Lecture series to explore issues of urban sustainability

The Pitt-Ferry Building is the setting for a seven-week series of lectures on urban sustainability.

Despite commitments by the provincial and federal governments to fight climate change, a University of Windsor instructor says more must be done locally. The lack of initiative in the City of Windsor has prompted Negin Minaei to host a series of seven talks on the topic of sustainable cities.

The first talk, entitled “Cities Challenges and Sustainable Urban Development,” is in the Pitt-Ferry Building on Thursday, May 18, at 6:30 p.m.

“195 countries including Canada have signed a commitment — the Paris Agreement — with the United Nations, to ensure their countries are moving towards sustainability,” said Dr. Minaei, a sessional instructor in the UWindsor Faculty of Engineering. “Cities are contributing too much in the areas of environmental pollutions, and they are the ones that can minimize their impact.”

Minaei has a degree in architectural engineering, a doctorate in urban planning and has worked as a post-doctoral and research associate in sustainable urbanism in the United Kingdom. She said one of the key issues to be addressed in Windsor is effective, smart and affordable public transportation.

“In 2004 when I was living in Germany, they had all of their transportation, buses and trams as electric,” she said. “And now here, it’s 2017, and we are still a car-dependent city.”

Effective public transportation can be expanded to improved cycling and walking infrastructure and bike-sharing systems.

Minaei said her chief goal for the seven talks is to inform local decision makers and the public about sustainability and present examples of cities that have successfully adapted sustainable and smart practices.

She is the founder of EnDesign, a social enterprise that promotes practical sustainable and healthy living, which will host the series with the support of the Faculty of Engineering. The talks will take place over the next seven Thursdays in room 110 of the Pitt-Ferry Building, home to the School of Social Work and the Centre for Executive and Professional Education. It is located at 167 Ferry Street.

At the May 25 talk, program manager with the City of Toronto’s environment and energy division Mark Singh, will discuss the Live Green Toronto program which helps residents, businesses and the city collaborate to move toward a sustainable Toronto.

On June 1, Mojgan Jadidi from York University will discuss how dynamic visualization of transit data can influence decision practices and how the City of Toronto is using that to plan to optimize public transport in Toronto.

On June 8, Steve Green, a sessional in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, will discuss community gardens and the importance of urban agriculture for the future food security and their activities in Windsor.

Engineering professor Rupp Carriveau will discuss sustainable centralized and distributed energy solutions on June 15.

Sinisa Simic of the Windsor Region Society of Architects will discuss sustainable design and responsible resource use on June 22.

On June 29, Jason Grossi, co-ordinator of the visual arts and the built environment program and the only certified heritage professional architect in Windsor, will discuss heritage conservation and adaptive re-use protocols.

The events are free, but space is limited; secure a spot on the event registration page.