This year’s Curtner Urban Leadership Program will focus on EDI in a planning, land use and development context. Working in teams, participants will lead monthly sessions focused on identifying challenges and examining solutions. Using input from these sessions as well as their own experiences and research, they will then identify and develop those inclusive actions that can leverage diversity to achieve equity.
Kick Off: Virtual Happy Hour
The virtual program kicked off on Wednesday November 25th from 4:30pm – 6pm. Kevin Stolarick, the Dean of this year’s program gave everyone a brief overview of this year’s program. Participants then broke into smaller groups in order to meet one another, ULI staff and Steering committee members.
Session 1: December 11th, 2020
Systemic Racism and Exclusion in Planning and Development
Program Co-Design Session
The session initiated a discussion about systemic racism and exclusion in planning and development focused on the challenges, the issues and the impacts. The group undertook a co-design session where they collectively determined the focus and priorities and example projects, regions, or neighbourhoods for the program’s monthly sessions.
Cheryll Case, Founder and Principal Urban Planner, CP Planning & Assistant Policy Planner, City of Brampton
Robert Walter-Joseph, Planner, Gladki Planning Associates
Session 2: January 29, 2021
The Now: Decolonizing Planning & Systemic Racism
Mary Rowe, President & CEO, The Canadian Urban Institute
Cheryll Case, Founder & Principal Urban Planner, CP Planning
Nabeel Rahman, Community Development Specialist, Town of Oakville
Ahmed Al Haddad, Electrical Engineer
Elaha Safi, Policy Planning Intern, Halton Region
Rui Zhou, Designer, Civil Engineering, MTE Consultants
Shalaka Jadhav, Youth Climate Lab, Ottawa, Design & Community Manager
Sivahami Vijenthira, Community Relations, Metrolinx
Trystan Anderson, Business Development, Bothwell Accurate Co. Inc.
Session 3: February 26, 2021
The Future We Want and (Need)
This session was about our aspirations for equity, diversity and inclusion: what future do we want for ourselves, our communities, and our industry? We dug into different ways that we can shape this future; heard from an amazing panel of speakers who are working in the GTHA to create a better future for our city; and share and explore together how we might realize these aspirations.
Abigail Moriah, The Black Planning Project
Tura Cousins Wilson, SOCA
Sabina Ali, Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee
Chiyi Tam, Friends of Chinatown
Ahmed Ahmed, Youth Development Coordinator, Rexdale Community Health Centre
Cate Flanagan, Associate, urbanMetrics
Harrison Thomas, Senior Design Technologist, City of Toronto
Jennifer Johnson, Senior Associate, Wordsearch Place
Lillian Dsouza, Strategic Initiatives, Policy & Analysis, City Planning Division, Toronto City of Toronto
Sonali Praharaj, Urban Designer, DTAH
Témo Cruz, Prefabrication & Modular Coordinator, ED Modular Inc.
Session 4: March 26
Policies & Procedures
The Session (4) was about “what’s wrong” with policies and procedures in urban development. We opened with a fireside chat about dignity in the built environment, present a brief history of planning, complement two case studies (Nibinamik First Nation, Jane and Finch) with a panel discussion, before passing the session to Team 5. The intersection of EDI, urban development and policies and procedures is a complex space. We hope that we sparked ideas and conversations that you may continue with your loved ones, colleagues and broader network.
Chidinma Azubuike, Urban Planner, WSP
Dr. Shelagh Mccartney, City Lab, Ryerson University
Imara Rolston, Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit, City of Toronto and University of Toronto, Dalla Lana School of Health
Anna Cipriano, Customer Care Professional, Great Gulf
Daniel J. Tse, Masters Student and Teaching Assistant (Engineering), University of Toronto
Darrin Rankine, Associate, Development, Dream Unlimited
Kaari Kitawi, Urban Designer, City of Toronto
Kevin Somra, Coordinator, Development, First Gulf Corporation
Marem Kushotva, Design Lead, BDP Quadrangle
Mutiat Bello, Manager, Transit Oriented Development, Infrastructure Ontario + Metrolinx
Session 5: April 23
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion: Who Has to do What?
In this session, we reflected upon what kinds of power various stakeholders like the land developer, elected officials, community leaders, urban planners, or local businesses have (or should have) in creating a just and equitable city. Who isn’t at the table? Which stakeholders or sectors in the planning system suffer from power imbalances? What can one do leverage their power to best serve the community needs and uphold their responsibilities towards the most vulnerable population of our city?
In the beginning part of the session, we hosted a panel conversation with experts on the Regent Park revitalization process and discussed how the city, tenants, private sector and community partners worked together to showcase a transformational approach to city building.
For the latter part of this session we hosted a workshop with the CULP cohort exploring and deconstructing the concept of power. The purpose of the workshop was to leverage our cohort’s diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives to reflect on the perceived power dynamics in planning and offer recommendations on what the system should look like, how power can be shifted or reallocated, and how various industry stakeholders may make use of the power they have as it relates to EDI in planning.
Heela Omarkhail, VP, Social Impact, Daniels Corporation
Kyle Knoeck, Zoning Manager, East Section, City of Toronto
Joyce Ho, Toronto Community, Housing Corporation (TCHC)
Ismail Afrah, Resident Leader, Regent Park
Recommended Regent Park Readings
Power Survey Results
Hilary Black, Planner, Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing
Hailey Quiquero, Structural Designer, Entuitive Consulting Engineers
Christian Jattan, Planner, Dillon Consulting
Kumsa Baker, Campaigns Director, TCBN
Paul Nichols, Intermediate Planner, Toronto Lands Corp.
Simone Hodgson, Senior Project Manager, Bousfields Inc.
Surbhi Kamboj, Urban Designer, B+H Architects
Session 6: May 25
Tools and Community Engagement
Community engagement is a core part of the planning process. In this session, we explored what makes an ideal engagement process from a DEI perspective and the different issues and factors that one should consider when building an engagement process that aims to be as accessible and inclusive as possible.
The session tackled the idea of meaningful community engagement and strategies and tools that can enable it. We reflected on the objectives and the set of values that underpin tactics for community engagement. Through two case studies (HOME: Burnaby’s Housing and Homelessness Strategy and the Lower East Side Action Plan – Detroit), we examined factors to achieve relationship-oriented community engagement practices that are context sensitive, safe, transparent and accountable for all. We also analyzed the case studies to understand their effectiveness, scalability and replicability.
Cheryll Case, Founder, CP Planning
Rosemarie Powell, Executive Director, Toronto Community Benefits Network
Zahra Ebrahim, Co-founder, Monumental Projects
Abdullah Diab, Design Technologist (Urban Design), City of Toronto
Dapo Olajide, Associate, Development Analytics, Northcrest Developments
Ernestine Aying, Community Design Coordinator, Jane and Finch Centre
Howard Tam, Founder, ThinkFresh Group/ Dragon Centre Stories/ Eat More Scarborough Food Tours
Jannat Nain, Urban Planner, Urban Strategies Inc.
Ori Abara, Project Manager, ERA Architects Inc.
Final Session: June 17
The program participants energized by the past six months have focused on the challenges and opportunities of increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion across real estate development industry practices and within the associated organizations. They convened this invitation-only event to discuss the aha moments from their sessions and conduct a workshop to discuss the way forward. The workshop focused on specific programs and ideas and enabling enduring change.