DIRECTOR // Nina-Marie Lister (MCIP, RPP, Hon. ASLA)









Nina-Marie Lister is Graduate Program Director and Associate Professor in the School of Urban + Regional Planning at Ryerson University in Toronto. From 2010-2014, she was Visiting Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture + Urban Planning at Harvard University, Graduate School of Design. A Registered Professional Planner (MCIP, RPP) trained in ecology, environmental science and landscape planning, she is the founding principal of PLANDFORM, a creative studio practice exploring the relationship between landscape, ecology, and urbanism. Prof. Lister’s research, teaching and practice focus on the confluence of landscape infrastructure and ecological processes within contemporary metropolitan regions, with a particular focus on resilience and adaptive systems design.

She is co-editor of Projective Ecologies (with Chris Reed, Harvard and ACTAR Press, 2014) and The Ecosystem Approach: Complexity, Uncertainty, and Managing for Sustainability (with David Waltner-Toews and the late James Kay, Columbia University Press, 2008), and author of more than 40 professional practice and scholarly publications. These include recent contributions to Is Landscape…Essays on the Identity of Landscape (Routledge 2016), Ecological Urbanism (Harvard GSD with Lars Müller Publishers 2010), and Large Parks (Princeton Architectural Press 2008, winner of the J.B. Jackson Book Prize). She was Guest Editor of the Journal of Ecological Restoration for a special issue on landscape connectivity, and is a recent contributor to Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment to a special issue on climate change for the 100th anniversary of the Ecological Society of America.

As a member of the Ryerson Urban Water Centre, Lister contributes work on flood-friendly design and resilient water infrastructure. Her work has also been featured in many international exhibitions, including the 2016 Venice Architectural Biennale in which she is a collaborator on Canada’s entry entitled EXTRACTION—a critical examination of Canada’s role as a global resource empire, featuring an installation, film and book exploring the ecologies and territories of resource extraction. Locally, Lister is curator and director of a public exhibition on wildlife, infrastructure and urbanism: XING (Re)Connecting Landscapes launched in Toronto at Evergreen Brick Works in 2013 and is now on permanent exhibit at the Toronto Zoo. In recognition of her international leadership in ecological design, Lister was awarded Honorary Membership in the American Society of Landscape Architects.

See also:  


+ PROJECT MANAGER // Marta Brocki


Marta is a graduate of the Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning program at Ryerson University where she worked as a Research Assistant and Project Coordinator at the Ecological Design Lab since 2013.

Her interests, in research and practice, centre on the implementation of green and adaptive infrastructure, specifically for enhanced landscape connectivity. Marta is co-author of “Embracing Complexity: Ecological Design for Living Landscapes” published in Oz, the Journal of the College of Architecture, Planning and Design at Kansas State University’s issue on Complexity and “Integrated adaptive design for wildlife movement under climate change” published in a special issue on climate change for the 100th anniversary Frontiers in Ecology and Environment.

She has been closely involved with the development of the XING: (Re)Connecting Landscapes project and the creation and installation of exhibits at Evergreen Brick Works, the Royal Ontario Museum, and most recently at the Toronto Zoo.

+ RESEARCH ASSISTANT // Vincent Racine


Vincent Racine is a Masters candidate in Ryerson University’s School of Urban and Regional Planning graduate program and a research assistant for the Ecological Design Lab. He is currently undergoing a literature review of all major urban cities with waterways, looking at the intersection between green and blue infrastructure from a design and policy standpoint. Vincent’s previous research experience includes sustainable practices and active transportation. He is the co-author of “An Evaluation of oil spill responses for offshore oil production projects in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada: Implications for seabird conservation“, published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin. Within the realm of design and urban planning, he is interested in landscape connectivity in dense waterfront cities, specifically looking at acquisition and private-public partnerships. Born and raised in Montreal, Vincent holds a B.Sc in Environmental Sciences from McGill University.



Arleigh is a Masters candidate at Ryerson University’s School of Urban and Regional Planning. She completed her undergraduate degree in Environment and Urban Sustainability and is an experienced traveller having gallivanted, volunteered, studied and conducted research in Europe, Central America, Africa and Asia. She is an engaged volunteer and proponent of sustainability initiatives across the city and on campus as an executive member of Sustainable SURP and is member of the winning team of the Ryerson Urban Water’s Green Infrastructure Hackathon who sought to address public water literacy, and resilient stormwater management in Toronto. Her interests centre on landscape scale habitat connectivity, urban resilience and adaptation, and as a near anthropology major, human culture and quality of life at home and abroad. She is curious about how these topics intersect in the realm of urban planning and how they can work together to create more sustainable cities and societies.

+ RESEARCH ASSISTANT // Madeline Gibson


Madeline Gibson is currently completing her post-baccalaureate in Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University. Originally from Erin, ON, Madeline completed her undergraduate degree at Carleton University in Environmental Studies and Political Studies where she completed a study year abroad in Grenoble, France, focusing on the city’s sustainable urban planning policies. Afterwards, she went on to work as a Legislative Assistant for her local Member of Parliament in Ottawa, where she provided legislative and procedural advice for the passage of the Reform Act, 2014 and managed communications from the MP’s Parliament Hill office.

Following her dreams to address climate change through urban planning, Madeline began her studies at Ryerson in the fall of 2015. Her interest in green infrastructure and urban ecology led her to work with Ryerson Urban Water where she helped organize the Ryerson Urban Water Green Infrastructure Hackathon in collaboration with the City of Toronto Planning Department and Toronto Water.

As she prepares to graduate in the spring, Madeline is focused on building a planning career that respects the role that our natural environment plays in creating sustainable and resilient communities.

+ RESEARCH ASSISTANT // Clarissa Huffman


Clarissa is in her final year in Ryerson University’s Post-Baccalaureate stream of the Urban and Regional Planning program. She also completed an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology at McMaster University, with an interdisciplinary minor in Archaeology and Environmental Science, and worked as part of an archaeology field team before returning to her studies. Past studio research projects within SURP include analyzing civic interventions in the City of Toronto’s Ward 30, and identifying solutions to policy silos in terms of climate change mitigation and heritage preservation with the Ontario Heritage Trust. In an internship with the Hamilton Burlington Trails Council, Clarissa assisted in the design of a system of connectivity for multi-use trails and active transportation routes in Hamilton, Burlington, and Stoney Creek. Finally, in an internship with Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, Clarissa underwent an in-depth analysis of Alternative Development Standards and the possibility of implementation in rural communities to assist in meeting intensification and density standards without encroachment on environmentally sensitive lands. Clarissa is interested in active transportation, sustainable development, environmentally sustainable resource management and the reduction of urban sprawl. She intends to continue to study the intersection between planning and environment, as she believes that individuals who have a stronger understanding of their effect on the natural environment make the most environmentally conscious decisions.

+ RESEARCH ASSISTANT // Adam Harrison  


Adam has been with the Ecological Design Lab since 2014 as a research assistant. Primarily in support of the XING: (Re)Connecting Landscapes project, he has contributed to the design of a permanent installation at the Toronto Zoo, performed research and writing in support of two published academic journal articles, and supported the development of a successful SSHRC grant application. Ever curious about the pluralities inherent in our modern urban centres and the fluidity of place, Adam’s interests lie at the crossover of planning and design as they relate to equity, community, and the environment.

+ COLLABORATOR // Christopher Alton
+ COLLABORATOR // Zannah Matson
+ RESEARCH ASSISTANT // Neil Loewen (Summer 2015)