victoriaCo-Chair

Victoria Ho

What is your hometown?

Waterloo, Ontario

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

University of Ottawa, Honours BSocSc International Development

Why did you choose to study Planning?

As an overly-curious person, Planning works for me because I can sweep together my varied interests into one professional field.  The physical environment, food systems, housing, social relations, political economy, conflict resolution… Planning offers multiple access points and allows me to specialize within a broader field.

Why did you choose FES and York?

York’s boundary-pushing faculty and academic environment came highly recommended to me. As I delved further into the research conducted at FES and the faculty’s unique perspectives on education, I knew that York would be a great fit. Importantly, I enjoy having the option to conduct research while working towards a professional degree.

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

Let’s be honest – York is a big place in an even bigger city. Getting involved with PLANit was a logical choice for me; I wanted to better understand the field of planning at large while helping to shape a social and professional space within the program.  The best part of PLANit is how it acts as a launching pad for ideas. We seek to capture everyone’s vision of an optimal academic experience.

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

I’m interested in Planning as a reconciliation mechanism, specifically with respect to Agricultural Land Use. We are all bound to the land, yet inextricably divided for many reasons. My research addresses these issues of social exclusion and environmental health, focusing on Planning for Urban Farmers in Canada. Specifically, I will investigate the changing identity of farmers in Canada and land capability for food production within urban areas. My research aims to strategize a national food systems policy that protects land for agricultural purposes, in order to move from an oil-based industrial food system.

What are your non-academic interests?

Being outdoors with trees and dirt, or indoors with books and a cat.

 

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Cathy Zhao

What is your hometown?

I was born in Qingdao, China, but grew up in Toronto.

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

At the University of Toronto, I did a double major in Environmental Policy and Human Geography, and a minor in German Studies.

Why did you choose to study Planning?

I interned at the City of Toronto Planning Department one summer, and I realized that planning might just be my calling. I am really interested in how to integrate district energy into communities, so it seemed like a great fit.

Why did you choose FES and York?

I chose FES because of the freedom it gave me to plan by own program, and because it had fantastic professors like Jose Etcheverry that I really wanted the opportunity to work with.

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

I always enjoyed getting involved with student groups/association because I think it is the easiest way to meet great people and get to know my peers. I also enjoy planning events and seeing others enjoy participating in these events. The best part of getting involved with PLANit is meeting people and becoming great friends! (It also looks good on my resume of course)

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

My academic interest is in energy planning. I aim to understand how municipalities have an active role in instrumenting energy planning in cities by viewing energy, specifically electricity production, as a land use issue. A potential MRP I have been considering is to survey how and to what extent do municipalities in Ontario influence the adoption and implementation of Community Energy Plans (CEP), in order to provide economic opportunities and energy security to local communities when cities are faced with changes in climate, demographics and land use.

What are your non-academic interests?

Drinking tea, watching TV shows, arts and craft, swimming and cycling (in the summer).

tedSocial Media Extraordinaire

Edward Nichol

What is your hometown?

Lindsay, Ontario

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

McMaster University in Hamilton, I majored in Geography and Environmental Studies.

Why did you choose to study Planning?

While working for a non-profit environmental organization in Hamilton, I developed an interest in stormwater management and the impacts of urban land use on the natural environment.

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

I joined PLANit to become more involved in the student planning community and to help deliver useful information to students.

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

My current focus is on Environmental Planning,  and I hope to research urban shoreline restoration and landscape ecology potential in Toronto.

anthonytCo-Chair

Anthony Taylor

What is your hometown? Parksville, British Columbia, but I was in Victoria for around 9 years prior to moving out here in August 2013.

Where did you do your undergrad, and what did you study? I did an Honours degree in Political Science at the University of Victoria

Why did you choose to study Planning? I always thought I was going to go to law school and had never really had any exposure to planning. In my final semester of undergrad I took a course in urban political thought, and started to see the urban environment as the space in which the political theory I studied played out in reality. As I became more familiar with planning as an area of study and a profession, I came to see it as a sort of practitioner of political science, and a way I could turn my passion into a profession.

Why did you choose FES and York?

MES Professor Roger Keil came and spoke in the class I mentioned above, and it was a great first impression about the program. The ideological slant of the faculty, and the emphasis it places on the social justice and environmental issues that I care about – there was really never any question about where I wanted to be. It’s a good thing they let me in, because all my eggs were sort of in one basket.

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

There were a few factors. I would say the biggest one would be the increased opportunity to shape my experience here. It’s a great opportunity to have your thumb on the pulse of all the different things going on in the community. And since I was a new and small fish in a big pond, it forced people to at least pretend to be my friend.

What are your academic interests? What is your POS title? What are some potential major research topics?

My POS title is something like Planning, Space, Social Relations, and Development. My interest in planning really began in the slums and squatter communities of the global south, but it has now expanded to include most everything. The cool thing about FES is if you are interested in literally everything, like I am, you can make that work. I like to think a lot about the relationship between an individual’s position in social space, and how that is reflected in physical space, and vice versa, and currently, I am thinking a lot about housing policy. I am primarily concerned with social justice and more equitable development outcomes.

What are your non-academic interests?

Sports, yoga, music, The Denver Broncos, The Boston Red Sox, Indian food, single malt scotch, and my dog Bolt.

MonicaEvents Coordinator

Monica Silberberg

What is your hometown?

I was born in Thornhill, and moved to North York when I was 9

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

I Received my Hon. Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto in 2012 completing majors in Urban Studies and History, and a minor in Human Geography.

Why did you choose to study Planning?

After finishing a major in urban studies I knew that I wanted to pursue a professional career in Planning, so doing a Masters in Planning seemed like the next logical step.

Why did you choose FES and York?

I chose to come to York for a few reasons. The Planning program allows students the flexibility to study what they want, explore a wide variety of subjects, and the opportunity to design your own experience. Moreover, they provided me with great resources to pursue my studies and have an impressive faculty with a wide range of expertise.

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

I chose to get involved with PLANit because my biggest regret in my undergrad was not getting involved enough with student organizations. I’m proud to be a part of the PLANit team because I get to work with an incredible group of ambitious, hardworking, and inspiring students. I chose to get involved with PLANit specifically because of its mandate to build camaraderie amongst Planning students by providing outlets for learning and networking with professional planners, and to always remain open to all MES students.

What are your academic interests? What is your POS title? What are some potential major research topics?

The title of my Plan of Study is “Cultural Considerations for Urban and Regional Planning.” It is broadly based on understanding, conserving, and utilizing built cultural heritage in urban regions. Though a significant component, cultural heritage goes beyond simply preserving old and historic buildings. It involves a broader understanding of how identity is connected to the built environment, and how a place is valued and interpreted by the local community. My studies will explore how cultural landscapes are created and maintained, and the relationship between cultural heritage and economic development in an urban region.

What are your non-academic interests?

Travelling the world.

Dancing – I went to an arts school from grades 4-12, danced with UofT’s ‘Silhouettes Dance Company’ for 4 years, I am trained in tap, jazz, contemporary, ballet and acro.

Watching the Simpsons and history documentaries.

Eating chocolate and food in general MMMMM!