Core Faculty

Daniel Silver

Daniel Silver is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto.  His research areas are social theory, cities, culture, and cultural policy.  He is co-editor of The Politics of Urban Cultural Policy and author of Scenescapes: how qualities of place shape social life.  Professor Silver was the recipient of the 2013 Theory Prize, the 2017 Consumers and Consumption Section Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award (with Kristie O'Neill), and received an honorable mention for the 2015 Junior Theorist Award (with Kristie O'Neill), all from the American Sociological Association.  His current research examines the role of arts and culture in city politics, economics, and residential patterns; the enduring political orders of cities; the use of diagrams and figures in social theory; the evolution of urban forms; the meaning and reception of Georg Simmel's ideas; and the definition and evolution of classics and canons in sociological theory.  Silver is also a core participant in The Scenes Project, details about which may be found here, and the Urban Genome Project. Additionally, he was editor and co-author of reports on the cultural sectors in Toronto and Chicago: From the Ground Up: Growing Toronto’s Creative Sector, Redefining Public Art in Toronto, and Chicago: Music City.

Mark S. Fox

Dr. Fox is a Professor of Industrial Engineering and Computer Science where his current research applies Artificial Intelligence to Smart Cities. He received his BSc in Computer Science from the University of Toronto in 1975 and his PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1983, where he was an Associate Professor (tenured) of Computer Science and Robotics. He was a founding member of Carnegie-Mellon’s Robotics Institute. From 1981 through 1987 he founded and led the Robotics Institute’s Intelligent Systems Laboratory, and from 1987 through 1991 he co-founded and led the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Decision Systems. In 1993 Dr. Fox co-founded Novator Systems Ltd., a pioneer in out-sourced eRetail services and software. In 1984 he co-founded Carnegie Group Inc., one of the first companies to apply Artificial Intelligence to solving engineering, manufacturing, and telecommunications problems. He is a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and the Engineering Institute of Canada.

Robert M. Wright

Professor Wright’s work is design centred and extremely eclectic in nature. His notion of design does not privilege the traditional professional disciplines of Architecture, Landscape Architecture or Urban design. He places his work within a more contemporary and trans-disciplinary framework. As Both an educator and as a design practitioner, he holds a strong belief that “Design is built theory” meaning that the translation from thought and concept to built works is primary and essential to design discourse. Having had training in both Ecology and Landscape Architecture places design as a practice that must at its essence deal with context. As a self confessed “Modernist” with Minimalist and Situationalist tendencies. The art of design is not merely “object” making but rather the interplay of Nature, Person, Community, City and Place.

Thiago Silva

Dr. Silva is currently a visiting professor at the University of Toronto, collaborating on the Urban Genome Project. He is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science (on leave) at the Federal University of Technology, Curitiba, Brazil, where his current research applies data mining to the study of urban societies. He holds a B.Sc. (2004), an M.Sc. (2009), and a Ph.D. (2014) in Computer Science from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, where he was also a post-doctoral researcher in urban computing (2014-2015). During his Ph.D., Dr. Silva was a research intern at Telecom Italia, Italy (2011), researching energy efficiency on smart homes. He was also a visiting student at the University of Birmingham, UK (2012), and at INRIA, France (2013), studying large scale urban-related problems with social media data. He has substantial experience in industry and academia in urban computing, data mining/machine learning, and user behavior modeling, working on those topics since 2005. More information about his work can be found here:

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Ari Mazzeo

Dr. Arianna Mazzeo is currently a senior researcher in Art, Design and Technology at the University of Toronto. Prior to this position, she taught the course Methodologies and Practice in Design Engineering Research at Harvard University’s Master in Design Engineering Program, where she was also an advisor for Independent Design Engineering Projects (IDEP). She is an Associate Visiting Professor of Practice in Design, Art, and Technology, and a Senior Research Fellow at RISD and at NYU TISCH Performance Studies, where she works on introducing innovative design research and experimental pedagogies for social change. Grounded in critical and “artistic intelligence” as design intervention in the public domain, her research focuses on transformative co-creation and sustaining forms of resilience in public space and the wellbeing of communities in the cities and regions through the psycho-physical pedagogy of embodiment. Her practice-based research is aiming at the creation of a new public and lexicon for transformation of social-spatial inequalities through a creative process and AI, educational innovation in design, and co-production of collaborative pedagogies for open creative arts education, including humans, non-human, and other actors in public space.

Fabio Dias

Dr. Dias received his B.E. (2006) and M.S. (2009)  in Computer Science from the University of Campinas, Brazil, and his Ph.D. (2012) from the Universite Paris-Est, France, for his contributions in non-linear signal processing in digital structures. He started working with urban data in 2015, as a postdoctoral fellow of the University of Sao Paulo,  Brazil, and later at the New York University's Tandon School of Engineering. In the UGP, he is creating new visual analytics methods to allow a deeper understanding of the urban environment.

Noga Keidar

Dr. Keidar is the Azrielli postdoctoral fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, hosted by both the Department of Sociology and the Urban Clinic. She also acts as the Head of Research of the Hebrew University’s Urban Clinic.

Dr. Keidar received her PhD from the University of Toronto, where she remains involved in the "Urban Genome Project" at the School of Cities. In her research, Noga examines what it means for a messy and complex entity like a city to adopt a new idea, and how particular ideas have become ‘must-haves’ for cities. Her different research projects touch upon these issues from different angles, asking, for instance: How do urban models become relevant when placed in a context extremely different from the one in which they were formulated?  How does the ‘same’ idea vary over time and across geographical scales? How have a small group of charismatic urban thinkers established their position as urban ‘gurus’? And how in practice do they connect cities with ideas? Noga examines these questions using multiple qualitative and quantitative methods. You can learn more about her research here

Graduate Students

Hamnah Majeed

Hamnah Majeed completed her undergraduate studies in 2019 at the University of Toronto Mississauga, pursuing a major in Sociology, and minors in Chemistry and Biology. She completed her Master of Science in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto in 2020. She recently completed her Master of Arts in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. In Fall 2021, she will commence her medical school education at McGill University (MD, CM program). Her research focus is multidisciplinary, with a main focus in social, economic, and environmental influences on health, and has published work in Nature Palgrave CommunicationsThe Lancet Global HealthThe Lancet Planetary Health, and New England Journal of Medicine

Patrick Adler

Patrick Adler is Research Associate at the Rotman School's Martin Prosperity Institute. He is completing a PhD from UCLA's Luskin School in Urban Planning. 

Ultan Byrne

Alex Olson
Clara Bitter

Clara Bitter is pursing a Master of Architecture degree at the University of Toronto and holds a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from McGill University. 

Olimpia Bidian

Olimpia Bidian is a PhD Student in the Sociology Department at the University of Toronto. She is broadly interested in urban sociology and qualitative research methods. Her research focuses on urban planning, urban policy, and social life of public spaces.

Her PhD Thesis examines how public space identity is being shaped by diverse stakeholders and the multitude of uses people construct over time. The objectives are to identify the most important components and dimensions of public space identity formation and to provide a theoretical model of the emerging identity of public spaces.

Khalil Martin

Khalil Martin is a former transportation engineering professional, and current research assistant on the Urban Genome Project. He is interested in Urban Sociology, the Science of Cities, and Sociological Theory. 

Fernando Calderon Figueroa

Fernando Calderón Figueroa is a PhD candidate at the Department of Sociology, University of Toronto. Fernando’s main interests are urban and political sociology, social policy, and quantitative and computational methods. His dissertation addresses the relationship between the built infrastructure of cities and social capital in three different contexts: Canada, Peru, and Colombia. Fernando is a member of the Urban Genome Project, where he conducts interdisciplinary research on urban social policy and neighbourhood change.

Amny Athamny

Amny Athamny, PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. Joined the Urban Genome Project at the School of Cities in 2020. I focus on critical urban theory in contested cities. As a SSHRC scholar I also examine the integration trajectories of immigrants in Canadian urban centers. 

Anderson Wong

Anderson Wong is pursuing a Master of Information degree at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Information and holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Cheryl Cheung

Cheryl Cheung is a senior at the St. George campus. She is a double major in political science and American studies. Her current research at the UGP focuses on water access and wastewater systems on first nations' reserrves. Previously, she was a Fulbright Canada Killam Fellow and Northrop Frye Undergraduate Research Fellow. In her spare time, she enjoys paddle boarding and skiing.

Mabel Yang

Mabel Yang is a rising senior at the University of Toronto - St. George. She is currently pursuing a specialist in biochemistry and has previously worked as a research assistant with the Hospital for Sick Children. Some of her hobbies include film photography, hiking, and baking. 

Anne James
Jacob Leung

Affiliated Faculty

Iris Wang

Iris Wang is a researcher on the UGP team, working on Agent-Based Modeling for urban spaces. She received her M.Eng from University of Toronto in 2016, with a research focus on information modeling - specifically ontology and the semantic web - for the public finance domain, under the supervision of Professor Mark Fox. She has over 10 years of experience in technology consulting and business insights, working with organizations from North America, Asia and Latin America.

Marion Blute
Richard Florida
Shauna Brail
Matti Siemiatycki
Scott Sanner

External Partners

Daniele Quercia
John Boy
Clio Andris

I study interpersonal relationships in geographic space from the scale of a coffee shop conversation to the scale of global flight networks. My background is in GIS, cultural studies and urban planning, and my research has uncovered how to put social networks in a GISystem for analysis, how to measure romantic/interpersonal relationships within the built environment, and how relationships start in the mind and then build to contribute to worldwide connectivity.