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2020 Movers, Shakers and City Builders

We asked our leaders at Evergreen to share with us a few city builders that inspire them. Here are the five people and their projects you should watch for in 2020.

person jumping on a bridge overpass with traffic below

Published on January 08, 2020

By 2030, urban areas are projected to be home to 60% of the world's population. The challenges we face in the coming decade can feel enormous: climate change, inequality, affordable transit and housing are a handful of the urgent issues cities face across Canada. But challenges are also opportunities to do city building differently. It will take committed, creative and compassionate movers and shakers across all sectors to use their skills and vision to meet these challenges head-on.

We asked our leaders at Evergreen to share with us a few city builders that inspire them. Here are the five people and their projects you should watch for in 2020:

Ginger Gosnell-Myers, British Columbia

Enacting Truth and Reconciliation recommendations for urban municipal governments & academic institutions

Ginger Gosnell-Myers, a member of the Nisga’a and Kwakwaka’wakw Nations, is someone whose experience and expertise makes her a crucial asset to city building efforts, including those that are centered on reconciliation and Indigenous peoples living in urban areas. She has recently been named as the very first Indigenous fellow for the Simon Fraser University's Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. In her capacity as a 2020 Fellow, she will be focusing on decolonization and urban Indigenous planning.  Gosnell-Myers was also the first Indigenous Relations Manager for the City of Vancouver, and in that role, managed to assist the city in meaningfully incorporating 28 of the 94 recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Gosnell-Myers works tirelessly to break down barriers between Indigenous nations and all Canadians, taking true nation-to-nation reconciliation from ideas to action.

Jeff Westeinde, Ontario

At the helm of launching exciting real estate developments that are sustainable and low-carbon

Jeff Westeinde is an entrepreneur, investor and president of Zibi Canada, a 34-acre former industrial site that spans the shores of the Ottawa River. This unique site - half in Ontario, half in Quebec - is being transformed to become one of the most sustainable master-planned communities in Canada.  At a time when the private sector can generate enormous progress on addressing climate change, Weisteinde has been ahead of the curve, as for years he has devoted his business acumen and expertise towards real estate development projects that have principles of environmental and social sustainability at their core. He is a champion of the One Planet community framework, which outlines guidelines to develop real estate that respects of the limitations of 'one planet' for all. Weisteinde’s commitment to urban planning projects that utilize this principle is a stellar example of how businesses can lead the way to build the sustainable cities of our future.

Kate Thompson, Alberta

Leading an innovative Master Planned strategy to transform Calgary

Kate Thompson is the former VP and newly named president and CEO of the Calgary Municipal Land Corp (CMLC) where she is leading the CMLC in the master plan strategy for the Rivers District development to revitalize Calgary’s entertainment and culture district. As an adjunct professor at the University of Calgary since 2014, she also played a key role in building the City Building Design Lab at the University of Calgary, a multi-sectoral lab that seeks to involve community members and students in conversations around city building. In all avenues of her work (both teaching and architecture) Thompson seeks to strengthen urban spaces to create dynamic cities. At the helm of the ongoing revitalization of Calgary’s Rivers District, Thompson is bridging optimism and practicality to build a community-focused district that will generate the kinds of spaces and places people will enjoy for years to come.

Leslie Kern, New Brunswick

Paving the way for cities to substantively incorporate inclusive, intersectional feminist values on all levels of planning

Dr. Leslie Kern is a feminist urban geographer who is an associate professor of geography and environment and a director of gender studies at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. Author of her recently published the book Feminist City: A Field Guide (Between the Lines, 2019), she explores the question of: how do urban spaces uphold power? Feminist City is her push for all of us to critically think about how the 'city' and the built environment impacts gendered social relations and experiences, particularly when most of the decision making power lays with men. Cities as they are at present can be sites of exclusion, and Dr. Kern urges us to put safety, accessibility and an intersectional approach to gender at the core of business, development, urban planning and municipal policies.

Nasma Ahmed, Ontario

Championing a new era of digital rights and justice for marginalized youth

Nasma Ahmed is the Director of the Digital Justice Lab, a non-profit organization in Toronto whose mission is to build a more just and equitable future. As director, she focuses on how privacy rights and justice change within the digital ecosystem that permeates our lives. These issues are especially relevant for youth, who may not feel they have a strong right to public spaces in the physical world, but participate actively within digital public space. Ahmed raises the question of how having access to a huge digital landscape from a very young age informs how they interact with the public realm, and what it means that they are subject to surveillance the entire time. The rise in digital surveillance also has implications for Black, Indigenous and people of colour activists and those working in community spaces online. Through her leadership at The Digital Justice Lab, Ahmed aims to engage with the public, build capacity and work collaboratively across sectors to generate strategy around navigating the intersections of technology, policy and social justice.