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Walking with Urban Designers 

Exploring Spatial Destinations through an Urban Design Context

December 1, 2022

12:30 - 14:00 EST


Event Location
and Format



Daniel Leeming

The relationship between a person’s mobility, i.e., walking, bicycle, wheelchair, car, is a basic human consideration in providing for daily needs. This relationship is, or should be, a fundamental determinant of responsible urban design. We all have basic needs and good urban design should ensure that you can meet these needs as safely and conveniently as possible. The popular idea of the “15 minute city” implies “accessibility to needs within a reasonable distance as a pedestrian or as a cyclist”. It is a good idea and used by many people, from real estate agents to conference promoters, but urban designers need to understand the details. How do you design communities to enable this relationship, what should you also be able to access in a 2, 5 and 10 minute walk, bike or wheelchair ride (its further than you think), and what about non-city areas such as suburban, town, and rural conditions?


Join the CanU “Walking with Urban Designer” session to explore well-illustrated best practices in different regions of Canada as presented by local urban design practitioners. Examine the benefits that active transportation promotion provides for public health outcomes and in the face of climate change. Review the design implications of weather, mobility, and special-needs choices: can you get transit to school and shops, how well is the route designed, is it a positive experience or a daily drudgery?

The session is broken into 2 distinct parts. The first will examine, through 3 local urban designers in Alberta, Quebec, and Ontario, the considerations required in a variety of; urban infill, new community suburban and an international city contexts, through short and engaging presentations. The second half will facilitate an open working session with you to provide practical working experience, to help to answer your questions, and to discuss your issues.

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Daniel H. Leeming  


Dan was a founding partner of the Planning Partnership, where he is currently a special advisor. His areas of expertise include: community planning, from regional to neighbourhood scale, the relationship between urban design, public health and sustainability initiatives, and facilitating the creation of meaningful and complete communities while satisfying the needs of the marketplace.


Dan has worked with various universities including the University of Guelph, the University of Toronto, and the University of Waterloo. He has authored a number of articles for professional journals on topics such as changing energy needs, public health and urban design, our aging society, and innovation in sustainable community design. 


He is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners, currently chairs CanU’s Resiliency Working Group, and was a founding Board member with CanU. Dan formerly served with the Toronto Design Review Board, the Mississauga Urban Design Advisory Panel, the Board of Healthy Kids Canada and the Canadian LEED-ND review committee. Dan is also the recipient of the 2016 Minister’s Award for Environmental Excellence.


Ute Maya-Giambattista


Ute is an urbanist with more than 20 years of experience and Principal of Urban Design at Fotenn Planning + Design.


As an urban designer and planner, Ute approaches her work with the understanding that design can be a vehicle for creating healthy places and communities while being aware of the complexities of urban spaces and the potential of infrastructure to transform the vitality of a place. Integral to all her management and design work is her commitment to the integration of social, economic, and environmentally sustainable practices from the early stages of the process.


Ute is a Board Member and Treasurer of the Council for Canadian Urbanism, a member of the City of Vaughan Design Review Panel, a member of the provincial AODA Design of Public Spaces Standards Development committee, a member of the PISG group at OPPI and the past-chair of the Women’s Leadership Initiative Allies in Action sub-committee at the Urban Land Institute. 

Ute is a member of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute and the Canadian Institute of Planners.


Louis-Michel Fournier 


Mr. Louis-Michel Fournier is a senior urban planner and the chief executive of L’Atelier Urbain, a firm he co-founded in 2007. Despite his young age, he has led numerous award-winning projects and has collaborated on more than 150 projects in Quebec and abroad. He has produced strategies, plans, bylaws and studies in various contexts. Mr. Fournier is greatly involved in the urban planning evolution in Quebec and is recognized as a leader in the field, by the successful projects of his firm and his involvement in the Ordre des Urbanistes du Québec to help the profession grow. He received CIP President’s Award for young planners in 2020.


 Geoff Dyer

MEDes. (Urban Design), CNUa

An accomplished urban designer, Geoff Dyer joined B&A Planning Group as their strategic design lead in August of 2018 after serving five years as the Director of Design and CEO for the Downtown Development Authority in Lafayette, Louisiana (the “Acadiana” center of Cajun and Creole culture).  He was previously the Principal and Director of Design for Placemakers LLC and Owner, Principal of Placemakers Canada Inc. where he ran a successful Calgary, Alberta-based urban design firm, focused exclusively on the design and implementation of walkable, mixed-use urbanism.  During the course of a decade he completed over 100 projects in 18 U.S. States and 4 Canadian Provinces earning him two Charter Awards, and a place on the 2008 Charter Award Jury chaired by Andrés Duany, and eventually serving as Jury Chair himself in both 2020 and 2021.

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