STEP UP Conversations 

Access to Nature 

Join us on September 30th 

As one of four conversations planned for this year, this is an opportunity to explore more deliberately and creatively how we can support resilience in Canadian city-building. We are have invited four guest urbanists to share their personal perspectives and insights - the ‘big ideas’ that they believe will provide better access for all to the services, amenities and benefits of natural areas and assets in an urban setting. 

The goal of the STEP UP Series is to articulate actions for change in the design of Canadian cities underpinned by equity, livability and sustainability. Our panelists experience and insight will help us unlock the ‘big ideas’ behind these actions. In this online dialog series we are especially interested in the idea of ‘access for all’ to the benefits of the urban environment - with an emphasis on nature, mobility, housing and daily needs. 

 Connecting natural systems and smaller urban landscapes across cities and neighbourhoods can provide for a deeper, ecologically resilient public realm that facilitates placemaking, honours culture, and serves the innate human need for access to nature. 
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HOST: Jeanna South,
Director of Sustainability, City of Saskatoon 

OUR HOST &

 GUESTS

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Sheila Boudreau,
Landscape Architect + Planner, Sprucelab / Ryerson University (Toronto, On) 
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Kelty McKinnon,
Director / Principle PFS Studio (Vancouver, BC) 
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Michael Ormston-Holloway, Principal + Partner, The Planning Partnership (Toronto, On) 
Valeria Pagliaro.jpg
Valeria Pagliaro,
Urban Landscape Design Director and Partner, LAND (Milan, Italy) 

FORMAT

 We see the Conversations as animated 1-hour dialogues with 3-4 recognized Canadian urbanists exploring the big ideas for integrating natural areas and assets into urban space through the lens of resilience. A ‘host urbanist’ will offer a loose framework for the discussion, prompting guests with spontaneous & pre-selected questions (from attendees & organizers). However, to ensure a robust dialogue, the aim of the event is for guests to engage with each other throughout, both adding to and challenging the emerging ideas. 

Guests will summarize the big ideas they see as the next bold steps necessary for cities to become more resilient in the near and long term. 

BIO's

HOST: Jeanna South,
Director of Sustainability, City of Saskatoon 

Jeanna South is the Director of Sustainability for the City of Saskatoon. Her previous work for the municipality includes Interim Director of Major Projects, Special Projects Manager and Manager of Urban Design. Jeanna is a member and past president of the Saskatchewan Association of Architects and registered with the Canadian Institute of Planners. 

Sheila Boudreau,
Landscape Architect + Planner, Sprucelab / Ryerson University (Toronto, On) 

Sheila Boudreau is the founder, owner, and principal of SpruceLab. She is a landscape architect and Registered Professional Planner with over 25 years of professional experience,and undergraduate degrees in landscape architecture and fine art from the University of Guelph, and a Masters of Arts (Planning) from the University of Waterloo. She combines her collaborative nature-based practice with advocacy, teaching, and creative research, with a community focus. Past work includes urban design, City of Toronto, (Toronto Green Streets), Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (The Meadoway, Martin Goodman Trail), and DTAH (Waterfront Toronto’s Water's Edge Promenade, and Evergreen Brick Works). She is an instructor with Ryerson University’s School of Urban and Regional Planning, and the University of Toronto's John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. And she is on the Board of Advisors for Ryerson Urban Water, and Urban Minds. She resides in Toronto with her husband and three children, and is proudly of Acadian, Mi’kmaq and Celtic descent.

Kelty McKinnon,
Director / Principle PFS Studio (Vancouver, BC) 

Kelty McKinnon is a Landscape Architect and Principal at PFS Studio. With over 20 years of professional experience, Kelty brings a diverse background in landscape architecture, art, and environmental studies to all of the projects that she leads at PFS. Specializing in projects dealing with the public realm, she is committed to the creation of unique, innovative, equitable, and meaningful public spaces. 

 

Kelty has played a key role in several high profile public realm projects including the international Toronto Harbourfront Competition for which PFS placed second, the winning Redmond Downtown Park competition (recently constructed), Lansdowne Park on the Rideau Canal, the Lower Don Lands Precinct Plan and the West Don Lands Public Realm Plan in Toronto. She has recently completed the Nicomekl Riverfront Park Master Plan with the City of Surrey, working closely with City staff to develop new approaches to parks within flood prone regions. She was involved with UBC’s three year MITACS Study on design approaches to Climate driven Sea Level Rise. She has also been Principal in Charge on several downtown Vancouver projects including Vancouver House, 1550 Alberni with Kengo Kuma, the new Vancouver Art Gallery, 1500 Robson, and Telus Garden. 

 

Kelty has been an adjunct professor at UBC SALA where she taught design studios and theory courses focusing on the production of emergent landscapes that engage environmental and cultural ecologies. Her studios have dealt with the design of cultural precincts, waterfronts, campus design, parks, streetscapes, and public plazas.

Michael Ormston-Holloway,
Principal + Partner, The Planning Partnership (Toronto, On) 

Michael is a Partner with the firm, working as a landscape and urban ecologist, as well as certified arborist, with over 15-years experience working in the related fields. Michael specializes in the urban environment, integrating the experience of thoughtful landscape design with the importance of functional ecological systems; working toward better connections with people and their natural environment. 

Michael has successfully integrated the skillsets of design and ecology, while enriching these principles in the built environment, with insight as an arborist, horticulturist, and soil scientist. Together this has provided him with a strong scientific knowledge set that we apply to our projects to inform our designs with increased attention to the natural environment. Michael believes that a detailed understanding of the biotic realm of landscape architecture, and a strong understanding of planting design, ensures a more valuable landscape experience. 

 

Michael has a unique perspective on water in the urban context, and is regularly promoting projects with a greater application of LID principles, both water-related, and otherwise. Additionally, he has applied sustainable design principles around the management and design of Southern Ontario’s ravines, rivers, and waterfronts, having worked extensively within the Humber River and Don River floodplains, as well as in numerous ravines and sub-tributaries in the City. Designing and revitalizing parks with significant water elements both in Toronto, and abroad, Michael has honed skills of implementing plans that are driven by environmental sensitivity and a functional ecosystem-level approach to design. 

 

Additional to this, Michael has focussed intensely on the Ontario ecological conditions, having honed his skills as a practising certified arborist and ecologist. In this capacity Michael has helped produce several waterfront master plans, such as the Lower Don Lands, Toronto, ON, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ; reenvisioned and revitalized wetlands such as the Brickworks, Toronto, ON, or Lake Whitney Treatment Plant, New Haven, CT; and, restored ravine parklands and stabilized slopes in Blythwood Ravine, Toronto, Glendon College Campus of York University, and the Lake Huron bluff in Goderich, ON. 

 

Michael currently lectures on urban ecology, ecological integrity, landscape restoration/rehabilitation/revitalization at the University of Toronto in the Daniel’s Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, as well as at the University of Waterloo in the School of Planning division of the Faculty of Environment, and the University of Guelph Arboretum. He has practised landscape architecture and urban ecology in Canada and the USA, currently working on a range of international projects with The Planning Partnership, Toronto, and previously with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, New York.

Valeria Pagliaro,
Urban Landscape Design Director and Partner, LAND (Milan, Italy) 

Born in Italy in 1980, she was educated as an Architect at Politecnico di Milano and TU Delft (NL). After a short experience in the field of architecture, since 2006 she joined LAND group and is now partner of LAND Italia and Director of the Urban Landscape Design department.

Among other projects, she developed key urban regeneration schemes, such as Porta Nuova, MIND-Milan INnovation District, and MilanoSesto in Milan, Tor di Valle Stadium in Rome and the former Tobacco Factory in Naples as well as Moscow Smart City in Moscow and the Corridor de Biodivérsitee in Montreal. 

 

Her experience is focused on imagining, modelling and building the cities of our future. Confronting a constant growth in urban population, landscape design is the common field where environmental protection, social wellbeing and urban infrastructures combine to lead the development of our cities.

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