Appointment of the School of Cities’ Senior Leadership Team (PDAD&C #116)

From: Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President & Provost
David Cameron, Dean, Faculty of Arts & Science
Date: June 29, 2018
Re: Appointment of the School of Cities’ Senior Leadership Team (PDAD&C #116)

The School of Cities aims to be a world-leading centre for innovative, multidisciplinary urban research, education, and engagement. The School will convene urban-focused researchers, educators, students, practitioners, institutions, and the general public to explore and address the complex challenges facing the world’s urban areas. It has the goal of making cities and urban regions more sustainable, prosperous, inclusive, and just. The School will harness the breadth of urban-related expertise on offer at the University, facilitating cross-disciplinary collaboration locally and globally.

We are pleased to announce the School of Cities’ inaugural senior leadership team:

Professor Matti Siemiatycki, Interim Director
Professor Shauna Brail, Associate Director, Partnerships and Outreach
Professor Mark Fox, Associate Director, Research
Professor Marieme Lo, Associate Director, Education


University Professor Richard Florida, Distinguished Scholar in Residence

All appointments are effective July 1, 2018, for a duration of one year with the possibility of renewal. In addition to this leadership team, the School will host a roster of academic Ambassadors, who will be announced in the coming weeks.

The School’s leadership team exemplifies the University’s strengths in the areas of research, education and partnerships, and is uniquely equipped to propel the mission of the School forward.

Professor Matti Siemiatycki is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography & Planning, and Canada Research Chair in Infrastructure Planning and Finance. His research focuses on delivering large-scale infrastructure projects, public-private partnerships, and the effective integration of infrastructure into the fabric of cities. Professor Siemiatycki was a faculty leader of StudentMoveTO, a joint initiative between the University of Toronto, York, Ryerson, and OCADU that successfully developed a model for inter-university research collaboration and mobilization on city-building issues. Professor Siemiatycki is a highly engaged public scholar with a deep commitment to informing public discourse about city building. He regularly provides advice to governments, civic institutions, and industry, and is a frequent commentator in the media and public realm on urban issues, with a honed ability to communicate with various audiences.

Professor Shauna Brail is Director and Associate Professor, Teaching Stream in the Urban Studies Program, and a Senior Associate in the Innovation Policy Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. Prior to joining the University, she worked in management consulting and as a senior policy advisor to the Ontario provincial government. As an economic geographer, Professor Brail’s research focuses on the transformation of cities as a result of economic, social, and cultural change. She is a champion of experiential learning, and has led the development of academic internships and community engaged learning in the Urban Studies Program for over a decade, working with students, university administrators, and partners at urban-focused institutions across the city. From 2015-18, Professor Brail was the Presidential Advisor on Urban Engagement, and worked both within and outside of the University to develop partnerships and support initiatives which enhanced the University’s strategic priority of leveraging its location(s).

Professor Mark Fox is Distinguished Professor of Urban Systems Engineering and Professor of Industrial Engineering and Computer Science. He is also the Director of the Centre for Social Services Engineering and the U of T Enterprise Integration Laboratory. His current research applies artificial intelligence to smart cities, and he has developed ontologies for the representation of city information and knowledge which are being adopted by cities around the world. Professor Fox has led numerous collaborations within academia and with industry and government partners, and is currently leading the Connaught-funded Urban Genome Project, a multidisciplinary initiative focused on understanding urban growth. In addition to his academic work, Professor Fox has extensive experience in the private sector. In 1984 he co-founded Carnegie Group Inc., one of the first companies to apply artificial intelligence to solving engineering, manufacturing, and telecommunications problems. He is a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and the Engineering Institute of Canada.

Professor Marieme Lo is the Director of the African Studies Program and Associate Professor in Women and Gender Studies. Professor Lo’s work encompasses the political economy and creative dynamism of African urban informal economies, female entrepreneurship, economic justice, and rights to livelihood, with a focus on the dynamics of urban transformation, governance, resilience, and the conditions of the “urban poor,” particularly in post-colonial cities. Her SSHRC funded research project, Entrepreneurial Nomadism, explores and maps women entrepreneurs’ transnational circuits and trade mobility in cities across three continents. Professor Lo is also engaged in collaboration with grassroots women’s organizations, civil society networks such as the West Africa Civil Society, and international organizations such as UN-Women, the World Food Programme, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Professor Richard Florida is University Professor and Director of Cities at the Martin Prosperity Institute. He is the author of several global best sellers, including The Rise of the Creative Class and most recently, The New Urban Crisis. He serves as senior editor for The Atlantic where he co-founded CityLab.

We are delighted to welcome this outstanding team to lead the School through its inaugural year.