Sector Leader – Urban Places

Tom started training as a planner as soon as he learned how to ride a bike and take public transport as a kid, revelling in the freedom these modes of transport gave him to explore and discover how the city works. From 2018 to 2022, Tom established and led Stantec’s Urban Places practice in Aotearoa. His time in New Zealand opened his eyes to the universality of our urban challenges and opportunities, and reinforced the value of approaching planning and design from a holistic and multi-disciplinary perspective. The pull of home and family drew him back to Canada, and he is now the Urban Places lead for Ontario & Atlantic.

From 2013-2022, Tom played a key role in the regeneration of a council-owned former airport site in Edmonton, Canada, transforming it into a transit-oriented, mixed-use, and low-carbon neighbourhood for 30,000 people. In New Zealand he has contributed to comprehensive masterplanning and infrastructure strategies, including the award-winning Milford Opportunities Project, the Tauranga City Centre Action and Investment Plan, and the Waka Kotahi Integrated Public Transport and Urban Form Guide. Tom is excited about building more resilient and inclusive cities, embracing people-centred values to foster well-loved places.

Presenting with Nancy MacDonald:

Rising to the Challenge: Retooling our Communities for New Challenges

The past three years have been a period of significant urban disruption across the world. Online working is reshaping where and how we work, with long-term implications for city centres, transport networks and the role our neighbourhoods play in our everyday lives. At the same time, climate action is moving into high gear and governments across the world are grappling with how to rapidly transition cities to achieve low carbon environments. This is a pivot point for the future of cities.

These trends can complement each other, but require thoughtful responses to complex questions: How can we reposition city centres to remain vibrant centres of activity? How do we create urbanism in the suburbs as everyday life becomes more local? How do we adapt transport systems to sustainably connect these reimagined and emerging centres? It's time to move to a more outcome-oriented process for planning and designing our cities, putting goals like climate resilience, equity and access, and transit oriented development at the forefront, and leveraging data analytics to inform integrated and strategic solutions. Nancy MacDonald, Stantec’s Global Director of Urban Places and Smart Cities, and Tom Young, Stantec’s Urban Places lead for Eastern Canada (and former New Zealand lead), will share lessons learned from across the world to illustrate how we can leapfrog from this period of disruption to more people-centred and resilient urbanism.

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