Current Work: Professor, Geography & Planning, University of Toronto
I moved to Vancouver in 2003 to begin my PhD at SCARP. Little did I know how much my experience at UBC would shape my future. For my PhD thesis, I studied the planning of the Canada Line rapid transit system that was taking place in Vancouver at the time. With this project, I developed a passion for transit planning and infrastructure finance that would become a core interest in my professional life. I also met my future wife at UBC!
The PhD program at SCARP served as the perfect springboard into my chosen career in academia. After graduating from UBC, I worked for two years as a research fellow in the Urban Studies department at the University of Glasgow, and then was hired into my current job as a professor of geography and planning at the University of Toronto. Over the years I have deepened my interest in infrastructure planning and carried out studies on the implications of financing and delivering mega-projects through public-private partnerships. I have also focused my teaching and research on planning for more sustainable transportation systems.
Based on my academic work, I have had a lot of opportunities to contribute to public policy debates on various aspects of planning. I have been invited to give expert testimony on infrastructure delivery to legislative committees of the United States House of Representatives, the Canadian House of Commons, and the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. I often make presentations on infrastructure planning to government, corporate and community leaders. I served on the board of directors of Waterfront Toronto, the crown agency responsible for revitalizing Toronto’s derelict eastern waterfront. And I am a regular media commentator on city building, transportation and infrastructure provision. Overall I see my scholarly work as providing an evidence base to inform urban decision-making and ultimately build more sustainable, vibrant and equitable cities.