October 16, 2023

The Evergreen Conference 2023

Evergreen’s annual national conference brought industries, cultures, and regions together to examine the potential of public space to address social, ecological, and economic challenges.

Key topics for 2023

The 2023 Evergreen Conference was hosted at Evergreen Brick Works and virtually. It was animated by dozens of speakers, moderators, artists, and vendors from across Canada who are actively invested in placemaking.

Our content partners 7GenCities, the Canadian Urban Institute, and Placemaking Canada played an integral part in shaping the themes, topics and ideas discussed at the conference.

Public places

Public places at the centre of regenerative and resilient cities


Sustainable and innovative approaches to housing urban populations

Indigenous Experiences

Supporting Indigenous experiences in urban places

Zita Cobb - Founder and CEO of Shorefast

Our keynote speaker, Zita Cobb, shared that by starting with the specificity of the place where we live and with a focus on local people — growers, makers, artists, builders and doers of all kinds — we can deepen the relationships between people and place.

The presentations

Below are the workshops, sessions, and events from our 2023 Evergreen Conference.

Opening in a Good Way

Land Acknowledgement and Opening

Wyandot Elder Catherine Tammaro
Nenookaasi Ochrym, Afro-Indigenous Singer and Activist
Jen Angel, CEO, Evergreen

Working Together Towards Smart Creative Mixed-Use 

In partnership with the University of Toronto’s Infrastructure Institute, Evergreen’s Community Solutions Network will showcase how creative mixed-use projects convey the future of collaborative and intentional city building. This hybrid session and in-person exhibit focuses on the potential of creative development in public places, integrated with smart tools and technologies that support social infrastructure and climate resilience.


Helen Ketema, Projects Lead, Infrastructure Institute, University of Toronto
Phat Le, Architectural Designer, Infrastructure Institute, University of Toronto
Sarah Chan, Planning and Design Lead, School of Cities, University of Toronto

7GenCities presents: Imagining 7GenCities

We will engage attendees using participatory futuring and collective imagination tools, as well as Sacred Civics foundational keys for unlocking our ability to dream about how we can build our cities, communities and regenerative bioregions. Alongside learning from living demonstrations of 7GenCities, this session will enable us to explore ways we can work together to radically transition the civic, social, natural, digital and physical infrastructures. This is needed so that urban communities and ecosystems can thrive in just, inclusive, regenerative and caring communities for the next seven generations.

Indigenous and Afro-futurity perspectives and methodologies, decolonial and Truth & Reconciliation principles and actions, and land-based perspectives will be woven throughout. This Imagining 7GenCities session will be an important imagination space in our collaborative work to extend the boundaries of what is possible and help raise public ambition for manifesting and building the field of 7GenCities.


Tanya Chung-Tiam-Fook, Co-Holder of 7GenCities with Dark Matter Labs, 7GenCities
Jayne Engle, Co-holder of 7GenCities with Dark Matter Labs, 7GenCities

Climate Ready Schools: Insights From a School Ground Redevelopment

The school ground design at Irma Coulson Public School in Halton Region has set new standards in stormwater management, topography, vegetated landscapes, material usage, retainment, seating and outdoor learning. Professionals in design, engineering and risk management will share the challenges, collaborative relationships and ideas that brought the Climate Ready Schools vision to life at Irma Coulson.


Heidi Campbell, Sr. Program Manager, Evergreen
Birgit Teichmann, Landscape Architect, Birgit Teichmann GmbH
Matt Humphries, Associate Principal and Project Lead, Arup
Ian Gaudet, Superintendent of Facility Services, Halton District School Board

A Place for Placemaking

Evergreen is committed to a national urban transformation, starting with reimagining the Evergreen Brick Works site and programs with partners from across the country. Join us for a collaborative workshop in the discovery phase of a design process involving select interdisciplinary partners, practitioners, and community leaders with unique perspective on the future of city-making in Canada.


Matthew Claudel, Founder, Field States

Sharing the Indigenous Experience in Urban Places 1 – Closed Sharing Circle

The first of two sessions for urban Indigenous organizations and community organizers to share specific needs and challenges they face making meaningful urban spaces for Indigenous people. This will be a closed session for community sharing. We invite everyone to join the public panel discussion in the afternoon to hear about Indigenous engagement and support.

How to Design Outdoor Spaces with Children

Join us for an outdoor experience at Evergreen Brick Works, where we will explore how you can integrate participatory, child friendly, nature-based approaches into your practice. We will share our experiences integrating arts-based and inclusive approaches in the design of outdoor public spaces, including parks, school grounds and childcare centres. We will provide an opportunity for you to share your experiences with your fellow placemakers. Child participation lies at the heart of creating more connected communities and climate resilient public spaces and is an essential part of ensuring a truly equitable and inclusive stakeholder approach.


Paula Gallo, B.Ed., M.Sc.Pl., Recreate Place
Annie Vandenberg, B.Ed., Recreate Place

Measuring the Impact of Public Spaces

Join us for an insightful session on the importance of measuring and evaluating the impact of public places, which is key to assessing our planet’s health, and people’s well-being and transforming public spaces. Speakers will present various ways of approaching this work to tell the stories of outcomes related to well-being, climate resilience, and sustainability. Measuring the impact of public spaces can support decision-making and be a powerful approach to achieving a more sustainable and inclusive future.


Kady Cowan, Founder, Sustainability Studio
Laura Smith, Project Manager, Park
Mike Davis, CEO, Davis Pier

Unleashing the Power of Place

By always starting with the specificity of the place where we live and with a focus on local people – growers, makers, artists, builders and doers of all kinds – the work of Shorefast seeks to deepen the relationships between people and place. This approach has enabled a regenerative model and sparked entrepreneurial momentum that provides an economic foundation for culture and community to flourish.

Zita Cobb, Founder & CEO of Shorefast, will share her learnings on Shorefast’s journey to-date and how the future may unfold when local communities are prioritized in economic decision making.


Zita Cobb, Founder and CEO, Shorefast

Sharing the Indigenous Experience in Urban Places 2 – Panel Discussion

The second of two sessions for urban Indigenous organizations and community organizers to share specific needs and challenges they face making meaningful urban spaces for Indigenous people. Open to all conference participants, this diverse panel of Indigenous voices will help guide the group into thoughtful conversations around supporting urban Indigenous inclusion in public places.


Gabrielle Fayant-Lewis, Co-Founder, Assembly of Seven Generations
Pam Glode Desrochers, Executive Director, Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
Ryan Besito, Kinship Support Worker, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto
Nenookaasi Ochrym, Afro-Indigenous Singer and Activist

More Than a Roof: People, Housing and Public Place

This session will offer examples of affordable and mixed-income housing that can also contribute to healthy, liveable, and inclusive communities. In conversation with our panelists and the audience, we’ll explore three unique projects and unpack what it takes to build vibrant communities while creating a powerful sense of place and belonging.


Dina Graser, Senior Project Advisor to Evergreen
Meg Davis, Chief Development Officer, Waterfront Toronto
Maja Vodanovic, Mayor of Lachine, Quebec
Kent Patenaude, Development Manager, LDM

Climate Ready Schools: Exploring Community Impact

The impact of a school ground renovation on a community can be challenging to capture through conventional evaluation methods. Principals, on the other hand, see and hear all. Irma Coulson’s Principal, Cheryl Hayles, sits down with Evergreen for an in-depth conversation to better understand how the Climate Ready School’s Pilot has impacted her students, staff and community.


Cheryl Hayles, Principal, Irma Coulson PS
Cam Collyer, Executive Lead, Evergreen

The Intersection of Smart Technology, Extreme Heat, and Green Public Places: Evergreen’s A.I. for the Resilient City Program

This workshop will walk participants through AI for the Resilient City: a scalable analytics and data visualization platform for extreme heat and urban heat island effect. This tool helps build understanding of the impacts of extreme heat on our communities, the role of green public spaces and infrastructure in cooling our built environment, and the importance of public space in a warming world.


Zoya Sodhi, Sr. Program Manager, Evergreen
Joshua Welch, Program Officer, Evergreen

Evergreen Brick Works, What’s Next?

Join Kourosh Rad, Evergreen’s new Director of Planning and Development, and architects and landscape architects from DTAH, LGA Architectural Partners, and Trophic Design for this active “walk & talk” style workshop. We will tour the Evergreen Brick Works site and hear about plans to transform and maintain the place in response to changing community needs.

We will be exploring the site and quarry via accessible paved or granular-level paths. Please wear weather-appropriate clothing and footwear. This is a rain-or-shine event. Contact conference@evergreen.ca for any accessibility needs.


Kourosh Rad, Director of Planning and Development, Evergreen
Megan Torza, Partner, DTAH
Drew Adams, Sr. Associate, LGA Architectural Partner
Terence Radford, Principal, Trophic Design

Closing: City Talk – Our Case for Place

The Canadian Urban Institute’s series of online, candid conversations brings together city builders of all stripes to discuss what’s working, what’s not and what’s next for urban communities across Canada. https://canurb.org/citytalk-canada/


Zita Cobb, Founder & CEO of Shorefast
Mary Rowe, President & CEO, Canadian Urban Institute
Jen Angel, CEO, Evergreen

The Evergreen Conference 2023 presenters

Drew Adams
Jen Angel
Ryan Besito
Heidi Campbell
Sarah Chan
Tanya Chung-Tiam-Fook
Matthew Claudel
Cam Collyer
Kady Cowan
Meg Davis
Mike Davis
Jayne Engle
Gabrielle Fayant-Lewis
Paula Gallo
Ian Gaudet
Pam Glode Desrochers
Dina Graser
Cheryl Hayles
Matt Humphries
Helen Ketema
Phat Le
Laura McPhie
Nenookaasi Ochrym
Kent Patenaude
Kourosh Rad
Terence Radford, OALA, BCSLA, CSLA
Mary Rowe
Laura Smith
Zoya Sodhi
Birgit Teichmann
Megan Torza, OAA / FRAIC / LEED AP BD+C
Annie Vandenberg
Maja Vodanovic
Joshua Welch

Sr. Associate, LGA Architectural Partners




Drawing on experience in architecture, landscape architecture and urban design, Drew excels in synthesizing diverse viewpoints and finding integrated solutions for clients. He has a knack for projects with unique circumstances, especially when it comes to housing, adaptive reuse and sustainable design, and has earned a reputation equally for his creativity as for his diligence in project execution.


Drew plays active and leading roles on projects including as project architect on Evergreen Brick Works’ carbon neutral retrofit of the historic Kiln Building, Eva’s Phoenix Youth Transitional Housing and Skills Centre and a variety of affordable housing and laneway housing projects. He has also designed carbon neutral housing in Yellowknife and net zero housing in San Francisco. This work has been recognized with features in Architectural Record, FastCompany, Canadian Architect and other publications, as well as with design, heritage and green building awards.


Drew is a licensed architect and has taught at the University of Waterloo and University of Toronto. He is a longtime volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.

CEO, Evergreen


Jen Angel is a builder of community, momentum and places people love. As CEO of Evergreen, she works with public, private and community partners to reimagine public places, and then gets her hands dirty to help make them, and make them work harder, for people and planet. For more than 30 years, Evergreen has been bringing people together with nature and each other in cities across Canada. Prior to Evergreen, Jen helped create some of Nova Scotia’s favourite places by land and sea. Her portfolio includes real estate, infrastructure and program development and governance, participatory planning, and design. She’s served on a number of Boards, including as Chair of Discover Halifax, Chair of the Downtown Halifax Business Commission, and Chair of the Fundraising Cabinet of United Way Halifax. She’s been named among Atlantic Canada’s Top 50 CEOs and 25 Most Powerful Women, received the Allyship Award from Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre, and is currently Placemaking Fellow with Canadian Urban Institute.

Kinship Support Worker, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto


Ryan Besito is Anishinaabe from Saugeen First Nations and is a pipe carrier and Men’s Traditional dancer for Tkaronto’s Indigenous Community. Ryan is an Indigenous Artist and Instructional designer. Ryan is passionate about sharing the importance of Indigenous culture, identity and language and visibility and through his art he embodies the old and new ways to walk the Red Path. Ryan aims to make a positive impact wherever he travels through his Art and Mentoring capacity. Ryan strongly believes that it is our inherent responsibility as Indigenous people to use the teachings we are given every day, to walk with them everywhere we go and create a healthy path for future generations.

Sr. Program Officer, Evergreen


Heidi is Evergreen’s Senior Lead in Planning and Design, working collaboratively with Evergreen’s national and international networks of educators and design professionals to co-create child-friendly public engagement practices and iterative design approaches that engage children and their families in the reimagining of public spaces. With over 25 years of experience greening school grounds, she manages Evergreen’s national School Ground Greening Program overseeing school board partnerships and embedded Design Consultants. Heidi was the Senior Program Manager for the Climate Ready Schools pilot project at Irma Coulson P.S. where she managed a team of consultants, and led the public engagement and school participation, professional development, project implementation, and Board guidelines processes. Heidi’s degree in landscape architecture and education has been the foundation for her explorations into engaging landscape typologies for children and was Lead Designer of the Children’s Garden and Play Lab at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto, Ontario.

Planning and Design Lead, School of Cities, University of Toronto


Sarah Chan is the Planning and Design Lead at the School of Cities, University of Toronto. She is both an urban planner and urban designer. At the Infrastructure Institute, she leads many of the creative mixed-use initiatives, including partnerships with CreateTO, Infrastructure Ontario, and the Toronto Lands Corporation. She has also led research into long-term strategies towards affordable housing and other community benefits, including the Institute’s partnerships with CMHC and Esri Canada. Prior to her time at the School of Cities, Sarah carried out master planning exercises, developed secondary plans and conducted site-specific or neighbourhood studies mainly in the GTHA. She enjoys integrating design-thinking, policy and stakeholder engagement to inform strategic city-building solutions and is committed to creating thriving cities for all residents.

Co-Holder of 7GenCities with Dark Matter Labs; Environmental, Innovation & Mental Wellness Advisor & Educator at Nature Within


Tanya Chung-Tiam-Fook is deeply engaged in Indigenous, environmental, transdisciplinary and intercultural approaches to research, land relationships and stewardship, climate resilience, innovation, education, health and mental wellness, and placekeeping. She is passionate about reciprocal, collaborative and intergenerational pathways for learning and knowledge co-creation, practice, and partnerships in her roles within project and research leadership, academia, advising and community.

Founder, Field States


Matthew Claudel is the founder of Field States, a benefit company dedicated to creating civic value. He is a Visiting Assistant Professor at University of Michigan’s Taubman School of Architecture, and was previously the Strategic Design Lead for Curative, a health care company seeking to end the Covid-19 pandemic. Matthew has written two books, and several academic journal articles, fiction and general publications primarily related to technology, cities, art, and the natural environment. He co-founded MIT’s designX program, where he was the Head of Civic Innovation and an instructor for four years. He has a doctorate in Advanced Urbanism from MIT, where his work focused on the emerging practices of urban experimentation as they relate to civic value.

Executive Lead, Evergreen


Cam spent 23 years of his career with non-profit, Evergreen, playing an executive role in building one of Canada’s leading environmental charities and now leads his own consultancy. Cam has created national and international scale initiatives related to public space design, programming and public engagement. He is a leading international authority on the greening of school grounds and has piloted a number of placemaking initiatives with municipalities in Ontario that have focused on the engagement of children and families. He played a leadership role in developing the suite of children’s program at Evergreen Brick Works as well as co-designing the site’s award-winning Children’s Garden. Cam is a seasoned and accomplished program designer, partnership builder, writer, public speaker, placemaker, fundraiser and movement builder.

Founder, The Sustainability Studio


Kady Cowan is Founder of the Sustainability Studio. She invites organizations and institutions to collaborate in the Studio where they have time to learn and practice combining sustainability, environmental protection, climate safety and a wholistic ecosystem perspective into both strategic and everyday activities at work. Kady facilitates the adoption of positive environmental behaviours while integrating ecological decision making in complex work settings. This tailored experience helps create conditions for effective staff and executive engagement so that transformative solutions emerge and persist for the long term. Kady’s focus on learning, simple prototyping, appropriate scaling and evaluation of dynamic low-carbon projects and programs leads to the protection of environmental and human health, climate resilience, financial savings, and conservation of natural and energy resources. Kady has been proud to serve as a climate, environment and sustainability leader for local, national and international organizations including the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) in Ontario, Atrium Health in North Carolina, and University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto.

Chief Development Officer, Waterfront Toronto


Meg Davis is the Chief Development Officer for Waterfront Toronto and is responsible for leading the strategic development of its lands as part of its revitalization efforts. This includes overseeing the creation of the public infrastructure and coordinating the planning, design and construction phases of these significant developments. In addition, she leads the selection processes and on-going relationships with development partners to ensure development contributes to meeting the corporate objectives of high design and complete sustainable and inclusive neighbourhoods.


Meg brings more than 35 years of experience as a planner and real estate expert for both the public and private sector including Bramalea Limited and KPMG. She has a Master’s in Business Administration and an Undergraduate Degree in Urban Studies. Meg is a Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners, Ontario Professional Planners Institute, Urban Land Institute and Lambda Alpha International.

Managing Director, Davis Pier


Mike is a thought leader in government transformation and innovation, with over 20-years of experience in consulting across Canada and in countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia. He is well-regarded not only for his ability to design and architect strategies and solutions to complex public sector issues for clients, but also for overseeing their implementation. Mike leads Davis Pier’s social innovation efforts focused on helping government by using behavioural science, service design and evidence-based policy approaches to improving policy-making and program design.


Mike has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Industrial Engineering from Dalhousie University and a Master’s degree in Behavioural Sciences at the London School of Economics. He has attended the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Behavioural Insights Program and is certified as a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) and Project Management Professional (PMP). Mike is also a Distinguished Fellow with the Dalhousie University Faculty of Management.


Mike is the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for Kids Help Phone and on the Board of Directors for Tribe Network. Mike has also been named one of Atlantic Business Magazines Top 50 CEOs.

7GenCities co-holder & Mission co-holder, Dark Matter Labs


Jayne Engle has worked for decades in civic systems change globally – from regional policy and economic transition, to city planning, participatory research, and philanthropy. She is committed to urban transformations for the long term and carries this out through practice, research and teaching with 7GenCities, Dark Matter Labs, McGill University, and multiple collaborators.

Co-Founder, Assembly of Seven Generations


Gabrielle Fayant is an off-Settlement Metis woman, whose family is from Fishing Lake Metis Settlement, AB, one of the 8 land-based Metis Settlements in Canada. Gabrielle is an award winning woman for her work in community, youth empowerment and Indigenous rights awareness. She is the co-founder of Assembly of Seven Generations (A7G) which is an Indigenous owned and youth-led, non-profit organization focused on cultural support and empowerment programs/policies for Indigenous youth while being led by traditional knowledge and Elder guidance.


Gabrielle also opened an Indigenous owned boutique called Adaawewigamig as a social enterprise to support the work of A7G. The boutique has been able to support youth employment and over 90 Indigenous businesses and artists as well as some land-based activities such as hide tanning, medicine harvesting and workshops to build skills such as beading and ribbon skirt making. Gabrielle has dedicated her life to supporting cultural resurgence and justice for all Indigenous peoples.

Recreate Place


Paula Gallo B.Ed., M.Sc.Pl. and Annie Vandenberg are the team at Recreate Place, providing strategic planning, facilitation, design services and activation support for communities to engage children and youth in the creation of more equitable and inclusive places. We facilitate arts-based, child-friendly processes where children imagine, and share ideas about meaningful decisions in their communities. We work with many different project partners including The Toronto Region Conservation Authority, City of Brampton, City of Toronto, Toronto District School Board, The Learning Enrichment Foundation, and Koffler Center of the Arts. Descriptions of recent engagement projects, can be found here.

Superintendent of Facility Services, Halton District School Board


Ian Gaudet was born in Thunder Bay, Ontario and grew up in Welland, Ontario along with his three siblings. After graduating from Notre Dame High School, Ian earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering through the University of Waterloo’s Co-operative Education program, later obtaining his Professional Engineer designation. Ian also holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Windsor.


Ian’s career includes private sector consulting in Ontario, British Columbia, and Michigan before joining the public sector in progressive leadership roles at the City of Windsor, St. Clair College of Applied Arts and Technology, the Waterloo Region District School Board, and in his current role with the Halton District School Board.


Over his career, Ian has supported or lead the completion of approximately $1B in public infrastructure construction projects in southwestern Ontario. Ian enjoys the opportunity to work collaboratively across various departments, and with agencies and stakeholder to build the important relationships that lead to better outcomes for students and the public.


Ian recently completed his Supervisory Officer’s Qualification Program.


Ian is the father of three children and lives in Waterloo with his lovely partner, Abby.

Executive Director, Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre


As an advocate to strengthen urban and rural Indigenous communities, Pam Glode Desrochers has worked with the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre for over 28 years, including in the role of Executive Director for nearly 10 years.


She has helmed the centre into a new era that will see a state-of-the-art purpose-built sustainable facility constructed in downtown Halifax. The Wije’winen Centre will break ground later this year and will house over 50 programs.


Pam’s mandate as the Executive Director of the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre is to provide quality structured social based programming to urban Indigenous people with a focus on addressing poverty, crime, health, housing, homelessness, justice and the promotion of personal and community health and wellbeing.


Pam has helped expand the Centre’s programs to include employment training, youth-focused initiatives, housing, and literacy programs. She emphasizes effective communication as key to success and is dedicated to building partnerships with Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders to enhance the quality of life for urban Indigenous communities.


Currently she sits on the Board of Directors of the National Association of friendship Centers. In June 2017, Pam received the Governor General’s award: Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers in Ottawa for Outstanding Indigenous Leadership.

Senior Project Advisor to Evergreen


Dina is a consultant specializing in urban projects that build and engage communities, from housing and infrastructure to transportation, the arts and public engagement. Dina takes a strategic, creative and pragmatic approach to connecting people and communities to build consensus and make progress on complex problems.


Dina has been a Senior Advisor to Evergreen’s Housing Supply Challenge Support Program since its inception. Previously, she served as Project Director of the National Housing Collaborative, a Senior Advisor at the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance at the Munk School of Global Affairs (University of Toronto) and Director of Community and Stakeholder Relations at Metrolinx.  Before joining Metrolinx, Dina was a communications lawyer, a planning activist, and a successful producer of live shows, festivals and events.

Principal, Irma Coulson P.S.


Cheryl is Principal of a Kindergarten to Grade 8 school in the Halton District School Board. Her staff and students are committed to the mission of a safe and inclusive learning environment where global citizenship is the norm.


Cheryl actively serves as a capacity builder for her school community. She demonstrates leadership in environmental stewardship and advocates for climate responsibility.


Having led five delegations to the United Nations to attend the Commission on the Status of Women, she is a strong supporter of the Sustainable Development Goals.


She is invested in creating inclusive natural spaces and honouring stakeholder voices at the table. This work inspires Cheryl’s focus on championing diversity and developing global citizenship skills with her staff and students.


Her passion for environmental sustainability extends to her personal garden, which is her Zen zone for mindful reflection and creativity.

Associate Principal and Project Lead, Arup


Matt Humphries (B.Sc.Hon, B.Ed. B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc. P.Eng) is an associate principal and project leader in the Toronto office of Arup, a global design firm. Matt is responsible for directing and leading teams on complex buildings projects. Over his career he has developed a depth of experience and understanding in coordinating integrated design teams focused on delivering solutions and realizing his client’s visions for success. A holistic thinker, Matt believes in looking for opportunities to leverage additional value through cross-disciplinary collaboration in problem solving.


As an engineer, Matt has significant experience working with both new and existing buildings and across the public realm. He is experienced in developing solutions that enable reuse and bring added benefits. Matt has a strong background in sustainability and has significant experience in developing long-term energy and water management strategies, guiding mechanical design to achieve LEED® energy savings and certification goals, and identifying and implementing energy conservation measures. He regularly guides clients, both public and private, on their journey to achieving their sustainability and conservation goals, including various certifications such as LEED or Net Zero.

Project Lead, Infrastructure Institute


Helen Ketema is a researcher whose background includes equity-driven projects on global health, decent work, urban planning, and youth development. She holds a Master of Arts in Geography from the University of Toronto and brings her diverse set of experiences and skills to managing programs at the Infrastructure Institute.

Helen’s experience in community engagement and program evaluation helps emphasize for her the importance of ensuring policy research engages the relevant practitioners and community members. Her time working internationally and locally in the non-profit sector has informed her collaborative approach to building strong stakeholder relationships.

Architectural Designer, Infrastructure Institute, University of Toronto


Phat Le is the Architectural Designer for the Infrastructure Institute at the School of Cities, and a sessional lecturer at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto. Le’s research explores methods of multigenerational housing and urban collectivity in relation to queer placemaking and Asian diasporic communities.

Session Facilitator


Laura McPhie is a two-spirit Anishinabe, German, and Scottish member of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation. She currently lives on the traditional lands of the Three Fires Confederacy – the Ojibway, the Odawa, and the Potawotami – in Barrie, On. Laura grew up in an urban context, in Calgary, Alberta on Treaty 7 territory. Her studies focused on Indigenous and Queer history and how we tell stories. In her work life, Laura focuses on creating spaces and platforms for people and communities to share their stories and inform organization change. Over the past two years, Laura has worked with Evergreen Brickworks to build their knowledge around Canadian history in relation to Indigenous peoples, how to build and hold good relations, and start to reflect on organizational change to contribute toward environments of Reconciliation.

Afro-Indigenous Singer and Activist


Nenookaasi (she/they) is an Afro-Indigenous 2S Queer singer, song composer and medicine carrier from Toronto. A proud activist and advocate for Black, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQI+, mental health and child foster care, Neno’s work is rooted in self-love and self-empowerment through a harm reduction lens.

Development Manager, LDM


Kent is a Cree Status Indian from the Sucker Creek First Nation in northern Alberta.


Kent joined LDM as a Development Manager in 2017. Kent provides research and develops professional affordable housing needs assessments for municipalities, government agencies and non-profit organizations, develops and coordinates comprehensive proposal packages to lenders and funding agencies, develops and negotiates contracts and agreements between clients and stakeholders, works to obtain municipal approvals such as rezoning, development and building permits, implements effective public consultation processes, manages a diverse range of stakeholders and supports clients throughout the design, approval and construction processes – resolving issues and managing risks.


Previously Kent worked for various organizations, including Kee Tas Kee Now Waste Management, developing and implementing strategies to provide meaningful opportunities in the areas of Aboriginal employment, business development, community support, education and environmental awareness and TransCanada Pipelines engaging First Nations and providing project information along the proposed pipeline route. Kent received a Business Administration Diploma from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and a BA from the University of Alberta.

Director, Planning & Development, Evergreen


Kourosh Rad serves as Evergreen’s Director of Planning and Development, bringing over a decade of urban planning expertise and passion. His background includes project management and planning consultancy, where he has led the design and development of numerous mixed-use buildings and master-planned communities. Through co-creation practices, Kourosh excels in navigating complex project components, such as heritage adaptive reuse, sustainable construction practices, and affordable housing initiatives.


Kourosh has initiated several regional, national and international projects to inspire change, including the “Art of City Building Conference” in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has also led workshops around the world about public consultation, equitable real estate development, and creative bureaucracy. He received the 2017 Young Planner Award from the Canadian Institution of Planners and has also served as a jury member for the Government of Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge in 2019.


Apart from his planning background, Kourosh is a restaurateur and a food and beverage enthusiast. He’s always eager to engage in discussions about fostering a sense of community through food, arts and experiences.

Principal, Trophic Design


Terence Radford is a Registered Landscape Architect and member of the CSLA. He has more than 10 years experience in green infrastructure, landscape planning, urban design and environmental design.


Terence carries a bachelor’s degree in the fine arts from the University of Victoria and a master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of British Columbia. He is a practicing artist and Principal at Trophic Design, an indigenous owned and operated practice in the field of Landscape Architecture.


As a member of the Metis Nation British Columbia and indigenous Practitioner, Terence speaks regularly on engaging with Indigenous Communities in relation to city planning and urban design. He is also a serving member of the Reconciliation Advisory Committee for the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA) where he works on initiatives related to reconciliation and changing the practice of landscape architecture. Terence is also a sessional instructor with the Daniels Faculty at the University of Toronto where he teaches a 1st year MLA Design studio on reconciliation and the inclusion of indigenous perspectives in landscape architectural design.


In addition, Terence has been a mentor for Nikibii Dawadina Gigwaag, an Indigenous youth education and training program, since 2018 where he collaborates with youth on a variety of projects.

President and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI).


For over 30 years, Mary has acted as an impassioned civic leader and a leading urban advocate championing place-based approaches to building livable and resilient cities. Living in Canada and the United States, Mary has supported a wide range of policy transformation efforts and has led local, national and international urban initiatives such as the self-organizing initiatives that emerged in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, the initial development of Re-Imagining the Civic Commons in key cities across North America, and the engagement components of HUD-supported Rebuild by Design that informed the creation of the 100 Resilient Cities program of the Rockefeller Foundation. She is also Senior Fellow with Shorefast and is a frequent contributor to national and international city-building programs such as UN Habitat, Ottawa City Building Summit, Livable Cities Forum, Mansueto Institute Summit, the Art of City Building, and the inaugural meeting of the G7 Urban Development Ministers in Potsdam, Germany. Under Mary’s leadership, CUI has expanded its work to include an international network from government, industry, community and city-building professions to advance research and collaborate on solutions to some of our greatest urban challenges.

Project Manager, Park People


Laura is a project manager at Park People focusing on evaluation and impact measurement of the Cornerstone Parks program. Her work has led to the development of multiple reports and articles detailing the health and well-being impacts of visiting and volunteering in large urban parks and the health equity implications.


Prior to Park People, Laura worked in the non-profit sector where she contributed to projects related to public space, community engagement, and active transportation. She also holds a Master of Urban Planning from Queen’s University where her research focused on children’s active school travel. Her time as a research fellow at Queen’s gives her a strong background in research design and program evaluation.

Sr. Program Manager, Evergreen


Zoya is an urban development professional who has led a wide portfolio of large-scale national programs, fostered multi-stakeholder collaborations and engaged with local municipalities to tackle urban and environmental challenges across Canada, Europe and South-East Asia. At Evergreen, she is managing innovative capacity building programs within the realm of climate change, community resilience, sustainable cities and has a background in urban planning and management from University of Twente, The Netherlands. She believes in driving positive change and evaluate the impact through her programs.

Principal, Birgit Teichmann GmbH


Birgit Teichmann grew up in the historically diverse city of Berlin, Germany. She continued her path on becoming a Landscape Architect and Engineer, focusing on open green areas, green infrastructure, working with youth organizations and landscape development.


As an active member of the Berlin Chamber of Architects she started in 1997 a Landscape planning office in the heart of Berlin. In 2010 the office evolved into Birgit Teichmann GmbH Landschaftsarchitektin, managed by Birgit Teichmann.


The office has been creating, planning and directing successful projects for more than 26 years in commercial, civic and residential areas. Since the 90’s Birgit has set the bar with her work in ecological, educational and communal ventures in Europe. She works together with Architects, City Planners, Arborists, Gardeners, Monument Preservationists, Teachers and Archeologists to complete projects with professional flair and genuine care. Great ecological play areas for children have always been Birgit’s passion. Her interest in creative, healthy and climate adapted green spaces in cities has been her focus.

Partner, DTAH


Megan is an architect whose professional development has been influenced by a strong personal interest in adaptive reuse and the integration of contemporary architecture into historic urban fabric. She joined DTAH in 2006 and became a partner in 2012. She was fortunate early in her career to play a key role in the Artscape Wychwood Barns and Evergreen Brick Works projects, cementing her passion for community-based projects and meaningful public engagement. Her socially-minded, contextually-sensitive portfolio has grown to include the award-winning entrance pavilion to Tommy Thompson Park, the revitalization of the northwest corner of Dufferin Grove Park, the St. Andrew and Dane Avenue Child Care projects, the Niagara Falls Exchange: Farmers’ Market and Cultural Hub, and the Baker District One Planet Living Redevelopment in Guelph.


With a background in art and architectural history, Megan has taught the history of Contemporary Architecture at the University of Toronto, and is a frequent guest lecturer and design critic at the University of Waterloo and Toronto Metropolitan University. She is chair of the City of Vaughan Urban Design Review Panel and former Chair of the Toronto Society of Architecture.

Recreate Place


Annie Vandenberg, B.Ed. and Paula Gallo are the team at Recreate Place, providing strategic planning, facilitation, design services and activation support for communities to engage children and youth in the creation of more equitable and inclusive places. We facilitate arts-based, child-friendly processes where children imagine, and share ideas about meaningful decisions in their communities. We work with many different project partners including The Toronto Region Conservation Authority, City of Brampton, City of Toronto, Toronto District School Board, The Learning Enrichment Foundation, and Koffler Center of the Arts. Descriptions of recent engagement projects, can be found here.

Mayor of Lachine, Quebec


Maja Vodanovic is the mayor of Lachine and member of Montreal’s executive committee responsible for water infrastructure. Maja is a graduate of art history, a former artist, painter and activist, committed to the reduction of contaminants in our soil, air and water. Her involvement led her, in 2013, to enter the political world.


As the Montreal representative on the National Zero Waste Council based in Vancouver, Maja co-led a committee aimed at reducing Canada’s packaging industry reliance on virgin plastics. As an environmental spokesperson for the Greater Montreal region Maja was also an advocate for the province’s implementation of a deposit system on all beverage containers.


She is presently a member of the executive committee of the St-Lawrence and Great Lakes cities initiative, a bi-national organization which unites 250 mayors that aims to protect the freshwater basin of 44 million people.


On the local scene Maja has set the grounds, collaborating with civil society, the private and public sector to transform 60 hectares of privately owned industrial brownfield, into a mixed residential district according to the best international urban practices. This project was cited as an example of good governance by the European Council.
Maja hopes that this project successfully responds to the climate crisis with a reproducible model. A model based on Electrified public transport, green stormwater retention, renewable energy, lakefront renaturalization and affordable housing.

Program Officer, Evergreen


Josh is a Program Officer at Evergreen Brick Works since 2022. Josh has been actively working on several programs at the organization that focus on climate resilience and building community-based networks across the Country using technology and governance to take action on climate change and environmental sustainability. Josh comes from a strong background of municipal government work in climate action and conversation where he developed and implemented climate and energy management plans and worked to improve climate resiliency in the community. Josh is a graduate of the University of Toronto with a Masters in Environmental Sciences (MEnvSc) and believes that technology and collective drive will be the driving impact that mitigates and adapts to the worst outcome of climate change.

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