Ren Thomas PhD 2011

Current Work:  Senior Associate, Ontario Growth Secretariat, Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing

I am a proud alumnus of the SCARP M.A. (2005-2007) and Ph.D. (2007-2011) programs. Since 2011, I have led several research projects including developing program evaluation frameworks for housing associations and conducting a survey and policy analysis on social enterprises in affordable housing. I recently finished a two-year research contract for the University of Amsterdam on overcoming barriers to transit-oriented development (TOD) implementation. Currently, I’m a Senior Associate at the Ontario Growth Secretariat in the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, conducting research supporting the ten-year policy review of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

 So far, I would consider my most significant accomplishment to be the success of the students I have taught in introduction to contemporary planning issues (SCARP), metropolitan transportation planning and the Masters thesis colloquium (Amsterdam). Another milestone has been compiling my first book, an edited volume of case studies in Canadian planning, which will be published by Oxford University Press in 2015.

 I have now had the pleasure of visiting planning departments in Canada, the US, and Europe. SCARP is unique: the school attracts students interested in social and environmental issues, engaged in their communities, and committed to making SCARP a great place to work and learn. The collaborative effort seen in events like the student-run Symposia is rare, as is the social and supportive environment. SCARP supported me in many ways, including an entrance scholarship and the Amacon Beasley Student Award for Excellence in Planning, and in providing a uniquely social and collaborative work environment. It is a testament to the faculty and students that such a school exists, thrives, and contributes to the discipline of planning in the Vancouver region and beyond.