Regional Planning Speakers Series

Human Rights, Heritage, and Inclusivity: 2016-2017

City-Region Studies Centre (CRSC) is pleased to welcome the community back to this year’s Regional Planning Speakers Series (RPSS). RPSS is a year-long educational program made up of a series of lectures, panel discussions and workshops. It is a forum for stakeholders including planners, architects, designers, community members, academics, and students. Our aim is to promote connections, share ideas and build capacity in ways which promote resilience and sustainability, develop robust economies, encourage collaboration and improve the quality of life of communities across the Province. 

We are extremely pleased to announce this year’s agenda of events, involving key guests addressing issues of substantial consequence for Alberta’s municipalities and regions. If you would like to learn more about RPSS or CRSC, contact us at, and include RPSS in the subject line.

Topics, within the theme of social justice and the right to the city, that we’ll be tackling this year include:

Human Rights and the City

An inter-sectoral event bringing together local and national experts to engage in debate on the state of our understanding of human rights and how they apply to social and economic issues pertaining to cities including urban aboriginal communities, social and affordable housing, and, in general, issues related to services, goods and facilities provided by municipalities. This event will be organized in collaboration with the University of Alberta Urban and Regional Planning Program. (October 2016)

Reconciling the City

A keynote lecture and community panel focusing on how Canada’s cities understand the past, present and future of urban indigenous communities and how cities can respond to the TRC Calls to action. (November 2016)

Affordable Housing

A panel discussion and conversation which considers the challenges of locating social and affordable housing, and the value of embracing these challenges to create diverse integrated communities. (Spring 2017)

Engaging Communities

A keynote lecture, panel discussion and workshop exploring the relationships between trust, citizenship and governance, and asks how engagement done well can provide creative, timely and innovative solutions to today’s urban challenges. (Spring 2017)

Let's Talk Heritage: Connecting Narratives through Placemaking

Date: Wednesday, November 30, 2016; Doors: 6:00 pm, Talk 6:30 pm

Location: City Hall, 1 Sir Winston Churchill Square

Topic: Edmonton is a city with many years and layers of history. This includes our natural history, our indigenous history, our cultural history and our built history. This also includes our tangible and intangible heritage - important parts of Edmonton's history that can no longer be seen and need to be interpreted and translated. How do we interpret heritage in ways that can honour the past's story and that can contribute to city-building and placemaking initiatives for the future?

Let’s Talk Heritage: Connecting Narratives through Placemaking will explore the processes to help us understand and include these many layers, voices and narratives. How can we represent our history and heritage in the places we plan and build?

Work on the River Crossing Heritage Interpretive Plan will be highlighted in this event. The Heritage Interpretative Plan will consider how to interpret the heritage themes of the River Crossing area and how to interpret through different urban features and development scales such as architecture, landscaping, public art, signage, programming, activities, streetscaping, and pathways. Let’s Talk Heritage: Connecting Narratives through Placemaking will feature a round table discussion with local panelists and guest panelist Jay Pitter, an author, placemaker and senior stakeholder engagement professional and editor of Subdivided: City-Building in an Age of Hyper-Diversity.

This event is being hosted as part of the Regional Planning Speaker Series in collaboration with the CITYlab & the City of Edmonton, as well as the Edmonton Heritage Council (EHC).

Inclusive City-Building Workshop with Jay Pitter

Date: Wednesday, November 30, 2016; 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Location: L-324 Enterprise Square (lower concourse)

Fee: $50.00 + GST

Topic: Most city-builders care deeply about creating resilient, thriving, and socially inclusive cities. Whether redeveloping a social housing community, setting priorities for new transit routes, amending zoning to better support local economies, or curating stories of ever-changing cultural sites—city-builders are navigating an increasingly complex range of challenges for realizing this goal. Among other key principles such as environmental resilience and economic prosperity, social equity is critically important to the future of cities. It must be both embraced and translated across all city-building conversations in order to co-create cities for everyone. Using practical case studies reflective of increasingly diverse and complex urban regions, this workshop will address the following:

  • Uncover systemic and historical barriers preventing or complicating inclusive city-building;
  • Present a holistic city-building framework, which considers both spatial design, inclusion, and social justice;
  • Create space to practice naming difficult issues and having uncomfortable conversations;
  • Identify clear strategies for translating good intent to good practices;
  • Celebrate a diverse range of expertise and lived experiences.

Click here to register.

About Jay: Jay Pitter, MES is an author, placemaker and senior stakeholder engagement professional. Throughout her career, Jay has spearheaded noteworthy projects with organizations such as the Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Community Housing, The Health and Safety Task Force, the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and DIALOG, a national architecture firm. Her work has consistently resulted in increasing the capacity, resources and relationships required for co-creating more inclusive, safe, and vibrant cities. Jay has been a guest lecturer and faculty member within post-secondary institutions and has also co-led a number of participatory research processes. Most recently she collaborated with Westbank to increase community engagement in the Honest Ed’s redevelopment process, co-edited Subdivided, a Coach House anthology exploring inclusive city-building, and was one of two authors selected to be interviewed by Premier Kathleen Wynne at the recent Word on the Street Festival. She is currently the Director of Stakeholder Engagement with the Inspirit Foundation and shooting a five-part walk show series with Bell Media.

Human Rights and the City

Date: October 27, 2016 at 5:30

Location: Telus Lecture Theatre (TEL 150), Telus Centre, University of Alberta North Campus

Topic: The City-Region Studies is pleased to launch this season’s Regional Planning Speakers Series by hosting an panel discussion on the topic of “Human Rights and the City” in collaboration with the Urban and Regional Planning Program.

Dr. Sandeep Agrawal will introduce and Dr. Kevin Jones will moderate an inter-sectoral panel that brings together local and national experts to engage in debate on the state of our understanding of human rights and how they apply to our cities. The discussion will cover human rights issues as they relate to urban aboriginal and new Canadian communities, social and affordable housing, and, in general, services and facilities provided by municipal governments. This event is being organized with support from the Kule Institute for Advanced Study (KIAS).

Speakers: Antonella Ceddia, Human Rights litigator with the City of Toronto, Robert Philp, Chief of the Commission and Tribunals for Alberta and Chief Commissioner of the Alberta Human Rights Commission, Shirish P. Chotalia QC, Immigration Lawyer, Past Chairperson Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, and Dominique Clement, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Alberta.

About our panelists:

Antonella Ceddia is a litigation lawyer with the City of Toronto where she practises human rights defence on behalf of the City, Chief of Police of the Toronto Police Service and the Toronto Police Services Board. In addition to litigation defence, Antonella advises the City on contentious human rights issues that arise from the services the City provides to the public.  Antonella articled at the Court of Appeal for Ontario and she practiced litigation defence at McCarthy Tétrault LLP in Toronto for six years before joining the City. Antonella's legal advice is enhanced by senior professional roles she held in policy advice and analysis in her first career, before she studied law, including as Policy/Issues Analyst at the Cabinet Office, province of Ontario; Policy Advisor at the Office of the Mayor –Toronto; Principal of her own human rights consulting firm; Investigator at the Ontario Human Rights Commission; and first professional, full-time Human Rights Investigator at Ryerson University. In addition to her LL.B., Antonella holds an M.A. in Public Policy and Administration. She is currently the Co-Chair of the Practice Advisory Committee to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Antonella developed and now teaches a course on human rights obligations and land use planning at the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University. 

Judge Robert Philp became Chief of the Commission and Tribunals of the Alberta Human Rights Commission on July 1st, 2014. He is a respected jurist and lawyer and a community and social justice activist committed to human rights, equality and education locally, nationally and internationally. Judge Philp has spent 29 years practicing law, nine years as an Alberta Criminal Court Judge and seven years as a Deputy Judge of the Northwest Territories. He also has many notable professional appointments, including the Law Society Committees in Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Judge Philp continues to hold positions as an executive Executive or Board Member on many community organizations, including Boyle Street Community Services, Reach Edmonton, the Edmonton Community Legal Center, Jellinek Men's Recovery House, and the Mayor’s Edmonton task force to end poverty. Judge Philp was named Queen's Counsel in December 1999. He received the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003 and the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005.

Shirish P. Chotalia Q.C. practices in the areas of immigration, personal injury law, and employment law. She has successfully litigated many high profile cases. Of interest to our panel is her pro bono work on the RCMP Sikh Turban case wherein she defended the rights of Indo-Canadian Sikhs to wear the turban for religious reasons while serving as RCMP officers. She has also appeared on the Vriend case at the SCC, on inclusion of sexual orientation; successfully sued Mobil Oil for gender discrimination (Walsh). She hs worked extensively in the area of human rights law. Ms. Chotalia Q.C. has received many awards and recognition for her service to those in need. Ms. Chotalia Q.C. obtained her Bachelor of Arts in 1983, her J.D. (Doctorate of Laws) in 1986 and her Master of Laws in 1991 from the University of Alberta. She was admitted to the Bar of Alberta in 1987.

Dominique Clément is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Alberta. He is the author of the award-winning books Canada’s Rights Revolution, Equality Deferred and Human Rights in Canada, as well as the co-editor for Alberta's Human Rights Story and Debating Dissent. Clément has been a Visiting Scholar in Australia and the United Kingdom, and is the author of numerous articles on human rights, social movements, gender equality, foreign policy and labour. His website,, serves as a research and teaching portal on human rights in Canada.

Launched in 2012, the University of Alberta Planning program is the only home-grown, Alberta-focused undergraduate program in planning available in the Province. The B.Sc. Planning is for those who are interested in focusing on natural science elements of Planning including environmental and resource management and the use of GIS. Those interested in the economic, physical and social side of planning tend to consider BA in Planning. The Program aims to educate students in the orderly disposition of land, resources, facilities and services with a view to securing the physical, economic and social well-being of communities. The Program has recently expanded through the introduction of an MSc in Planning program with a focus on resilient cities and regions, scheduled to be launched in 2017. For more information about the University of Alberta Planning Program visit: We will also be hosting a complementary workshop. Stay tuned for details!

Stay tuned for future RPSS events!