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About Us

Showcasing city building research and achievement

City Building TMU is a university-wide initiative to facilitate research collaborations, mobilize knowledge and showcase the scholarly, research and creative (SRC) activity happening in city building and urban innovation across the institution. 

At Toronto Metropolitan University, city building takes many forms. Our reputation as a city-focused university lies in our knowledge mobilization, advocacy, outreach and community engagement work, in addition to our research devoted to shaping healthy communities, in areas ranging from sustainability to democracy to technology. For us, city building is about bold thinking that will shape the future of the city we call home as well as urban centres around the globe.

Learn about Toronto Metropolitan's noteworthy city building initiatives, from multi-disciplinary labs and hubs where innovations are developed and tested in real time, to policy research centres tackling critical issues related to urban development, smart cities, social equity, urban sustainability and more.


Dr. Pamela Robinson

Interim Academic Director

Pamela Robinson (MCIP, RPP) is a professor in the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Toronto Metropolitan University, and a registered professional planner. As part of the (external link)  research team, Robinson's research and practice focus on urban sustainability issues with a particular focus on cities and climate change and the use of open data and civic technology to support open government transformations. She serves on the board of directors of the Metcalf Foundation and has participated in four Metrolinx Community Advisory Committees. Robinson is an editor of Urban Sustainability: Reconnecting Space and Place (University of Toronto Press, 2013), Teaching as Scholarship: Preparing Students for Professional Practice in Community Services (WLU Press, 2016) and is a columnist for Spacing magazine.

Cherise Burda

Executive Director

Specializing in timely, relevant and proactive policy research and strategic communications to drive impact, Cherise Burda has authored over 40 policy reports, book chapters and academic publications, as well as dozens of magazine articles and op-eds. In over 20 years as a thought leader, Cherise’s research and activities have directly influenced policy change in Ontario and British Columbia.

As Executive Director of City Building TMU, Cherise leads collaborations and knowledge mobilization strategies for academic research in city building and urban innovation and policy research on issues of sustainable regional planning and development, housing affordability, placemaking and transportation. Her previous roles included Ontario Director of the Pembina Institute, Program Director with the David Suzuki Foundation in Vancouver and Senior Researcher with University of Victoria’s Eco-Research Chair of Environmental Law and Policy.

Cherise holds an M.A. in environmental policy from University of Victoria, as well as a B.Sc. in environmental science and a Bachelor of Education, both from University of Toronto. Cherise has spoken on dozens of panels, is a regular spokesperson and participates on a number public and private sector advisory groups.

Claire Pfeiffer

Communications & Public Relations

Claire Pfeiffer is an accomplished communications and management specialist with a background in the arts, cultural industries and urban development, where she has built a unique set of skills and body of knowledge at organizations such as the Ryerson City Building Institute, Artscape, Ontario Arts Council, Magazines Canada and others. With intrinsic creativity and business sense, she is passionate about driving partnership, engagement and positive profile for mission-driven organizations supporting communities and culture. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Linguistics from Concordia University, and a Master of Publishing from Simon Fraser University.

City Building TMU Academic Council

Dr. Art Munro Blake, History

Dr. Sara Edge, Geography and Environmental Studies

Dr. Bilal Farooq, Civil Engineering

Dr. Chris Gore, Politics and Public Administration

Dr. Tony Hernandez, Real Estate Management, TRSM

Dr. George Kapelos, Architectural Science

professor Jenn McArthur

Dr. Jenn McArthur, Architectural Science

Dr. Dan McGillivray, Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science

Dr. Raktim Mitra, School of Urban and Regional Planning

Dr. Pamela Robinson, School of Urban and Regional Planning

Cheryl Teelucksingh

Dr. Cheryl Teelucksingh, Sociology

Dr. Bala Venkatesh, Civil Engineering

Dr. Zhixi Zhuang, School of Urban and Regional Planning