Toronto: Towards a Smart and Inclusive City-Region

Date:   Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Time:   8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Location:  Chestnut Conference Centre, 89 Chestnut Street, Toronto, ON


The Toronto city-region is at an inflection point. How do we manage a rapidly growing tech sector while also supporting communities and local entrepreneurs? Can we build partnerships across sectors that will stimulate innovation and prosperity?

At the University of Toronto’s free event, Toronto: Towards a Smart and Inclusive City-Region, these important questions will be discussed with Dan Doctoroff, CEO of Sidewalk Labs; Professor Richard Florida, Director, Martin Prosperity Institute, Rotman School of Management; Professor Meric Gertler, renowned urban scholar and U of T President; Professor Janice Stein, Munk School of Global Affairs, U of T; Kim Walesh, Director of Economic Development, City of San Jose; and Armine Yalnizyan, Toronto-based economist and business commentator.

Join urban thought leaders, policy makers, planners, business leaders, and entrepreneurs as they exchange ideas on ways to meet the challenges of city building to ensure that smart cities are also inclusive cities.


8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Registration
9:00 – 9:10 a.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • Vivek Goel, Vice-President, Research and Innovation, University of Toronto
9:10 – 9:45 a.m. Opening Keynote: The New Urban Crisis and the Tech Backlash

  • Richard Florida, University Professor and Director, Martin Prosperity Institute, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
9:45 – 10:45 a.m.

Session 1 – Working Together: Building the City-Region of the Future

This session explores the role of partnerships, collaboration and responsibility – locally, nationally and internationally – and how these contribute to building a city-region that is smart, dynamic, and sustainable. Panelists will discuss the ways in which developing cross-sectoral partnerships can contribute to continued innovation and prosperity in the Toronto city-region.

  • Enid Slack, Director, Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
  • Adam Blinick, Director, Public Policy and Communications, Uber Canada
  • Kofi Hope, Executive Director, Careers Education Empowerment
  • Paula Kwan, Director, Civic Innovation Office, City of Toronto
  • Eric Miller, Professor of Civil Engineering and Director, University of Toronto Transportation Research Institute
10:45 – 11:00 a.m. Break
11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Session 2 – Smart Cities: The Quest for Inclusive Urban Prosperity

This session begins with a presentation by Kim Walesh, Director of Economic Development for the City of San Jose, California who will address: challenges in managing a booming technology sector; negative impacts on local housing affordability and transportation infrastructure; and talent attraction and retention strategies for local start-ups and locally-embedded firms. Following the presentation, panelists will discuss strategies to manage tech sector growth while also supporting community and people-based needs as well as local entrepreneurial ecosystems.

  • Kim Walesh, Director of Economic Development, City of San Jose
  • Armine Yalnizyan, Economist and Business Commentator
  • Nan DasGupta, Partner & Managing Director, Boston Consulting Group
  • Patricia O’Campo, Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
  • Daniele Zanotti, President & CEO, United Way Greater Toronto
12:15 – 12:45 p.m. Lunch
12:45 – 1:45 p.m. In Conversation – City Building for Innovation and Inclusion

Introductory Remarks:
  • Meric Gertler, President, U of T
In Conversation:
  • Daniel Doctoroff, CEO, Sidewalk Labs
  • Janice Stein, Professor, Munk School of Global Affairs, U of T


Adam Blinick

Adam Blinick is the Public Policy and Communications Director at Uber Canada. Prior to joining Uber, Adam held many senior roles in the Canadian government, including Deputy Chief of Staff to the Minister of Public Safety, Director of Policy to the Minister of Transport, and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister. Adam holds a Masters in International Affairs from the George Washington University.

Nan DasGupta

Nan DasGupta joined The Boston Consulting Group in 1996 and is a Vice-President, Partner and Managing Director in the Toronto office. She leads the People and Organization Practice and the Financial Services Practice in Canada. Nan’s client practice at BCG has focused on issues of strategy, organization, and transformation for financial services and consumer retail companies. In addition to her client practice, Nan has done a significant amount of work in the social and public impact sectors. She has tackled issues that include economic development, regional coordination, and opportunities for disadvantaged youth. Nan is a Director on three Boards: The CivicAction Leadership Foundation, LEAP the Pecaut Centre for Social Impact, and the Toronto York School.

Daniel Doctoroff

Daniel L. Doctoroff is CEO of Sidewalk Labs, an urban innovation company he launched with Google to improve cities for residents, businesses and city governments. Prior to founding Sidewalk, he was president and CEO of Bloomberg L.P. Dan previously served as deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding for the City of New York. With Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Dan led the city’s dramatic economic resurgence, spearheading the effort to reverse New York’s fiscal crisis after 9/11 through a five-borough economic development strategy, including the creation of PlaNYC, a 127-point plan designed to create the first environmentally sustainable 21st-century city.

Richard Florida

Richard Florida is one of the world’s leading urbanists. University Professor and Director of Cities at the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto, he is also a Distinguished Fellow at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate and a Visiting Fellow at Florida International University. A writer and journalist, Richard has authored several global bestsellers, including the award-winning The Rise of the Creative Class and his most recent book The New Urban Crisis published in April 2017. He serves as senior editor for The Atlantic, where he co-founded and serves as Editor-at-Large for CityLab. Richard is also the founder of the Creative Class Group, which works closely with companies and governments worldwide. A 2013 MIT study named him the world’s most influential thought leader, and TIME magazine recognized his Twitter feed as one of the 140 most influential in the world.

Meric Gertler

Meric S. Gertler was appointed as the 16th President of the University of Toronto in 2013. A professor of geography and planning, and the Goldring Chair in Canadian Studies, he is widely known for his work on the role of institutions in shaping innovation and local economic prosperity. His comparative analysis of urban economies spans North America, Europe and Asia. He has advised governments in Canada, the United States and Europe, as well as international agencies such as the OECD and EU. He has authored or edited nine books and has held visiting appointments at Oxford, University College London, UCLA, and the University of Oslo.

Professor Gertler serves on Canada’s Business-Higher Education Roundtable, where he chairs the Working Group on Research Partnerships. He is a trustee of Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, a director of MaRS Discovery District, Waterfront Toronto, and Universities Canada, and serves on the Ontario government’s Highly Skilled Workforce Planning and Partnership Table. He previously served on the Expert Panel on Business Innovation in Canada for the Council of Canadian Academies.

Vivek Goel

Professor Vivek Goel is Vice President, Research and Innovation at the University of Toronto and a Professor in the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Professor Goel is a distinguished scholar with an extensive background in teaching, research and university administration. He obtained his medical degree from McGill University and completed post-graduate medical training in Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. Dr. Goel obtained an MSc in Community Health from U of T and an MS in Biostatistics from Harvard University School of Public Health. His research has focused on health services evaluation and the promotion of the use of research evidence in health decision-making.

Kofi Hope

Kofi Hope is a Rhodes Scholar, Doctor of Philosophy in Politics, community activist and youth advocate. He has over 15 years of experience in managing community-based programs. Kofi was the 2017 winner of the Jane Jacobs Prize, for his work improving the City of Toronto. In 2005 he founded the Black Youth Coalition Against Violence, a group which advocated for real solutions to the issue of gun violence. This advocacy work included a presentation for then Prime Minister Paul Martin and led to him being named one of the Top Ten People to Watch in Toronto in 2006 by the Toronto Star. Currently he is the Executive Director of the CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals (CEE) a non-profit which creates economic opportunities for Black youth in Toronto.

Paula Kwan

Paula Kwan brings a deep and broad set of experience from the software industry with a focus on building ambitious projects, teams and departments from zero-to-one, delivering results in an agile way, and ensuring those solutions and improvements are scalable. Eager to make an impact in her own community, Paula is excited to leverage her experience, passion, and network within the tech sector to help take the City of Toronto to the next level of this innovation movement.

Eric Miller

Professor Eric J. Miller has BASc and MASc degrees from the University of Toronto and a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is currently Director of the University of Toronto Transportation Research Institute and was the inaugural Director of the University of Toronto Cities Centre (2008-2012). Professor Miller is the developer of GTAModel, a state-of-the-art activity-based microsimulation regional travel demand modeling system used by the Cities of Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton and the Region of Halton to forecast travel demand in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area (GTHA), and ILUTE, an integrated land use – travel demand model system for the GTHA. He is co-author of the textbook Urban Transportation Planning: A Decision-Oriented Approach.

Patricia O’Campo

Dr. O’Campo is Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health Sciences at the University of Toronto and holds the Chair of Intersectoral Solutions to Urban Health Problems. Dr. O’Campo has an active research program that focuses on understanding the health impacts of complex urban social problems experienced by low-income populations. Through her scholarship over the past 25 years, dedicated partnerships with affected communities, and scientific leadership, she has collaborated globally to generate strong evidence to improve the lives of low income urban populations.

 Enid Slack

Enid Slack is the Director of the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) and an Adjunct Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. IMFG is the only institute of its kind in North America, which focuses exclusively on the fiscal health and governance challenges faced by large cities and city-regions. Enid has written extensively on property taxes, intergovernmental transfers, development charges, financing municipal infrastructure, metropolitan governance, and municipal boundary restructuring. Enid consults on municipal finance and governance issues with governments and international agencies such as the World Bank, IMF, UN Habitat, Asian Development Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank. In 2012, she was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work on cities.

Janice Stein

Janice Gross Stein is the Belzberg Professor of Conflict Management in the Department of Political Science and the Founding Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and an Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was the Massey Lecturer in 2001 and a Trudeau Fellow. She was awarded the Molson Prize by the Canada Council for an outstanding contribution by a social scientist to public debate. She has received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from four universities and is a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario. She is a frequent contributor to CBC and TVO and has just launched a new podcast, Disrupting the Global Order.

Kim Walesh

Kim Walesh is Director of Economic Development and Deputy City Manager for the City of San Jose, America’s 10th largest city and the urban center of Silicon Valley. Throughout her career, Kim has helped leaders collaborate across disciplines in order to create economic opportunity, strengthen sense of community, and create environments that make people happier, healthier, and more productive. Prior to joining San Jose, Kim was Co-Founder and Managing Director of Collaborative Economics, a Silicon Valley-based consultancy that works with business and civic leaders to build stronger economies and better communities. She is co-author of the books Grassroots Leaders for a New Economy: How Civic Entrepreneurs Build Prosperous Communities and Civic Revolutionaries: Igniting the Passion for Change in American Communities.

Armine Yalnizyan

Armine Yalnizyan is a leading voice in Canada’s economic scene. She helped define the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Inequality Project from 2006 to 2017. Armine is well-known for her weekly business commentary on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning, the most listened-to radio show in the Greater Toronto Area; and nationally on The Big Picture panel, a popular feature of CBC TV’s premier business show, On The Money. Armine is economic adviser to the federal government’s foresight department, Policy Horizons, on the future of work and the economy. She is also President of the Canadian Association for Business Economics.

Daniele Zanotti

Daniele Zanotti was named President & CEO of United Way in June 2016. With more than 20 years of experience in the public and non-profit sectors, he has a reputation as an accomplished, strategic, and energetic leader. Daniele served as CEO of United Way York Region from 2007 to 2015, and in 2015 he was the catalyst behind a merger between the United Way organizations in York Region and Toronto, establishing a new regional organization to tackle issues on both sides of Steeles Avenue. He stewarded the first-ever United Way Toronto & York Region campaign to an historic achievement of $100 million. In April 2018, under his leadership, United Way Toronto & York Region merged with United Way Peel Region. As United Way Greater Toronto, the organization is now able to use its bigger scale to strengthen a region-wide strategy to fight local poverty and address and advocate on complex social issues.

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