Building the future of livable cities together
Ryerson University hosted its second AIMdayTM on November 25, 2021 on the theme of the Future of Livable Cities. The event, co-hosted with City Building Ryerson in partnership with Queen’s University, brought researchers together with public and private organizations to advance solutions for sustainable cities.
Initiated by Uppsala University in Sweden and utilized by leading universities around the world, AIMday – or Academic Industry Meeting day – is a unique and highly-effective global program that fosters opportunities for cooperation between external organizations and universities. Through a series of one-hour workshops, each dedicated to a specific question, connections and collaborations are established between organizations and university-based researchers, leading to innovative solutions to real-world problems.
“Today, universities around the world are using AIMday and we’re very glad that Uppsala University has chosen Ryerson as its Canadian AIMday partner,” said Johannes Dyring, Ryerson’s assistant vice-president, business development and strategic initiatives, during his opening remarks.
City Building Ryerson’s academic director Pamela Robinson noted the variety of topics that influence a community’s livability. “Through this collaborative and… innovative event, we hope to address the ongoing challenges that impact the quality of life in our cities, including things like climate change, both mitigation and adaptation, greener infrastructure, pollution, housing, transit and transportation, public administration, [and] community health and safety,” she said.
“The adage that many hands make for lighter lifting is important to think about where a range of diverse individuals with different backgrounds and expertise [come] into a room to discuss a research problem,” said Jim Banting, Queen’s University’s assistant vice-principal, partnerships and innovation. He emphasized that such opportunities “can often result in very unique, novel and interesting solutions”.
During the virtual event, 46 researchers in disciplines ranging from urban planning to computer science matched up with eight public and private organizations in workshops that explored innovative approaches to tackling challenges linked to the day’s theme.
Organizations such as municipal governments and engineering firms attended. Participants included the City of Kingston, the City of Toronto, the Condominium Authority of Ontario, Entuitive, FutureCite, H.H. Angus, Halton Regional Police, Peel Regional Police and Ohanna A.I., as well as resource partners Mitacs, the Ontario Centre of Innovation, SOSCIP and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Nearly 100 people participated, and opportunities for networking were provided to them throughout the day.