowledge Café

Overhead view of a cup of coffee with the text Knowledge Cafe


The Knowledge Café at the School of Cities is a monthly speaking opportunity for the tri-campus community of UofT faculty and researchers to present analysis and highlights of their research on a theme that is important and relevant to cities. 

The inaugural themes for the 2021-22 academic year will be climate, justice and belonging in cities.

The Knowledge Café provides a platform for faculty as well as students and researchers who are working to uncover solutions to creating more just, equitable, sustainable and prosperous cities.


With the Knowledge Café, the School of Cities aims to bring the research led by a diverse group of urban-focused academics and researchers to a discursive platform to inspire multidisciplinary conversations around urban themes, paying special attention to the themes of climate, justice and belonging in cities.


Who's Invited?

All are welcome. Register below. If you are interested in speaking at the Knowledge Café, contact us at 


  • 60 minutes - 25-minute presentation, 25-minute Q&A/Discussion, 10-minute opening and closing remarks
  • Presentations will be recorded and live-streamed on the School of Cites YouTube channel. 

Upcoming conversations:

Fall 2021


Jill Carter's headshot and name on the side of a mug with the date December 8
Jill Carter

Assistant Professor,
Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies Faculty of Arts and Science

Written in the Land: Do You Know Where You are Standing?

“Written in the Land” offers a brief overview of several exercises in somatic archeology and land-based dramaturgy through which buried histories might be unearthed and seemingly neutral plots of terra nullius might be represenced as sites of violence wherein the destructive power that was exerted continues to reverberate through Indigenous blood, bone and memory today. Within this work, the researcher’s body becomes a site of re-encounter, as place re-engages with an unearthed story to initiate a call and to activate response from within that body.


If we cannot read the land upon which we stand, we cannot know where we are standing. We cannot story that land. We cannot respond to its call. If we do not know where we are standing, what then are we acKNOWledging?

Winter 2022

Prentizz Dantzler's headshot on the side of a white coffe mug along with the date January 12, 2022
Dr. Prentiss Dantzler

Assistant Professor

Social Housing: Lessons from the United States and Canada


Karen Smith's headshot and the date January 26, 2022 on the side of a coffee mug
Karen Smith
Assistant Professor, Department of Physical and Environmental Science, UTSC




Fadi's headshot and name, and the date February 9, 2022 on the side of white mug
Fadi Masoud
Assistant Professor,
John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture Landscape and Design


Towers in the Park: A Prospect for Equitable Resilience

Towers in the Park: A Prospective for Equitable Resilience looks at the untapped potential of the "parks" in "Towers in the Park". Many of these tower neighbourhoods were built between 1950-80's based on universal modernist principles of site planning and building layout. One of their most critical ambitions was the provision of ample open space as developments responded to surrounding natural areas such as ravines, creeks, and networks of green open space. Read more...

Past conversations:


Karen's headshot and date of event on the side of a coffee mug
Karen Chapple

Director, School of Cities and Professor, Department of Geography and Planning



The Unintended Consequences of Climate Change Mitigation

Local and national governments are channeling significant funding into mitigating climate change in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These investments -- on urban greening, infill development, transit, and active transportation -- may cause land values and housing costs to rise, thereby displacing low-income residents. Yet, researchers continue to disagree about the extent and nature of this displacement. In this talk, I explore these questions through the lens of a decade of research on the displacement impacts of California climate change mitigation portfolio. Our mixed methods approach reveals that climate change mitigation has unintended – but small – consequences in terms of household mobility. I conclude by proposing tools to empower local communities to keep residents in place.





Danijela's headshot and date of her event on the side of a coffee mug
Danijela Puric-Mladenovic

Assistant Professor,
John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture Landscape and Design



Natural Climate Solutions for Canada

Natural climate solutions (NCS) or nature-based solutions are cost-effective actions aimed at managing, restoring, and creating forests and other natural carbon-storing and sequestration conditions to mitigate climate change. However, NCS for urban and peri-urban areas are much broader than carbon storage and involve using vegetation either in the form of an urban forest, green areas, residential gardens, street trees, green belts around cities, green walls, green roofs, woodlands, hedgerows, and other available space to mitigate climate change and its effects, as well as improve the urban environment, ecological functions, human health, and biodiversity. Read more...






Urban Climate Justice: Rights and resilience in Southeast Asia will be led by Joanna Kocsis, pictured here against a leafy backdrop

Joanna Kocsis (she/her)PhD Candidate,
Department of Geography and Planning



Urban Climate Justice: Rights and resilience in Southeast Asia

This presentation will connect theoretical developments around rights and resilience in the field urban climate justice to practice by grounding the literature’s key arguments in the experiences of five-year project based in Southeast Asian cities. The project consisted of a network of researchers working closely with civil society stakeholders to understand and influence urban climate resilience. It will explore how researchers can better support transformative resilience that advances rights and justice, by understanding researchers’ knowledge production and mobilization efforts as an active part of the transformation process. Bringing together epistemological and methodological insights from political ecology and action research, it will discuss three practice-oriented concepts that can support research for transformative resilience.




Marianne Touchie's headshot on the side of a mug, with the date November 24
Marianne Touchie

Assistant Professor, Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering

The Power of Tower Retrofits: Exploring concurrent improvements to inhabitant experience and energy efficiency

There are thousands of post-war residential towers in and around the City of Toronto and many other metropolitan regions around the world. Despite their material- and space-efficiency, these towers are similar in energy-intensity to detached homes and also face a slew of occupant comfort and wellbeing challenges. I’ll begin by describing the numerous performance issues which plague this building type, including transmission of airborne contaminants (e.g., aerosols containing COVID-19, cannabis and tobacco smoke), thermal, acoustic and visual discomfort, uneven heating and ventilation, summertime overheating, and limited controllability for occupants. Then, we’ll explore some of the current research related to improving occupant comfort and control through innovative retrofit approaches also intended to reduce energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions. Current projects examining the impacts of building retrofits on inhabitants and community wellbeing will also be shared.