German Minor Savannah Bein has secured a fellowship from the School of Cities to lead an ‘Urban Sustainability Working Group’ within the newly formed School of Cities Student Academy. Over three hundred students applied, and Savannah was one of 10 undergraduates selected. Fellows receive a stipend, space to hold meetings and network with other working groups, and support from the School of Cities team. The Academy is an interdisciplinary academic platform to foster academic and social engagement, leadership in city-building and urban scholarship. According to the School of Cities Leadership team, the Academy is conceived as a “student-led intellectual hub, vibrant community, site of practice and open forum for undergraduate and graduate students’ collaborative learning, professional development, research, networking, mentorship, critical and ethical engagement with complex urban challenges and urban education in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada and globally.” The first cohort of Academy fellows was recognized at a festive reception on Friday, February 8th in the School of Cities’ spacious new facilities at 55 St. George St.
A third-year environmental studies major, who is participating in ecoHub Freiburg summer internship program, Savannah is assembling a team that will focus on one of Europe’s most sustainably designed urban enclaves, Vauban, which is located on the site of a former French military barracks in the southwestern German city of Freiburg. The group will meet to discuss how Vauban is addressing the full range of challenges facing urban development, from transit and pedestrian-friendly neighborhood design, to water, energy, and materials conservation, to equity. Since Vauban was created within the limits of an existing cityscape, the objective will be to learn lessons for redeveloping urban spaces in Toronto.
The working group will provide an exciting forum for students from various fields to engage with the topic and each other. It will also offer valuable preparation for those participants who will be participating in the ecoHub Freiburg pilot, iPRAKTIKUM’s first Germany-based internship project. ecoHub Freiburg interns will report to the rest of the working group in Toronto during their placements and present their experiences in a public forum organized by the School of Cities. The plan is to document the project in digital form.
The Urban Sustainability Working Group is receiving a partial match of funds from iPRAKTIKUM. Project Leads Helena Juenger and Stefan Soldovieri are providing mentoring and practical support.