The University of Toronto, home to some of the world’s leading experts on city-building, has appointed two experts in urban affairs – Prof. Shauna Brail and Mowat Centre fellow John Brodhead – to advise President Meric Gertler.
“We need to build stronger linkages to the communities around us,” says Gertler, “while enhancing the connections among urban scholars across our three campuses.”
Brail, a professor of urban studies at Innis College, will be the presidential adviser on urban engagement. She will work with faculty and students on city-related projects, expanding opportunities for collaboration across faculties and departments and connecting researchers with the broader community.
“I’m very excited by the role,” says Brail, noting that the university is making a difference in policy development in the Toronto region in a variety of ways – in housing, transportation and public health, among other issues. “There are so many people with great ideas,” she says.
As special adviser to the president on urban issues, Brodhead – who remains in his position as executive director of Evergreen CityWorks – will help the university build better ties with city agencies, urban advocacy groups and civic leaders.
While dozens of researchers and professors across the three campuses are already working on urban issues, these appointments reinforce U of T’s commitment to being an integral partner with its host cities and the surrounding region, says Gertler, who has emphasized that city-building is a top priority of the university. “I think this is great news for the city and the region,” says Brodhead.