planitPLANit@York is the York University Planning Students Association – run for, and by, MES Planning students. We are committed to enriching the experience of our students, through initiatives such as networking events, informational speakers series, workshops, community activities, and socials.  We aim to be the go-to source of information for the York planning community, and to be a connecting hub for MES Planning students to engage with the GTA and Canadian planning community.

To stay up to date on PLANit events check out our Events Page and follow us on Twitter @PLANitYork and join our Facebook group.

Previous PLANit Teams

PLANit Team 2013-2014

PLANit Team 2012-2013

PLANit Team 2014-2015

ShazmaShazma Abdulla – Chair

What is your hometown? I was born in Nairobi, Kenya but was raised in Toronto.

Where did you do your undergrad and what did you study? I did a Spec. Hons BA in English Literature at YorkU.

Why did I choose planning? In my undergrad, I focused primarily on a literary analysis of space and place, and I wanted to take that knowledge and explore it in greater depth. Planning seemed like the most logical place to conduct research that I am interested in while also having the opportunity to engage in real-world impact on society.

Why did you choose York? The strong social justice culture at York is what drove me to apply here for my Masters degree as well as the opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary activist research that interests me within a supportive environment. I find that I tend to engage in a more critical analysis of planning structures and systems, and FES at YorkU is the most conducive to this type of work.

What made you want to get involved with PLANit? I’m a big believer in co-curricular activities and the role it plays in enriching our academic experience. What I love about PLANit is that in our quest to help enrich our student experience, we encounter a diverse group of people and ideas that we may not otherwise have been exposed to.

What are your academic interests, POS title or research interests? While my particular research interests are still evolving as I learn more and am exposed to more ideas, I can say that my work concentrates on race and space, as well as our conceptions around and planning for multicultural communities.

What are your non-academic interests? Travel, fitness and physical activity, and TV (it raised me)

 

stephaniehStefanie Hawco – Secretary/Treasurer

What is your hometown? Toronto, Ontario

Where did you do your undergrad, and what did you study? I did an Honours Bachelor degree in Environmental Studies (Urban and Regional Environments) here at York University. I also received a Certificate in Urban Ecology.

Why did you choose to study Planning? I’ve always had a passion and concern for environmental issues. While obtaining my undergrad I discovered Urban Planning as a process of achieving solutions to these issues.

Why did you choose FES and York? Studying Environmental Studies and concentrating on Planning seemed like the best way to become a Professional Urban Planner. I decided to continue this at York because I loved doing my BES here. I am familiar with the campus and faculty and was impressed with the interdisciplinarity offered in the MES program.

What made you want to get involved with PLANit, and what is the best thing about it? I really wanted to get involved in a student group and PLANit seemed like the best fit for me. As a Planning student I felt this was a wonderful opportunity for me to network and connect with other MES and Planning students. The best thing about PLANit is that it creates a voice for the Planning students and their needs and is also a great way to meet Professional Planners.

What are your academic interests? What is your POS title? What are some potential major research topics? What brought me into the MES program was my interest in urban expansion involving housing development and community. Population numbers are expanding and attempts have to be made to restructure cities in order to sustain growth for future communities. Thus far, my POS title is: Affordable Housing and Gentrification in Relation to Planning. I would like to look into housing policies (or lack thereof) in Toronto and focus on affordable housing and it’s effect on marginalized populations in the downtown area. What are your non-academic interests? Doctor Who Vegetarian Lifestyle Baking Making fun of my friends 🙂

 

dianakDiana Kakamousias: Event Coordinator

What is your hometown? Toronto, Ontario

Where did you do your undergrad and what did you study? York University, Honours BA in Urban Studies and Geography

Why did you choose planning? Growing up in the heart of Toronto, it’s easy to become interested and have an opinion on what makes the city function. After doing my undergrad in urban studies, it really exposed me to how multifaceted the city is, and the challenges that go into planning for a great city. After completing my degree, taking a masters degree in planning just seemed like the next logical step.

Why did you choose York? I completed my 4-year undergrad at York and really became comfortable with the University and everything it has to offer students. The interdisciplinary nature of the program really provides students with the flexibility in creating a program that is tailored to each student’s interests and needs.

What made you want to get involved with PLANit? Throughout high school and undergrad, all you hear from students and faculty is “get involved as much as you can”. I really believe that PLANit is a great academic outlet, but also a social outlet to really engage with other students and make the most out of the program.

What are your academic interests? At the moment my focus is on neighbourhood planning. The current title of my POS is Planning and Designing New Sustainable Neighbourhoods. I really want to study what elements are needed in order to built complete communities that are affordable, equitable and sustainable for the future.

tristanTristan Costa: Event Coordinator

What is your hometown? I was born in Toronto, Ontario but moved to Caledon, Ontario.

Where did you do your undergrad, and what did you study? I completed a BA with Specialized Honours in Geography and Urban studies at York University.

Why did you choose to study Planning? Throughout my five years at York University I slowly developed an interest in the ways that urban and suburban centers operated based on population characteristics. This led me to change my initial Geography degree into an Urban Studies and Geography BA so I could learn more about the ways these centers function. As my university experience took shape, I became involved in numerous student groups and even had the opportunity to work with the Township of King as a planning intern. These experiences combined cemented my interests in planning.

Why did you choose FES and York? I chose FES and York for a number of reasons. Aside from both my family and professors encouraging me to continue my studies, I was interested in how the FES Planning Program could provide me with the opportunity to design a study that suited my own interests. When I realized the Planning Program at York would allow me to showcase what I felt were my strongest assets in terms of research and planning, I knew that FES at York was the place for me.

What made you want to get involved with PLANit, and what is the best thing about it? As a past member of FUSS, I felt that becoming a member of PLANit would assist me in the ways that other student groups did during my undergrad. My desire was to meet fellow students who shared similar interests to mine and discover ways to draw our entire student body into an ongoing discussion familiarizing each other with the planning concerns of past and current generations. I would say that I joined the PLANit team to engage with other students within the program and be a part of the student planning community.

What are your academic interests? What is your POS title? What are some potential major research topics? Coming into the MES program I was interested in examining the inequalities that exist and arise within cities (for Canadian-born individuals and immigrants) and how planning tools do or do not address these inequalities. When asked to develop my own Plan of Study, I realized I was fascinated with how social inequality could be enlarged through the planning of mega events and the large-scale developments these events entail. In a brief rundown, my POS is generally based on interpreting the social transformations that arise prior to and following the planning of mega events. My goal is to develop a sounder approach to mega events planning that takes into account social planning aspects and achieves a set of social contributions that influence local communities.

What are your non-academic interests? Spending time with family, futbol and football, music, food (Portuguese and Jamaican…but there aren’t many foods I don’t like!)

 

hanaHana Drdla: Graphics Promotion

What is your hometown?
 Toronto

Where did you do your undergrad and what did you study?
 Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Management) at York University

Why did you choose planning? 
I saw planning as a way to apply my undergrad to a new field that I felt I could be more creative in, while still expanding on the same topics that have always interested me.

Why did you choose York?
 York’s MES program offers a tremendous amount of support and opportunities for learning and professional development. Its flexibility allows students to focus on their interests while being surrounded by individuals of diverse backgrounds whose knowledge and ideas are fluidly exchanged. I also loved the tight-knit community of FES in my undergrad.

What made you want to get involved with PLANit? 
Being completely new to planning, I wanted to become involved in the planning community, and what better place to start than with your peers.

What are your academic interests? POS title or research interests?
Very broadly, I am interested in urban design. My main interest is the relationship between the built environment, social behaviour and quality of life. How can we design public spaces in a way that best encourages people’s health and safety while facilitating transportation and economic development?

What are your non academic interests?
 When not in class, I’m drinking tea, doing crafts, exercising, traveling or hanging with my cat and Netflix

darDar Sadettan: Vice Chair

What is your hometown? Bradford, ON

Where did you do your undergrad and what did you study? Georgian College, then completed a joint program at Thompson Rivers University, Tourism Management

Why did you choose planning? I have a passion for tourism and the sustainability of our environment. During my undergrad, I developed an interest for planning and the development of sustainable tourism destinations. As part of my profession, I helped reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emission by advocating to employees the use of sustainable modes of transportation to get to work instead of driving alone. Through both education and profession, I realized that I could help make a difference by choosing planning as a profession.

Why did you choose York? I chose York because of the flexibility of the Master’s program. I knew with my combined passion for tourism and the environment (rare combination), York would give me that freedom to choose particular courses pertaining to my field of study and determine my own pathway.

What made you want to get involved with PLANit? I’m really interested in getting involved in the MES Planning community. In my profession, I was a part of the executive committee for the Newmarket Young Professionals Group, a program of the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce. Also, I’m a part of the executive committee for Help-Portrait Newmarket. My involvement in both organizations allowed me to interact and engage within the business community and the general public. Organizations like these that make a difference is something I value and want to be a part of. PLANit has designed a great program for MES grads and I look forward to working with the committee to carrying out the events and new initiatives for this coming year.

What are your academic interests? POS title? My POS title is “Environmental Planning and Sustainable Development”. My academic interests are in tourism, and the sustainability of indigenous cultures and their environment. More tourists are choosing holiday destinations based on the quality and diversity of cultural experiences. Economic growth is critically important and invaluable for many indigenous societies and communities, however oftentimes hindering their identity and natural environment as the development of tourism takes place. This situation poses great threat and challenges towards the sustainability of indigenous cultures. Another academic interest is researching sustainability strategies that would assist all levels of governments, businesses and local communities to assist the growth of tourism, at the same time incorporate plans and strategies to protect and preserve indigenous cultures worldwide.

What are your non-academic interests? Toronto Raptors, Travelling, Movies, Summer BBQs

 

Anthony scociaAnthony R. Soscia: Undergraduate Liaison

What is your hometown? Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada

Where did you complete your undergrad, and what did you study? I received my Honours Bachelor of Arts from York University and graduated summa cum laude majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in Urban Studies.

Why did you choose planning? Taking urban studies courses during my undergrad at York, I became fascinated with the role of planners and how they could help shape cities for future generations. I also wanted to “make big plans; [and] aim high in hope and work”, so I knew planning was the best option for me (Daniel Burnham).

Why did you choose FES and York University? After being at York University for four years, I knew that the learning environment here was the best for me. I chose FES because the planning program allows for students to design their own plan of study. Additionally, the wide range of courses offered at FES allows students to master in an area of planning that they are particularly interested in. Furthermore, the focus on planning, urban development and environmental issues all spoke to me.

What made you want to get involved with PLANit? Throughout my undergrad at York, I was very involved with many school organizations and clubs. Joining PLANit was another way to get involved with the school and planning community while also allowing myself to help bridge the gap between the MES and the undergraduate programs I really enjoyed being a part of at York.

What are your academic interests? I have a number of academic interests including: Planning for EcoDistricts, mega development projects (sports stadiums/arenas, shopping malls, theme parks, universities), master planning, sustainable development, and the history of the post-war suburbs and its connection to lifestyle and identity formation via consumption.

What are your non-academic interests? Playing and watching soccer… Go Swansea City!!!, baseball, stadiums, running, watching anime, James Bond 007 (Yes, Sir Roger Moore is the best Bond), The Walking Dead, listening to Jónsi, pretending to be an urban flâneur, and playing one of my many ukuleles.

 

julesU of T/ Ryerson Liaison: Julianne Kucheran

What is your hometown? Vancouver, BC

Where did you do your undergrad, and what did you study? Simon Fraser University in beautiful British Columbia. I completed a BSc in Environmental Sciences, with a Minor in Kinesiology.

Why did you choose to study Planning? Planning is the perfect mix of disciplines to satisfy my curiosity for many things. I am mostly interested in the social side of Planning: health promotion and policy, access to facilities and programs, housing, and equity in neighbourhood planning. I am also really interested in novel ways things can be done, whether it be in the built environment, or in the realm of environmental planning and integration of more natural and green spaces into planning.

Why did you choose FES and York? Out of the many planning schools across Canada, York is one of the only schools to use equity and environmental and social justice as a lens to view all environmental studies topics and planning issues. I love that FES at York has such a great history of establishing itself as a progressive, one-of-a kind faculty since the 60s, and I am proud to be educated within such a historic program and institution.

 

amandatAmanda Turner: Social Media and Promotions Rep

What is your hometown?

Windsor, Ontario

Where did you do your undergrad, and what did you study?

University of Windsor, I majored in Environmental Studies, with a minor in Political Science.

Why did you choose to study Planning?

I plan to do my MES research on the air pollution problem in Beijing, China. I feel that having a planning background will provide me with the knowledge to appropriately consult with China in an attempt to alleviate their air pollution issues through proper planning and city building.

What made you want to get involved with PLANit, and what is the best thing about it?

I decided to join PLANit as a means to network within the planning department with fellow students, alumni and faculty. I want to be able to contribute to the planning society here at York and thought this would be a great place to start out.

What are your academic interests?  What are some potential major research topics?

My academic interests are centered on Environmental Studies and Planning. My major research topic areas include environment and health, air pollution and health and planning in terms of alleviating air pollution problems. I plan on doing my research on Beijing, China as a case study.

 

Ryan Brown: OPPI Representative

What is your hometown? West Toronto, born and raised. It was on the playground where I spent most of my days.

Where did I do my undergrad? I did my undergrad here at York, I was an honours specialization in Urban Studies!

Why Did I choose FES at York? I had a fantastic experience throughout my undergrad and really enjoyed working with the staff, it was the natural choice!

What got me interested in PlanIT? I was a part of a council throughout my undergrad and had an amazing time. Really want to get the full experience of MES and this is a perfect medium for that. I have an opportunity to work with some really special minds, in my colleagues, and make this year a memorable for not only eachother, but the rest of the student body.

Academic interests? I’ve always been interested in housing, policy and homelessness, but since enrolling with MES I’m finding my research interests are really broadening. Today my POS is concerned with how neighbourhood design facilitates social wellbeing within low income neighbourhoods. Who knows about tomorrow though!

Non-Academic Interests? Huge bookworm, when I don’t have my nose in social policy or neighbourhood design literature, I am definitely reading any type of fiction. Aside from reading, I am a music junkie (If MES fails, you can wait for my rap career), and love me some Toronto sports teams, despite their rather blasse attitude towards my emotional well-being.