Research, writing, strategy to guide your city-building ideas.
Uncovering a mission and message your people can get behind.
Hands-on support to take the first steps from idea to reality.
Finding and engaging supporters through stories worth sharing.
I came of age at exactly the right time to be appropriately freaked out about climate change. So in my undergrad years at the University of Guelph, I took action by leading a national rally and organizing flash campaigns with the help and encouragement of my friends. I had to learn a lot on the fly, including online mobilizing, working with volunteers, PR, and basic web development. This is also when I discovered that I love making videos.
After years of activism, I was curious about positive citizenship in the for-profit world. I had the chance to learn by doing with The Next 36 entrepreneurship accelerator in Toronto. For a summer, I joined three co-founders to launch a startup while studying business. The experience taught me a lot about myself, about working on a team, about living in a big city, about power and responsibility, and about the challenges of starting a business.
Despite all this excitement and newness, my mind was still locked on cities. After all, cities can either be a major problem or solution when it comes to a liveable planet. So I left the business in the hands of my co-founders and got back to the books. I interned at an urban studies think tank while researching and writing about the ways suburbs can reimagine themselves. I graduated from the University of Guelph as the 2012 Winegard Medalist and went on to the University of Cambridge to study policies and programs for places in decline. I wrote my thesis on commercial farming within cities and suburbs and graduated with distinction (MPhil Planning, Growth, and Regeneration).
Then I moved to a small city on the East Coast of Canada called Fredericton with a head full of questions. Most of the urban planning world is fixated on managing problems of success (think transit, height-limits, rent inflation). I'm most interested in problems of abandonment or stagnation that affect a ton of otherwise nice places across this continent. I've been learning through action and observation how regular people transform a place. Fredericton has given me lots of practice at being a good neighbour and conducting small experiments in city-building. I've been writing about my projects, thoughts, and encounters on my own blog and at Strong Towns since.