Dr. Robert Soden is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science & School of the Environment at the University of Toronto and the founder of TCO. He works in the areas of crisis informatics, human-centered computing (HCC), and science and technology studies (STS). His research uses a range of ethnographic, participatory, and design research methods to evaluate and improve the technologies we use to understand and respond to disasters and climate change. Dr. Soden has 20 years of academic and industry experience developing human-centered approaches to environmental modelling, including work with organizations such as the World Bank, the United Nations, and the World Resources Institute.
Dr. Samar Sabie is an incoming Assistant Professor at the Institute for Culture, Communication, and Information Technology (ICCIT) with a graduate appointment at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, and Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto. Her research examines how design as a socio-material practice supports communities in reconfiguring or reimagining the environments they inhabit in more equitable ways despite cultural, generational, and political differences. Her approach is highly interdisciplinary, combining design and making with ethnography, critical theory, and pedagogy development in community-based contexts.
Dr. Steve Easterbrook is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and the Director of the School of the Environment at the University of Toronto. He studies the development of computational models for understanding climate change, along with the role of models and data visualizations for sharing knowledge about climate and sustainability with other communities.
Dr. Ishtiaque Ahmad is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. He directs the Third Space research group at the DGP Lab. He is also a graduate faculty member of the School of Environment, a Faculty Fellow at the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society, and a Senior Fellow at the Massey College. He co-organizes the monthly UofT Critical Computing Seminar that hosts speakers analyzing computer science and its applications from the perspectives of marginalization, bias, and oppression. His research interest is situated at the intersection of computer science and the critical social sciences. His work is often motivated by social justice and sustainability issues, and he puts them in the academic contexts of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Information and Communication Technology and Development (ICTD). He operates through a wide range of technical and methodological apparatuses from ethnography to design, and from NLP to tangible user interface.
Dr. Karen Chapple is the Director of the School of Cities at the University of Toronto, where she also serves as Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning. She is Professor Emerita of City & Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, where she served as department chair and held the Carmel P. Friesen Chair in Urban Studies. Chapple studies inequalities in the planning, development, and governance of regions in the Americas, with a focus on economic development and housing. Her recent books include Planning Sustainable Cities and Regions: Towards More Equitable Development (Routledge, 2015), which won the John Friedmann Book Award from the American Collegiate Schools of Planning; Transit-Oriented Displacement or Community Dividends? Understanding the Effects of Smarter Growth on Communities (with Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, MIT Press, 2019); and Fragile Governance and Local Economic Development: Theory and Evidence from Peripheral Regions in Latin America (with Sergio Montero, Routledge, 2018).
Dr. Michael Classens is an Assistant Professor in the School of the Environment at the University of Toronto. Prior to joining the School, Classens taught in Trent University’s Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems program for the past three years. His research is focused broadly on questions of social and environmental sustainability, with a particular focus on how these dynamics are frustrated by, and enabled through, food systems. His teaching, research and advocacy work are broadly motivated by commitments to social and environmental justice, particularly within the context of the food system.
Dr. Fanny Chevalier is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science and Statistics. Her research lies at the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Information Visualization (Infovis). She is interested in addressing the challenges involved in the design, implementation, and evaluation of novel interactive tools supporting visual analytics and creative activities, with primary focus on interactive visualization for the visual exploration of rich and complex data, visualization education and statistical communication, and computing tools supporting the flow of creativity.
Dr. Tegan Maharaj is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Information, and an affiliate of the Vector Institute and Schwartz-Reisman Institute for Technology and Society. She is also a managing editor at the Journal of Machine Learning Research (JMLR), the top scholarly journal in machine learning, and co-founder of Climate Change AI (CCAI), an organization which catalyzes impactful work applying machine learning to problems of climate change. Prior to joining the iSchool, Tegan did her PhD at Mila and Polytechnique Montreal, where she was an NSERC and IVADO awarded scholar with Christopher Pal. Tegan is broadly interested in studying “what goes into” AI systems – not only data, but the broader learning environment including task design and specification, loss function, and regularization; as well as the broader societal context of deployment including privacy considerations, trends and incentives, norms, and human biases. She is concerned and passionate about AI ethics, safety, and the application of ML to environmental management, health, and social welfare.
Fadi Masoud is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism and the Director of the Centre for Landscape Research. Prior to joining the University of Toronto, Masoud held teaching and research appointments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Department of Urban Studies and Planning and was an affiliated research faculty with the MIT Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism. Masoud holds a Bachelors of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo’s School of Planning, specializing in Urban Design and Urban Development, a Masters of Landscape Architecture from the University of Toronto, and a Post-Professional Master in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, where he graduated with distinction. Masoud’s research and design work engages the landscape as an operational force in shaping urbanism. His work aims to establish relationships between large-scale dynamic environmental systems, social equity and vulnerability, design, and the instrumentality of planning frameworks, policies, and codes.
Dr. Hanna Morris is an Assistant Professor at the School of the Environment at the University of Toronto with research interests in climate change media and communication, culture and politics, and transnational climate movements. Previously, Hanna was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, she is writing a book entitled Apocalyptic Authoritarianism: Climate Crisis, Media, and Power. Hanna’s research and writing have been published in various academic journals and popular media outlets including Environmental Communication, Media Theory, Politique Américaine, Reading The Pictures, and Earth Island Journal. She also co-edited the book entitled Climate Change and Journalism: Negotiating Rifts of Time. Her scholarship has been recognized by the IAMCR Stuart Hall Award, New Directions for Climate Communication Research Fellowship, and Top Paper Awards from the International Communication Association and Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences.
Dr. John Robinson is a U of T Professor in the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and the School of the Environment, Presidential Advisor on the Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability and has established the Urban Climate Action Project (UCAP) to work with the City of Toronto in support of climate action. Dr. Robinson’s research focuses on the intersection of climate change mitigation, adaptation and sustainability, the use of visualization, modeling, and citizen engagement to explore sustainable futures, sustainable buildings and urban design, and the intersection of sustainability, social and technological change, behavior change, and community engagement processes.
Dr. Imara Rolston is an Assistant Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. He is currently engaged in translating learning and insights from years of AIDS intervention into the creation of new frontiers for community-led climate resilience across Toronto’s Neighborhood Improvement Areas (NIAs). As a member of the City of Toronto’s ResilientTO team he developed a citywide Resilient Conversations civic-engagement initiative that worked with grassroots local leaders to convene resilience conversations across seven of the city’s NIAs. He also led the development of the strategy’s equity-focused Neighbourhood Resilience Action that will prioritize resilience-building in NIAs across the city. Dr. Rolston holds a B.A from the University of Toronto in Political Science and Sustainable Development and a M.A in Adult Education and Community Development from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at U of T. He earned his doctorate in Social Psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
Dr. Nicole Spiegelaar is an Assistant Professor at Trinity College and the School of the Environment. She works with complex adaptive systems theory and interdisciplinary knowledge integration to address sustainability challenges. Her past research involved subarctic agroecology, food sovereignty and food security in Indigenous communities and her more recent work explores mental wellness implications of traditional harvests and food system transition among these communities. Nicole is the Associate Director of the Trinity Sustainability Initiative which connects the classroom, student research, internships, and campus sustainability through experiential learning; her work in the group focuses on socio-ecological relations in the process of decolonizing and naturalizing our food systems.
Dr. Nidhi Subramanyam is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning. Her ongoing research investigates just approaches to plan and govern water and wastewater infrastructures in the face of rapid urbanization and the growing impacts of climate change. She also investigates questions on urban governance and rural-urban transitions in cities of the global South. At their core, all her projects interrogate how planning processes reflect and reinforce the status quo in moments of transition and how different social groups contest inequalities and transform planning at such moments to create just and sustainable futures.
Dr. Laura Tozer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Her research tries to understand how we can accelerate action to address the climate crisis. She studies the policies and politics that can help us stop using fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy. She’s especially interested in understanding how governments and communities can rapidly change cities so that they are fairer, resilient to the impacts of climate change, and powered by renewable energy. She has conducted research on the planning and implementation of just, zero carbon and resilient transitions in cities; the politics of transnational urban climate governance; and pathways to mainstream sustainability solutions so that they become standard practice for urban development.
Dr. Austin is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Toronto, School of the Environment. He is an environmental anthropologist who studies issues related to disaster recovery and disaster risk management, water and energy, infrastructure development, climate change adaptation and climate science, and the politics of environmental data and knowledge production. His work focuses on the Himalayan bioregion, and primarily in Nepal. He holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Cornell University, an M.S. from the Yale School of the Environment, and a B.A. from Dartmouth.
Dr. Nadine Plachta is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Geography and Planning. Her work focuses on social and cultural transformations in contemporary Nepal and, in particular, the use of citizenship and belonging as a resource for governance and economic development. She has explored this theme in the context of infrastructural politics, land and natural resource conflicts, local ecological knowledge, and environmental management. Her most recent research explores how borderland communities reassess their expectations of the future within recurring situations of disaster and crisis. Her scholarship is based on long-term ethnographic engagement in South Asia and, especially, in Nepal where she lived and worked for Heidelberg University’s South Asia Institute for five years (2014–2019). Nadine is also Editorial Team Member of the online journal Roadsides, as well as Book Reviews Editor of Himalaya, the Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies.
Taneea S Agrawaal
Taneea is a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto in the Department of Computer Science, with a specialisation in Environmental Studies. Her research focus is interdisciplinary and combines techniques of Human Computer Interaction in the application area of Climate Change. Her current research resembles social science informed computing and looks at the creation, use and communication of climate data practices, and climate modelling practices in the Greater Toronto Area. This work touches upon research areas in climate adaptation, civic technologies, data and data infrastructures and social justice.
Arjav is pursuing his PhD within the Department of Computer Science and in collaboration with the School of the Environment. His research interests include information infrastructures, human-computer interaction, and climate adaptation practices. He is currently exploring the relationships between communities, digital projects (archives and citizen science), and environment knowledge within the Himalayan region.
Cassandra is a graduate student in the Masters of Environment and Sustainability program at the UofT School of the Environment. Her current research focuses on climate data practices in Toronto municipal government. Her broader interests include climate data and modelling, environmental justice and data justice. Cassandra holds a B.A.Sc. in Engineering Physics from the University of Toronto.
Lilly is a graduate student in the Master of Environment and Sustainability program at the UofT School of the Environment. Her research focuses on climate data practices within Toronto-based grassroots climate justice groups. She is interested in how climate data can be utilized as an effective tool for organizing. Lilly holds a B.A in Sustainable Development from the University of Edinburgh.
Sophia is currently enrolled in the MSc in Computer Science. Prior to studying computer science at the University of Toronto, she completed her MA in Economics at the same institution and a BA, with an honours degree in philosophy and major in economics, at the University of British Columbia. Her research interests include severe weather risk communication and accessibility justice. Following the completion of her MSc degree, she is hoping to pursue doctoral studies in computer science.
Shreyasha is a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto in the Department of Computer science. Her research focus is interdisciplinary combining techniques of Human Computer Interaction with critical theories from social sciences and feminist STS. Her current research looks at the use and impact of data, digitization, and algorithms in developing countries (such as her home Nepal) in applications such as crisis informatics, disaster risk reduction, civic technologies, and climate adaptation.
Reyna is a first year Computer Science PhD student, supervised by Steve Easterbrook. Her research interests include climate informatics, applying machine learning on climate data, extreme weather events, and sustainable HCI.
Bowen is a computer science PhD student with a focus on social computing and peer production. He’s currently researching the roles of users in peer production platforms, with impressive insights and analytical skills. Bowen’s work has significant potential to enhance our understanding of how individuals collaborate and contribute to shared resources.