Jamie Unwin just completed a Master in Environmental Studies (Planning) at York University in 2014.

Born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Jamie completed her bachelor’s degree in Seattle at the University of Washington where she also competed nationally on the Women’s Varsity Rowing Team.  Between graduating from the University of Washington and coming to York, she lived and worked in Whistler and New Zealand, and spent two years WWOOFing and interning on small scale organic farms in BC on Salt Spring Island, and in Duncan.  Following this, she returned to Vancouver to start up the micro scale urban farm Backyard Eats.  Jamie’s experiences in a variety of countries and cities have nurtured her love of planning and its ability to impact the way we relate to our built and natural environments.

Photo credit: Backyard Eats

During her time in the MES Planning Program at York, Jamie had the opportunity to develop her own Program of Study, focused around Planning for Resilient Regional Canadian Food Systems. This was a truly eye opening experience.  Working with phenomenal faculty members like Rod MacRae and Peter Victor, coupled with the support of Planning Director Laura Taylor, made it possible for Jamie to remain on the learning edge of her academic, professional, and social boundaries throughout her time in the program. She describes it as being one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of her life.

Jamie was involved in student life in the Faculty of Environmental Studies since the beginning of her time there. Acting as chair of MES’s Planning Student Association PLANit in her first year, and more recently holding the position of Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) National Student Representative, made her experience in MES that much more rewarding.

Co-created by Roxy Shiell, George Liu, & Jamie Unwin

In her time as National Student Representative, Jamie was also a CIP Board Member. In this role, she gained experience with national level governance, working with CIP to advance the planning profession through strong professional networks, and advocating on planning issues that relate to the public’s best interest, all while delivering relevant membership services. In her position as the CIP Student Representative, Jamie co-created the CIP Student and Academic Engagement Committee which is working to identify the best options going forward for CIP to engage with students and academia.

Jamie’s recently completed Major Research Project was entitled Resilient Food Systems for Canadian Cities: Facilitating change through an exploratory study of the Canadian Institute of Planners.  Her research addresses the need to build a community across sectors and encourage interdisciplinary knowledge sharing to form innovative solutions to the highly complex and interconnected systematic problems associated with food insecurity. It has the potential to help us understand how the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) can increase Registered Professional Planners (RPPs) capacity to innovate and implement food policy initiatives to trigger food systems change for resilient regional communities across Canada.


Connect with Jamie


Twitter @CIPstudentRep & @CitiesEat,

E-mail CIPstudentRep@gmail.com

Fine out more about CIP and Student Planning Associations across Canada at DialogueforInnovation.ca the website created by Jamie during her run for CIP Student Representative.

Articles by Jamie can be found in the Fall 2013, Spring 2014, and Summer 2014 Plan Canada Journal