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Urban Innovation Cafe

Urban Innovation Café

Urban Innovation Café

Bringing TMU knowledge to meet public curiosity

In our Urban Innovation Café series, we convene diverse leaders, researchers and policy makers in panels led by an expert moderator to discuss current urban innovations and their potential to solve big problems.

Latest Series

Toronto Metropolitan University is home to multiple centres, institutes and living labs devoted to urban research and innovation actively shaping the future of the city – making it more equitable, sustainable and resilient. 

Our latest Urban Innovation Café discussion series showcases what our urban centres are all about: addressing real-world challenges in mobility, energy, ecology, real estate and housing, and unlocking new potential for cities. Witness TMU Urban Innovation in Action!

Powering the Future: the Forefront of Urban Energy Research

Took place Wednesday, November 30, 2022

The Centre for Urban Energy (CUE) at Toronto Metropolitan University is an academic-industry partnership focused on delivering novel, tangible, sustainable and affordable solutions to the pressing energy problems of today – and tomorrow. In this session, CUE Research Fellows Dr. Thiago Fernandes and Dr. Ahmed Shaharyar Khwaja delve into their work and applied projects into ensuring smooth, sustainable electricity supply within urban regions, reducing both electricity usage and cost, and developing smart grid technologies. Moderated by Dr. Pamela Robinson, School of Urban and Regional Planning.

Healthy Water, Healthy City: New Studies in Water Management and Freshwater Science

Took place Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Urban Water TMU is a research collective of over 40 experts across 13 departments at Toronto Metropolitan University. Together, they are advancing a broad spectrum of water management strategies and policies to safeguard water resources and build resilience for urban regions. Join us for a wide-ranging conversation with Dr. Darko Joksimovic (Civil Engineering), Dr. Claire Oswald (Geography and Environmental Studies), Dr. Stephanie Melles (Chemistry and Biology) and Barry Orr (Flushability Lab) about impacts of modern urban life on water systems, and their projects to find solutions to pressing issues related to wastewater and environmental pollution. Moderated by Dr. Pamela Robinson, School of Urban and Regional Planning.

The Urban Farm at TMU: Bringing Ecology and Food Sovereignty to Rooftops in the City 

Took place Wednesday, November 16, 2022

In a city with more than 700 green roofs, the Urban Farm at TMU is proud to have launched the first rooftop farm to be built as a result of Toronto’s Green Roof Bylaw. This is the Urban Farm’s second rooftop farm location; the space is dedicated to growing culturally-significant crops and food sovereignty knowledge mobilization. Join Black-led Programs Coordinator, Nicole Austin, and Research Coordinator, Sharene Shafie, to learn more about what the Urban Farm does, how it benefits the campus and community, and to hear about future plans to help grow more rooftop farms across the City of Toronto. Moderated by Cherise Burda, City Building TMU.

Addressing the National Housing Deficit with Urban Analytics Institute

Took place Friday, November 11, 2022

The Urban Analytics Institute at Toronto Metropolitan University researches data-driven solutions to urban issues, producing insights on a variety of topics, focused mainly on real estate and housing economics, consumer finance and smart cities. Its current research explores the future of urban transportation given the broad switch to telework, and ways to increase housing supply in Canada and restore affordability. In this session led by Dr. Murtaza Haider (Professor, Real Estate Management, TRSM), we discuss UAI’s comprehensive review of the reasons behind the accumulation of a national housing deficit approaching four million dwelling units, and the changes in policy, strategies and designs needed to build housing at scale, with Assistant Professors in Real Estate Management Dr. Kiana Basiri and Dr. Anson Ho, and research associate Meet Shah

Is Transportation Planning Undergoing a Major Shift?

Took place Thursday, October 27, 2022

TransForm Lab at Toronto Metropolitan University explores mobility and land use planning through studies and applied projects, and research from this lab has helped shape public policy in Toronto and beyond. In this session, we hear from TransForm Lab’s leaders, Dr. Raktim Mitra and Dr. Matthias Sweet of the School of Urban and Regional Planning, and research associates Remington Latanville and Attiya Haseeb, about their observations on the future of mobility in the city, focusing on recent case studies and analyses of travel behaviour and perceptions of current and emerging transportation options; and planning, policy and tactical urbanism solutions, including those arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic era. Transportation planning is changing…are we in a “trial and error” period, or experiencing a major shift? Moderated by Dr. Pamela Robinson

Past Presentations

Smart City Framework -- Connecting Urban Innovation

February 16, 2022


  • Steve Czajka, Program Manager, Smart City, City of Mississauga 
  • Sumit Bhatia, Director, Innovation and Policy, Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst, Toronto Metropolitan University
  • Dr. Pamela Robinson, Professor, School or Urban and Regional Planning, Toronto Metropolitan University

Moderated by Dr. Richard Lachman, Director, Zone Learning and Director, Research Development, The Creative School, Toronto Metropolitan University. 

Opening remarks by Dr. Steven Liss, VP, Research and Innovation, Toronto Metropolitan University.

Neighbourhood Planning for a 15-Minute City

January 25, 2022


  • Andrew Whittemore, Commissioner, Planning and Building, City of Mississauga
  • Rob Spanier, President, Spanier Group and Development Advisor, Lakeview Community Partners Ltd. 
  • Dr. Raktim Mitra, Associate Professor and Associate Director (Undergraduate Programs), School of Urban and Regional Planning, and Co-Director, TransForm Lab, Toronto Metropolitan University
  • Dr. Zhixi Zhuang, Associate Professor, Ryerson School of Urban and Regional Planning, Toronto Metropolitan University

Moderated by Cherise Burda.

Smart Mobility

February 8, 2022


  • Geoff Wright, Commissioner, Transportation and Works, City of Mississauga
  • Geoff Marinoff, Director, Transit, Transportation and Works, City of Mississauga
  • Kate Hatoum, Vice President, Development, DiamondCorp
  • Dr. Bilal Farooq, Canada Research Chair in Disruptive Transportation Technologies and Services, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, and Director of Ryerson LiTrans Lab, Toronto Metropolitan University

Moderated by Dr. Pamela Robinson.

Smart Freight: safe, green and efficient goods delivery 

May 7, 2021

Advanced experts in transportation, management, logistics and cybersecurity discuss today’s challenges related to urban freight, and the future of the industry.

With TMU faculty members Drs. Bilal Farooq, Atefeh Mashatan and Sharareh Taghipour, and Dr. Sabbir Saiyed, Region of Peel. Moderated by Carolyn Kim, Pembina Institute. Opening remarks by Dr. Steven Liss, VP, Research and Innovation, Toronto Metropolitan University.