Recent Student Profiles
Susan aspires to be a great Urban Planner for communities in need, representing and advocating for the inclusion of the marginalized voices in planning procedures. Upon completing her Bilingual Honours degree in International Studies from Glendon Campus at York University, Susan found passion to pursue a degree in MES Planning when she visited her hometown that was under redevelopment, in which her friends were mandated to forcibly relocate. The unfamiliar neighbourhood with emerging new businesses that were developing new communities made her seek out for a profession that would work to help identify and integrate old and new communal identities in urbanization processes. This personal event influenced her to focus her research on the continuous issue of gentrification, loss of spatial identity, and the impact of businesses on identity development.
Anthony Dionigi is a current second year MES Planning student, the Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) Student Delegate for the 2014/15 term, and the former OPPI First Year Rep for York University.
Anthony’s planning-related experiences have granted him the opportunity to collaborate and learn from a broad range of community activists, planning professionals, and politicians. During his first internship in the program, Anthony was an assistant to Ward 32 Toronto Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon. The Councillor introduced Anthony to a completely new side of municipal politics, and having begun his term amidst the Billy Bishop Airport expansion debate, he soon understood the tremendous tension between political actors, constituents, and developers.
Aedan developed an interest in planning as a result of research he was conducting around Occupy Toronto for his Honours thesis in Sociology at York. “It became apparent,” Aedan says, “that studying ways that the Global North intervenes through international development was not enough to understand what actually guides development in the Global North. The built environment, guided by urban planning, creates limitations and opportunities for the social environment here in Toronto which have serious implications for what we can and cannot do in our day to day lives.” As a result, Aedan is interested in examining whether planning has proliferated dependencies on inequitable international trade, capitalist modes of urban exchange, and the legacies of settler colonialism that have led to uneven development and uneven social support systems. As an activist researcher, Aedan believes that “our cities are filled with bright, engaged, and skilled communities, and I look to social movements as a source of knowledge production that urban planning could incorporate to better understand urban struggles.”
Nabil was going to become a highschool teacher prior to discovering urban studies in the third year of his undergraduate degree at York. After changing his major to the Specialized Honors program in Geography and Urban Studies, and having the opportunity to work with what he calls “the most engaged professors that (he) had encountered at York,” Nabil chose to pursue his masters at FES over several other Canadian programs. He cites the interdisciplinary approach of the program, the incomparable breadth of research interests in the faculty, and the supportive, engaged, and approachable nature of the staff and faculty in FES as being instrumental in his decision.
Matthew Boscariol is an MES Planning Student interested in the role of local politics and their influence on planning outcomes. He is currently serving a year and half term as the President of the Canadian Association of Planning Students (CAPS-ACÉAU), pushing the organization to establish new partnerships with organizations and planning firms across Canada. The association’s overall mandate is to hold a national conference in a different Canadian city every February, in addition to promoting planning to students with its long-term, and new, partners.
Maria is currently a second year student in the MES Planning Program at York University. She is also an aspiring community planner. Her final research paper is focused on community planning and public participation for cities located in Bosnia. Over her summer term, Maria worked as a consultant for Northwood Neighbourhood Services, a community based organization that strives to improve the well-being of individuals and families by providing applicable programs and services.
I entered MES at York in 2014 with an undergraduate degree in Forestry and Environmental Science with a minor in Chemistry. Needles to say, my science-oriented background greatly influenced my initial approach to planning, which was geared towards Environmental Planning. However, the first few compulsory courses at MES introduced me to interdisciplinary thinking and specially the integration of social sciences and natural sciences. Through this, I was able to expand my initial idea of planning by integrating social and ecological components into my area of concentration.