Ramtin Attar founded Imagine My City based on his passion for city building, civic engagement and collective leadership. Ramtin deeply believes in increasing effective and meaningful community participation as a key step in imagining responsible and creative alternatives to shaping our cities. Currently, Ramtin is a principal research scientist at Autodesk Research in Toronto where he is responsible for developing key strategic partnerships in both public and private sector. In his current role, he leads various high profile projects involving both public and private sectors such as the Sustainability Base at NASA Ames, MaRS, Canmet Energy, and multiple universities across the globe. Prior to joining Autodesk in 2008, Ramtin worked as a design architect on a number of high profile architectural projects while lecturing on design and technology at multiple Canadian universities. He currently holds an honorary research professorship from the School of Architecture at Carleton University and is deeply invested in a number of projects that deal with community revitalization, sustainability, and life-cycle assessment of built environment. He is the recipient of various awards including the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Medal, Association of Computer Aided Design in Architecture's award of distinction and Canadian Architect's Art of CAD award.
Michael is a PhD student of Computer Science at the University of Toronto and has a long standing curiosity for design, architecture, and urban communities. He has been a Research Scientist at Autodesk Research since 2008 where he has been involved with Project Dasher, a 3D building performance and monitoring tool. Bringing experience in both human-computer interaction and data visualization, Michael is driven to make complex multi-scale data easier to access and interact with. He believes that playful visual exploration will not only minimize the barriers to data access faced by everyday users, but also foster opportunistic discovery and learning. Michael is excited by the growing public availability of data from the city, and Imagine My City affords a particularly interesting opportunity through which the benefits of open data visualization can be explored -- increasing a citizen's awareness of their city and contribution as part of a community.
Phil is a registered architect and a project manager at Infrastructure Ontario, where he plays a critical role in supporting the Ontario government's efforts to modernize and maximize the value of public infrastructure and real estate, manage government facilities, and finance the renewal of the province's public infrastructure. Originally from Montreal, Phil adopted Toronto as his home after studying and living in Halifax, Ottawa, New York and Vancouver. Attracted by the vibrancy and openness of Toronto's architectural and design community, Phil continues to find the city a layered and culturally rich home.
With an initial foundation in English Literature, Phil followed his passion for architecture first studying at Carleton University, then in Toronto, where Phil's graduate work at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design piqued his interest in the changing city around him. Following a year working in the studio of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects in New York, Phil returned to Toronto with greater interest in the dialogue on Toronto's architectural transformation, both at home and abroad. In collaboration with a team of architects and designers from the Toronto Society of Architects, Phil helped with the award winning TSA Guide Map: Toronto Architecture 1953-2003. As vice-chair of the TSA, Phil continued to foster a conversation on architecture, design and urban form through monthly Urban Affair Discussions that brought together key architects, planners, and leaders in a discussion on monthly theme. His latest project is the Guidebook to Contemporary Architecture in Toronto, co-authored with his wife, Margaret Goodfellow.
Michael Jemtrud is an Associate Professor of Architecture at McGill University and Faculty Fellow in the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas (McGill) where he is the lead on the "Arts and Ideas in Motion" research axis. He is the former Director of the School of Architecture at McGill (2007-11) and Founding Director of two award winning research centers: the Facility for Architectural Research in Media and Mediation (2007-current) and the Carleton Immersive Media Studio (2001-07, Ottawa). He has taught at the Ryerson University (2013), University of Toronto (2012), Carleton University (2000-07), The Pennsylvania State University (1996-2000). Professor Jemtrud has been awarded over $20 million in sponsored research funding over the past 13 years of teaching and research. He teaches courses and supervises graduate students in architectural and urban design, sustainable design, digital media, critical design strategies, contemporary & cultural theory, and the philosophy of technology. He holds a Passive House Tradesperson certification and was a Research Associate at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (2012).
His research agenda encompasses the investigation and development of new technologies and expertise in 3-D and time-based new media, high-performance visualization, and network-based, distributed participatory work environments design, remote engineering, and education. By producing content specific to research in architecture, urban design, preservation, and related disciplines, he uses cultural content-based research to drive innovations and to complement traditional research and development methods in the relevant fields.
Jessie Ma is a proud Torontonian who wants to make urban centres more livable through energy and creativity. At Ryerson’s Centre for Urban Energy, Jessie is an IESO Distinguished Research Fellow and conducts research in the integrated delivery of electricity, gas, and water conservation programs. Jessie spent over a dozen years at Hydro One and was the driving force behind the launch of the corporate responsibility program. She led the company in obtaining the Canadian Electricity Association’s prestigious Sustainable Electricity Company designation, a strong signal of Hydro One’s commitment to social and environmental issues. Jessie is devoted to fostering a strong community spirit through chairing the Public Service Events for the Harvard Club and serving meals at Lawyers Feed the Hungry. She graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School’s Master in Public Administration program and the University of Toronto’s Engineering Science program.
Philam is a multi-disciplinary researcher and writer. At Ryerson University’s Office of the Vice President, Research & Innovation, she works collaboratively with Ryerson faculty and researchers on the strategic creation and production of research proposals for a range of disciplines and funding sources including SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR. As a researcher and PhD student at the Facility of Architectural Research in Media and Mediation (FARMM) at McGill University, her work is situated at the intersections of architecture, media & communication studies. She is interested in exploring the implications, and creative capacities of technologies within design-related fields. Philam brings her expertise and interest in research communications, creative direction and community outreach to the IMC team. She has led federally-funded projects where she worked with grassroots organizations to investigate the impact of technology on the public imagination as it relates to large-scale design processes. She believes that the development of situated and specific technologies have the capacity to enable the meaningful and collective creation of our cities.
An industrial designer by training, Yasaman Sheri currently works as a designer at Microsoft. She has also been a Teaching Fellow, Design Track at Singularity University and Designer, and Board of Directors at Fluxmedia, Hexagram. Emerging technologies and the fuzzy end of innovation is her passion, where she can dream up the future. She is an advocate of co-learning, co-design, and human centered design strategies. She brings her passion for design and social innovation to Imagine My City where she hopes to leverage her expertise in cross-cultural research, storytelling and systems thinking.
Her honors and awards include TEDx Montreal Speaker 2012, IDEA by IDSA 2012, Hansgrohe Preis 2012 — Efficient Water Design, iF Concept Design Award 2012, Spark! Gold Award 2012, Spark! Bronze Award 2012, Victor Papanek Social Design Award 2011, Fujitsu Future Design — Shortlisted 2011, IDEA by IDSA — Finalist 2010, Hydro Sustainability Aluminum Extrusion Award 2010, Butterfly 208 Competition by CIDA 2008, and Maia Reiking Art and Design Award 2006.
John is the first executive director of CityWorks, a strategic initiative of Evergreen. Prior to joining CityWorks, John was deputy chief of staff for policy and cabinet affairs for Premier Dalton McGuinty and served in other roles in the Office of the Premier, including executive director of communications and senior policy advisor. John was also vice president for strategy and communications for Metrolinx. Prior to joining the provincial government, John served in various capacities in the federal government, including the Ministries of Infrastructure and National Defence. John is currently an executive fellow at the Mowat Centre for Public Policy at the University of Toronto.
Matt Ratto is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto and directs the Semaphore Research cluster on Inclusive Design, Mobile and Pervasive Computing and, as part of Semaphore, the Critical Making lab. His work explores the intersections between digital technologies and the human life world. Ratto is an avowed expert on 3D printing and digital fabrication, having carried out research on this topic since 2009. Ratto created and ran the ThingTank from 2009-2011, a collaborative project between private, non-profit, and academic partners working collectively on new IoT products and services.
He coined the term "critical making" in 2007 to describe work that combines humanities insights and engineering practices, and has published extensively on this concept. A current project involves the development of a cost-effective software and hardware toolchain for the scanning, design, and 3D printing of lower-limb prostheses for use in the developing world. This work is being carried out in partnership with non-profit CBM Canada, CoRSU hospital in Uganda, Autodesk, and Toronto prosthetics and orthodics experts. In 2005, he was awarded a Netherlands Science Foundation (NWO) grant to study the use of computer simulation and modeling technologies and in 2007 was given a research fellowship in the HUMlab, an innovative digital humanities laboratory located at the University of Umea, Sweden. His current research is funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, The Ontario Ministry for Innovation, and the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
Joeri van den Steenhoven is Director of the MaRS Solutions Lab, a public and social innovation lab that helps tackle complex social challenges that require systems change. The lab convenes stakeholders from across society and supports them to develop, test and scale new solutions. MaRS Solutions Lab started in 2013 and is part of MaRS Discovery District, one of the world's largest urban innovation hubs based in Toronto, Canada.
Being a longtime social innovator and systems thinker, Joeri is fascinated by our society’s transition towards the knowledge society. He moved to Canada in 2013 to lead the MaRS Solutions Lab. Before, he was co-founder and CEO of Kennisland, one of the leading and oldest social innovation labs in the Netherlands and Europe. He also co-founded the KafkaBrigade, a global research team that helps governments to find and fight red tape. Joeri is a strategic advisor to governments and organizations around the world. He also serves on the board of the Lisbon Council, the leading European think tank on innovation and growth and the Change Foundation, an Ontario-based think tank on health system innovation.
Joeri holds a master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Amsterdam and has successfully participated in the Harvard Business School’s Program for Leadership Development.