Infrastructure and Design / Design, Technology and Urbanism


Accessing Toronto in Shutdown

The Accessing Toronto in Shutdown Project takes mobility in its various forms as the foundational principle to measure the accessibility to essential destinations in the Toronto neighbourhoods of Trinity Bellwoods and Morningside. It is a preliminary project that suggests a possible and productive research path towards the analysis of the relation between urban transport and the level of membership and integration into the city.


Learn more about their project in their Project Report:

PDF iconMartha Cabaero, Arina Dmitrenko, Rahemeen Ahmed, Aurora Bolianatz, and Elisabetta Campagnola (2020). Accessing Toronto in Shutdown: A Comparison Between Two Neighborhoods. A project report. Toronto: CA. School of Cities, University of Toronto.

Our research question is the following: to which degree is it possible for the people living, and in transit, within these two Toronto communities — Morningside and Trinity Bellwoods — to move in a way that allows for full access to essential destinations of the city? The different fields of study we are pursuing (political science, geography, philosophy, civil engineering, and anthropology) were combined in the formulation of this interdisciplinary question. This project is the result of the dialogue and the collaboration we established during the initial phase of the project.

Arina Dmitrenko

Arina Dmitrenko, (UTSG) Undergrad – Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and European Studies
Project : Assessing Ontario's Accessibility Goals: Toronto and the Gentrified Periphery

Since starting at U of T, Arina, who is now in her final year, has developed her political interests by being involved on campus and in election campaigns. Apart from her political endeavours, Arina is very involved in the Model United Nations community at U of T and is also the president of the European Studies Students’ Association on campus. Arina developed an interest in urban development & governance mid-way through her 3rd year and has since pursued academic research abroad in Tbilisi, Georgia. Her research in Tbilisi focused on urban development and the “Smart City” concept in relation to post-Soviet architecture. As part of the School of Cities Academy, Arina will be exploring a project which will be Assessing Ontario's Accessibility Goals: Toronto and the Gentrified Periphery. 

Read more about Arina's thoughts and journey in her Students in the Spotlight feature. "Students in the Spotlight" is a conversation series with members of the SofC Student Academy and Urban Leadership Fellowship program.

Aurora Bolianatz

Aurora Bolianatz, (UTSG) Undergrad – Bachelor of Arts in Human Geography, Diaspora and Transnational Studies and Linguistics
Project : Community-Led Transit Planning: Understanding the needs of Scarborough's transit through the eyes of residents

Aurora is a second-year undergraduate student whose major areas of interest are transit access and urban greenery. She is particularly interested in studying how these can be improved in Toronto. Upon completing her undergrad, she hopes to pursue a master’s in geography or planning. Outside of school, Aurora loves to walk around the city and look for beauty in what can often be a mundane built environment.  

Brendan Flowers, (UTSG) Undergrad – Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies
Project : Today's Cities of Tomorrow: An investigation of New Urbanism as a resurgence of the Garden City Movement

Brendan, currently in his third-year, plans to obtain a master's degree in architecture and pursue employment in that field. He is passionate about urban development, both globally and within the GTA and his course research generally focuses on housing, transportation and urban master planning. Brendan is excited by the opportunity to develop his own research through the School of Cities, exploring the range of historical and contemporary built forms in greater depth. He hopes to further develop his skills in urban research and present meaningful work that is relevant to current dialogues in urbanism. 

Elisabetta Campagnola

Elisabetta Campagnola, (UTM) Graduate – PhD in Anthropology
Project : Transportability, a conversation

Elisabetta is a PhD candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology with research interests that include political anthropology, the anthropology of work, and the anthropology of transport in the context of sub-Saharan Africa. Within the Academy, Elisabetta is proposing a project called “Transportability, a Conversation” that aims at understanding how students and junior scholars from the social sciences and the humanities could enter into a productive conversation with their peers in the transport engineering program. Transportability also refers to the knowledge that can move between different areas of expertise to better comprehend the way in which we move, and to further imagine the way in which we could move. 

Hillary DeWildt, (UTSG) Graduate – Master of Landscape Architecture
Project : Re-Rigging: The Future of Oil Infrastructure in Post-Carbon California

Hillary DeWildt’s research and design projects have been published and exhibited nationally; most recently for the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities exhibit. This past summer, Hillary was selected to participate in the Summer Student Program led by SWA Group in Laguna Beach, California, working with a diverse, transdisciplinary team of students to develop idea-driven visionary proposals for the City of Anaheim. Currently in her third year, Hillary is developing an independent thesis project centered on revitalizing ageing oil infrastructures in the Southern California Bight in order to support living systems, both human and environmental. 

Isobel McLean

Isobel McLean, (UTSG) Undergrad – Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies, Design Specialist
Project : “Drawing a Home”: Crowdsourcing a Vision for Urban Housing Design in Toronto

Pursuing an education in architecture and design, Isobel McLean is interested in exploring the relationships between the built environment and how it can be created to include principles of social justice and equity. Her previous work and volunteer experiences have given her the opportunity to explore design in a variety of ways, from retail to educational settings. What she has taken away from each field is the importance of considering every group, and its context, within the design process, not just those that are most obvious. Isobel hopes to continue exploring this inclusive and critical approach to design throughout the rest of her education and into her career. 

Jessica Patterson

Jessica Patterson, (UTSG) Undergrad – Bachelor of Science in Geology
Project : Rocks of Toronto

A Geology specialist and Biodiversity and Conservation Biology Major, Jessica is a passionate student eager to engage further in the mining and exploration geology industry. She is Proficient in Geographic Information Systems, R, Leapfrog, and is working on her python. She is a student-athlete with experience in backcountry camping, rock climbing, kayaking, mountaineering and classical navigation. Last summer she got her first taste of the industry while working with Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. in Nunavut as an exploration geology intern. She is also a co-founder and head organizer of a student and early career geoscientist panel called “Focusing on the Future: Industry Panel 2020”. She looks forward to advancing her career in geology and learning more about the opportunities that await her in the future. 

Martha Cabaero

Martha Cabaero, (UTM) Undergrad – Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy
Project : The Effect of Built Structures on Individual Emotional Responses and Group Interaction

Born in Manila and raised in Singapore, Martha was struck by the difference in living between the two cities. Once she graduated high school, she moved to Mississauga and was once again shocked by the difference in city culture. The stark distinctions of her lived experiences prompted her fascination with the relationship between urban design and human behaviour. Currently pursuing a double major in Political Science and Philosophy, she intends to supplement her interest in cities with a legal perspective. Her exposure to human rights law has deepened her understanding of how service provision can affect the life of the average citizen and her experience with intellectual property law has led her to consider ways in which technology may be employed to improve the civic life. On campus, Martha is the founder and president of the Filipino Student Association, which strives to increase opportunities for Filipino community engagement. 

Michael Cameron McCulloch

Michael Cameron McCulloch*, (UTSG) Undergrad – Bachelor of Applied Science in Civil Engineering
Project : Beyond Bike Lanes: Cycling-Exclusive Infrastructure for Safer, More Sustainable Cities

Michael is pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Civil & Mineral Engineering at the University of Toronto (UofT) and works on campus at the Centre for Quantitative Analysis & Modelling at the Fields Institute. Over the course of his degree, he hopes to specialize in Geological Engineering and Mining Finance before beginning a new career in mining and natural resources. Prior to his current studies, Michael earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Latin American Studies from Carleton College and a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University. He also worked for many years as an environmental policy researcher and grant manager for the World Bank in Brazil. His goal, in the future, is to merge the lessons of his past experience with his technical coursework at UofT to support the global mining industry in developing better, more sustainable business practices. 

Rahemeen Ahmed, (UTSG) Undergrad – Bachelor of Applied Science in Civil Engineering
Project : Integrating Smart Sidewalk Infrastructure to Control Stormwater to Prevent Municipal Flooding

Rahemeen is an aspiring engineer who wants to integrate design and policy to create safe, sustainable and resilient cities around the world. She has previously worked with University of Toronto Seismic Design Team, Women in Science and Engineering, Engineers Without Borders and Sustainable Engineers Association, and she is an avid MUN-er, where she has debated, discussed and developed resolutions for global socioeconomic development issues. 

Rida Khan, (UTSG) Graduate – Master of Urban Design
Project : The Inclusive City Directory

Rida is a first-generation Canadian, muslim, woman of colour, navigating the planning and urban design industry in Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto. She is deeply interested in the overlooked dynamics between city building and the racial reality of our cities. 

Samantha Pelayo Cazares, (UTSG) Graduate – Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering
Project : Sensor development for outflow measurements in green roofs at GRIT Lab - University of Toronto

Samantha Pelayo Cazares is a civil engineer who is passionate about sustainability, environmental issues, and finding potential solutions to global problems. She is always curious and eager to learn more with each opportunity. Having experienced a diversity of extraordinary and fulfilling experiences, such as living in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the United States, Samantha always brings an international perspective to her work. She is looking forward to collaborating with U of T’s researchers and students, exchanging ideas to build innovative solutions to global issues. 

Yusra Qazi*, (UTSG) Undergrad – Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies, Sociology and Writing & Rhetoric
Project : Carceral Geography: Reimagining the Experience of Incarceration in Ontario Using Human-Centered Design Innovation 

After pursuing professional and academic interests at the intersection of law, social work and public policy, Yusra's interests in correctional policies, procedures and programming led her to the field of carceral geography. She is interested in critically evaluating spaces of incarceration and detention in order to strategically, efficiently and equitably support reintegration outcomes for offenders. With experience in counselling detainees, facilitating psychoeducational services, and developing learning materials for inmates, Yusra has developed an extensive background working with populations in conflict with the law, and is interested in leading and developing policy research on detention centers and prisons in Ontario.

Zainab Wakil, (UTSG) Undergrad – Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies
Project : What is your architectural story?

Zainab Wakil is a creative, organized and enthusiastic leader who has proven herself through endeavours within volunteer based, artistic, retail, and academic environments. Her love for working with people has been cultivated through working as a Tea Guide at Davids Tea, volunteering at a women’s shelter, and working with the neighbourhood of Parkdale this past summer. Her personal hobbies include yoga, skateboarding, and painting.