On October 15, 2020, the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change (EUC) was pleased to host an inaugural EUC case competition for current MES Planning students with help from the MES York Planning Committee (MYPAC). This event brought together Alumni currently working in the planning sector for different cities in the GTA.
Anand Balram (Senior Policy Planner, Land Use Planning – City of Brampton) and MES Alumni Andria Oliveria (MES ’12) (Project Manager, Transportation Planning – City of Brampton) presented the case study to the students to analyze and create a plan for. Judges for the case included MES alumni Sabrina Colleti (MES ’02) (Manager, Planning – WSP) and David MacMillan (MES ’14) (Program Manager – City of Toronto). Their positions in the planning sector gave them experience to offer all students advice and support for their presentations. They helped in judging presentations created by the students to address planning needs for the City of Brampton.
Professor Philip Kelly (Associate Dean of Research, Graduate & Global Affairs) welcomed the students to this one of a kind virtual event that would give them the experiential learning that they study in their classes. Alumnus Adam Zendel (MES ’13) also noted the importance of “working on a real world problem and coming up with a solution [it] teaches you things that can't be learned by simply reading or listening.”
This competition was organized by Brandon Stevens (MES ’19) and Patrycja Jankowski (MES ’17) of MYPAC. They acknowledged the importance of showing students these real life examples to allow them to make mistakes as well. “We decided that we wanted to provide students an opportunity to apply their planning knowledge in a real case and have professionals give them feedback which is valuable experience as a student.”
The case asked students to imagine themselves as planners for the City of Brampton. They were asked to develop a major transit station area to connect the Waterloo - Toronto innovation corridor, that looks to join two key cities for technological advancement. The students needed to work around an existing employment area, environmental restrictions and entice the tech industry to want to come to the City of Brampton to diversify the current job sector. For all students, this case study gave them an insight into some of the work they would be partaking and organizing in future planning jobs.
The winning team, consisting of MES -Planning students, Danielle Tivoli, Erik Retz, Liam Ryan and Paul Berkun-Drevnig, chose to focus their plan to meet community needs while also including people from all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Their vision for the City of Brampton included a mix of office high rises at the center of their hub, leading to smaller mixed use residential/office space and eventually townhomes. They incorporated all the key issues the case study looked to find a solution for, in an effective way that would not compromise economic growth or environmental sustainability.
The event also highlighted a donation made by the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change (EUC) to York's Emergency COVID-19 Student Relief Fund in honour of the alumni attendees as a gesture of appreciation for their time and involvement. This fund looks to help those York students who are currently undergoing tough circumstances due to the ongoing pandemic and need financial support.
Written by Mariyam Tanveer, EUC Student