What is Future Cities Canada?
Future Cities Canada is a collaborative platform that harnesses the momentum for change already in progress in cities.
It brings together people, ideas, platforms and innovations from across sectors to address two of the most pressing issues of our time: inequality and climate change and their consequential challenges facing cities.
Drawing on the expertise of its founding organizations and together with a diverse and growing network of partners, Future Cities Canada’s unique collaborative infrastructure will accelerate innovation to build regenerative, inclusive cities of the future.
Now is the time for us to realize the potential of cities
The opportunities to transform cities are growing at an unprecedented rate:
- Canada’s governments have committed $750 billion over the next 10 years, sparking private investment that can multiply it sevenfold.
- The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) recognize the central role of urbanization in sustainable development to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” This priority will shape public policy and development finance for the next 15 years, making the “urban SDG” a tremendous opportunity for cities.
- Cities are leading the way toward the Paris Agreement commitments, with mayors across the globe setting bold carbon reduction targets and creating decisive implementation plans.
- New technologies allow responsive cities to monitor, connect and share insight-bearing data at an exceptional scale.
- The Government of Canada has made commitments to advance reconciliation and renew a nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples. There is increasing recognition of the value of restoring Indigenous presence to our urban spaces across the country.
Future Cities Canada is the cross-sector collaborative platform Canada needs to accelerate innovation to transform cities for the benefit of us all.
Who we are
The groundwork for Future Cities Canada began three years ago when Evergreen and McConnell Foundation came together on the We Are Cities campaign. We engaged thousands of citizens, asking them to imagine an agenda for the future of our cities. In the end, five priority areas for action were recognized.
A subsequent report, Towards a Civic Commons Strategy, revealed the need for a collaborative infrastructure to catalyze inclusive urban innovation for our cities. It became clear we needed Future Cities Canada.
With founding partners the McConnell Foundation, TD Bank Group, Evergreen, Maison de l'innovation sociale and Community Foundations of Canada, and an ever-growing network of partners, this collaboration provides the required infrastructure for us to collectively imagine our future, focusing on four areas of urban innovation:
- Capital: How can we develop new ways to align public, private and philanthropic resources to advance inclusive, low-carbon growth?
- Infrastructure: How can we test and scale new approaches in carbon reduction and resilience planning, forge private-public sector relationships to commercialize clean urban technologies, and build community partnerships to create a thriving civic commons?
- Governance: How can we advance hybrid collaborative governance, foster more nimble cooperation among public sectors, industry and civil society, and grow an evidence base to support city-government innovation?
- Participation: How can we scale new modes of civic engagement, and build a greater capacity for local governments and communities to participate in problem solving?
Now is the time to realize the potential of cities, but we can’t do it alone. Together we must step forward to ensure Canada continues to be a leader in building and shaping thriving cities of tomorrow – cities that are equitable, regenerative and prosperous for all:
- Equitable: Where social and economic inequalities are eradicated, and opportunity and access are inclusive and accessible to all.
- Regenerative: Where improving the state of the natural environment is the aim.
- Prosperous: Where economic opportunities are abundant for everyone.
Future Cities Canada will find new ways to accelerate innovation to transform cities for the benefit of us all.
Geoff Cape, Evergreen
Geoff Cape is the founder and CEO of Evergreen. Since being founded in 1991, Evergreen has evolved into a national organization focused on integrating people, natural and built worlds, turning spaces into great places.
Selected in 1999 as one of Canada’s “Top 40 Under 40” by The Globe and Mail Report on Business magazine, Geoff has also been honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in recognition of “Canadians who have made outstanding and exemplary contributions to their communities or to Canada as a whole.” Geoff was invested into the Order of Canada in 2018 for his outstanding achievement and leadership in creating sustainable, thriving urban environments in schools, public spaces and communities across the country. Geoff has been a regular participant and speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and is on the “Future of Urban Development Advisory Board” and the “Technology Pioneers Selection Committee” for the World Economic Forum.
Geoff provides leadership to the strategic direction and vision of Future Cities Canada.
Ian Bird, Community Foundations of Canada
Ian is President of Community Foundations of Canada, where he explores opportunities to mobilize a diverse network of community-based philanthropists to achieve greater collective impact across the country. From expanding the organization’s circle of champions to include new voices and expertise, to building new partnerships based on common interests and outcomes, Ian has worked hard to leverage the power of collaboration and find new ways for the movement to address complex issues facing Canadian communities, such as belonging, inclusion and reconciliation.
Under Ian’s leadership Community Foundations of Canada established a landmark Smart & Caring Communities initiative and he was also instrumental in founding and incubating the Rideau Hall Foundation, and served as its first Executive Director for from 2013 to 2015. He spearheaded Community Foundations of Canada’s work towards Canada’s sesquicentennial via the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th and is now helping guide that work beyond 2017 using the Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for communities.
Jayne Engle, Cities for People, McConnell Foundation
Dr. Jayne Engle leads Cities for People at the McConnell Foundation, an initiative which aims to increase urban equality, in ways that create the city as a commons. Jayne has worked globally at the intersections of city planning and revitalization, urban policy innovation, collaborative governance and social change. Her experience spans urban development in US cities to participatory research in post-earthquake Haiti. She worked in policy at Groundwork UK in London, founded a Business Improvement District in Pittsburgh, was Co-President of the Ecocity World Summit in Montreal, and directed The Entrepreneurship Centre in Slovakia.
Jayne is passionate about bridging innovative community action on the ground with policy and systems change, particularly in ways that foster freedom in people and the right to human flourishing. She is Adjunct Professor, McGill University School of Urban Planning, and holds a Master of Urban and Regional Planning, an MBA in real estate development, and a PhD in Urban Planning, Policy and Design.
Jayne provides leadership to the strategic direction and vision of Future Cities Canada.
Patrick Dubé, Maison de l’innovation sociale
Patrick Dubé co-director of MIS Maison de l’innovation sociale, an organization dedicated to developing social innovation capabilities and the emergence of social entrepreneurs in Quebec.
Following a master’s degree in anthropology and doctoral studies on the theory of complexity, Patrick began a research career in the medical sector. From 2006, he supported organizations in the development of their creative and innovative practices. From 2011 to 2017, he co-directed the research department at the Society for Arts and Technology (SAT). In 2013, he founded Umvelt Service Design, a consulting firm specializing in open innovation.
In recent years, he has contributed to the emergence of a community of Living Labs in Quebec. He is now involved in developing networks of practices in social innovation and in the development of smart and inclusive cities across the country.
Future Cities Canada Fellows are nationally and internationally recognized leaders who provide expertise on major urban issues to help Future Cities Canada advance action to transition cities towards equitable, regenerative and prosperous futures.
Chair of the Ryerson City Building Institute
Appointed Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Special Advisor at Ryerson University, Dr. Golden serves as Chair of the Ryerson City Building Institute. Her current commitments include membership on the Metrolinx Board, the GTA regional transit agency, and membership on the Advisory Board of Challenge Factory.
In 2014, Dr. Golden spent three months at the Woodrow Wilson Center in DC, as a Visiting Policy Scholar, doing research on governance of regional transit systems. Dr. Golden was the President and CEO of The Conference Board of Canada, the country’s foremost independent not-for-profit applied research organization, from 2001 to 2012. Previously, she was President of the United Way of Greater Toronto for 14 years. Dr. Golden was appointed as a member of the Order of Canada in 2003 and as a member of the Order of Ontario in 2013. She has received eight honorary doctorates and a number of awards, including the Canadian Urban Institute’s Jane Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2016 Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership.
Dr. Golden is providing strategic input on the Infrastructure Lab and thought leadership for the FUTURE CITIES CANADA program.
Richard Marceau Chair & Associate Professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Dan Hoornweg is the Richard Marceau Chair and Associate Professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), and the Chief Safety and Risk Officer for the Province of Ontario (Technical Standards and Safety Authority, TSSA). He is a recognized global expert in urban resilience, sustainable cities, and community consultation and participation for better service delivery.
Mr. Hoornweg was Lead Advisor in the World Bank’s Urban Development Anchor overseeing the Sustainable Cities and Climate Change programs, and managed approximately $5 billion in infrastructure investments in more than 300 national and sub-national governments, as well as their agencies and utilities. Mr. Hoornweg remains an advisor to the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Green Climate Fund, Global Environment Facility, Asian Development Bank as well as local agencies and governments.
Dan Hoornweg is providing thought leadership for the FUTURE CITIES CANADA program and strategic input for the Infrastructure Lab.
Director of Business Development and Philanthropy for Troon Technologies, Founder of the Centre for Indigenous Innovation and Technology
Mr. Leaman is currently is the Director of Business Development and Philanthropy for Troon Technologies and the Founder of the Centre for Indigenous Innovation and Technology, where he is building the capacity for Indigenous digital innovation and data sovereignty. He is Anishinaabe (Ojibway) from Magnetawan First Nation. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Human Resource Management with a minor degree in Native Studies from Trent University, and a Master’s degree in Industrial Relations through the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University.
Jarret was awarded The Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers (by the Governor General of Canada on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II) for his work in the Indigenous and LGBT2S communities. Mr. Leaman also leads Ayaabe Management, where he works with Indigenous talent in the entertainment industry.
Jarret Leaman is providing strategic insight for the FUTURE CITIES CANADA program and leading a masterclass for the 2019 Future Cities Canada Summit on Indigenous Digital Innovation and Data Sovereignty.
Director and Associate Professor in the Ryerson School of Urban and Regional Planning
Pamela Robinson is director and associate professor in the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson and a professional planner. As part of the geothink.ca 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.
Her research has supported the work of the City of Toronto, Waterfront Toronto, Metrolinx, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Infrastructure Canada. She serves on the board of directors of the Metcalf Foundation, sits on the Toronto Public Library’s Innovation Council and is a member of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum for the Government of Canada’s Open Government Partnership work.
Pamela Robinson is providing strategic input on the Community Solutions Network and thought leadership on smart cities for the FUTURE CITIES CANADA program.
President and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute
Mary is a leading urban advocate and civil society leader who has worked in cities across Canada and the United States. President and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute, she has served as an urban advocate and community leader, including serving as Executive Vice President of the Municipal Art Society of New York (MASNYC), one of America’s oldest civic advocacy organizations focused on the built environment. With the US-based blue moon fund, she worked with national philanthropy, governments and local communities in New Orleans to support rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina.
Mary was also President of the Canadian platform Ideas That Matter, a convening and publishing program based on the work of renowned urbanist Jane Jacobs. She brings an extensive international network of practitioners from government, industry, community activism, and the city-building professions.
Mary Rowe is providing strategic input on the Future Cities Canada Summit and thought leadership for the FUTURE CITIES CANADA program.
Environmental Lawyer and President of Saxe Facts
Dr. Saxe is one of Canada’s most respected environmental lawyers, with 40+ years’ unparalleled experience writing, interpreting, and litigating Ontario’s energy and environmental laws. Dr. Saxe is now heading Saxe Facts, a business providing strategic advice and presentations on climate, energy and environment.
From 2015 to 2019, Dr. Dianne Saxe was the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. She was appointed unanimously by all MPPs to report to the Legislature on Ontario’s environmental, energy and climate performance, and to be the guardian of the Environmental Bill of Rights. Dr. Saxe has more than 20 years’ experience on public and private boards, including Draxis board and audit committee (public issuer). She has received many prestigious awards, including Toronto’s first Environmental Lawyer of the Year, selected by Best Lawyer, the Osgoode Hall Alumni Gold Key for Achievement, and the Ontario Bar Association Distinguished Service Award. She is also a honourary member of For Our Grandchildren and Women for Nature. She is a McMurtry Clinical Fellowship holder, Osgoode Hall Law School and Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, 2019-2020.
Dr. Saxe is providing thought leadership for the FUTURE CITIES CANADA program and key strategic direction on building low-carbon cities.
Professor of Professional Practice and Executive Director of Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue
Shauna Sylvester is a Professor of Professional Practice and the Executive Director of Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue (SFU). She is an award-winning social entrepreneur, facilitator, and commentator. She was the Co-founder and Executive Director of five initiatives – the SFU Public Square, Renewable Cities, Carbon Talks, Canada's World and IMPACS - the Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society. She has served on the boards of Vancity, Vancity Capital, Mountain Equipment Cooperative, the BC Assessment Authority and several non-profit boards.
Shauna is committed to excellence in public engagement and hosting difficult conversations. For over 30 years, she has served as a facilitator and host to hundreds of community and stake-holder dialogues related to sustainability, poverty reduction, democracy, urban planning, transportation and climate change. She has a passion for cities and has served as the lead facilitator for the Mayor’s Task Force on Affordable Housing in Burnaby and Vancouver and the convener of Moving in a Livable Region - a consortium of transportation and land use planning leaders in Metro Vancouver. Shauna serves as the Chair of the Tamarack Institute and brings her curiosity and experience as a mother, community-builder and care-giver to support the health, resilience and vibrancy of our cities and local communities.
Shauna Sylvester is helping guide our west coast strategy and providing thought leadership on housing and low-carbon economies for the FUTURE CITIES CANADA program.