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B.E.S.T. Lectures


28 February - 22 March 2018
Location: Toronto
Provider: University of Toronto

Lectures Location: University of Toronto - Faculty Club, 41 Willcocks St., Toronto ON M5S 3G3. Seating is limited to a firrst come, first serve basis.

Lecture: Building, Ecology, Science and Technology Lecture Series

Lecturer: Robert Ouellette

Time: WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2018 - 6:00 PM


Want digital cities that thrive in a changing world? Start with responsive, sustainable buildings.

Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Everything, and mobile computing are disrupting traditional economies, but does that disruption bring with it new, powerful tools architects, urban designers, and city managers can use to build the cities of tomorrow, today? In this talk to the B.E.S.T. community, MESH Cities founder Robert Ouellette explains how the fine-grained design strategies used to create responsive buildings will cushion the massive systemic change brought by smart cities.

Robert Ouellette’s leadership in strategic innovation and design helps cities, companies, and institutions thrive in a changing world.

Along with design champions Charles Landry and MIT’s Carlo Ratti, Ouellette received the City Father award in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He advised global leaders on the financial and social benefits of smart building retrofits at the Think Green Global Forum in Nanjing, China. While working with Dr. Ron Dembo, he directed the global zeroprize building re-skinning competition in partnership with the World Urban Forum. He was a respondent at the United Nations’ Sustainable Cities conference in New York.

His online initiative to open up the TTC’s real-time traffic data led to a crowd-sourcing event Harvard Business Review called a breakthrough business idea, and the John Street Interactive project—predating Google’s Street View—is on perpetual display in the National Library of France.

A recipient of the City of Toronto’s Urban Design Award, he publishes in architecture and planning journals nationally and internationally. The National Post nominated Robert for a National Newspaper Award. He has an honours degree in Architecture from the U of T, and an MBA from the Ivey School of Business. See


Lecture: Measuring Landscape Performance on the Toronto Waterfront

Lecturer: Jane Wolff & Elise Shelley & Elise Hunchuck

Time: THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2018 - 6:00 PM


Despite current enthusiasm for resilient design, not nearly enough information is available about the consequences of decisions made in the design and implementation of landscape architectural projects. Inside and beyond the design disciplines, there is an urgent need for clear, comparable data to demonstrate how well-intentioned proposals are actually affecting urban environments for better (or worse).This talk will present research on the environmental, economic and social performance of three Toronto waterfront parks — HTO, Sherbourne Common and Corktown Common—and discuss their power as an ensemble in the redevelopment of the city’s waterfront.

Jane Wolff is an associate professor at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. Her design research investigates the hybrid ecological systems of intensely inhabited landscapes; its goal is to make such places legible to the wide range of audiences with a stake in the future.

Elise Shelley is an assistant professor at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, and the principal of Elise Shelley Landscape Architect in Toronto. Her teaching, practice and research focus on material innovation, spatial legibility and the interdisciplinary nature of public space.

Elise Hunchuck is a Berlin based researcher, designer, and editor with degrees in landscape architecture and philosophy whose work focuses on bringing together fieldwork and design through collaborative practices of observation, care, and coordination. Facilitating multidisciplinary exchanges between teaching and representational methods as a way to further develop landscape-oriented research methodologies at multiple scales, her research develops cartographic, photographic, and text-based practices to explore and communicate the agency of disasters through infrastructures of risk, including memorials, monuments, and coastal defence structures.