Alexandru Balasescu

Adjunct professor

Research interests: participative urbanism and design, human-machine interaction, smart cities, public performances and interventions, theories of subject formation, urban ecosystems and animal life forms in urban spaces.

Alexandru (Alec) Balasescu is an anthropologist, writer, curator and author of Paris Chic, Tehran Thrills. Aesthetic Bodies, Political Subjects (ZETA Books, 2007). He publishes extensively in international journals covering interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approaches to urbanism, design, material culture and the body. His research has received support from the Center for German and European Studies, UC Berkeley; the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research; the British Library; the French Institute of Research in Iran; and the Open Society Institute.

Over the past six years he has held administrative positions and was engaged in projects of urban regeneration through arts and culture in Bucharest and Istanbul. He also taught in several universities, including The American University of Paris, RUW Bahrain and Galatasaray University in Istanbul. He co-edited the special issue of the Journal of Development on urban sustainability (vol 54.3, 2011).

Dr. Balasescu obtained his LEED AP accreditation in Vancouver and is a founding member of the Moving Matters Traveling Workshop, based at UC-Riverside.

Ken Cameron

Adjunct Professor

Research interests: local and regional planning and governance

Ken Cameron has 26 years of experience in senior planning and management positions in local government in the Greater Vancouver area, most recently as manager of policy and planning with the Greater Vancouver Regional District. He played a key role in the adoption of the Livable Region Strategic Plan in 1996 with the formal support of the region's 21 municipalities, an accomplishment that was recognized in 2002 by the UN Habitat Program's Dubai awards for outstanding contributions to the human environment.

Between 2004 and 2009, Ken served as chief executive officer of the Homeowner Protection Office, a provincially owned corporation that licensed residential builders, oversaw the operation of the privately provided home warranty insurance system and provided financial assistance to owners of homes subject to premature building envelope failure. Since 2009, Ken has served as a consultant on regional planning and governance for a number of public sector clients. He is an adjunct professor of Urban Studies at Simon Fraser University and of community and regional Planning at the University of British Columbia.

Ken is past chair of the International Centre for Sustainable Cities. He is a fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners. With former Premier Mike Harcourt and local writer Sean Rossiter, Ken authored City-Making in Paradise: Nine Decisions that Saved Vancouver, which was published by Douglas & McIntyre in 2007.

Frank Cunningham

Adjunct Professor

Frank Cunningham is emeritus professor of philosophy and political science at the University of Toronto. He was a senior advisor at the University of Toronto's Cities Centre from 2007 until its dissolution in 2013. His principal mandate at that centre was to involve scholars, and teachers of philosophy in particular, and the humanities in general, in the efforts of urbanists from other disciplines. He also helped to organize regular forums on urban issues, bringing together urban activists and university researchers. Professor Cunningham  is past president of the Canadian Philosophical Association and served at the U. of T. as chair of the Department of Philosophy, principal of Innis College, and interim director of the Centre for Ethics. He was inducted as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1995.

Teaching and research has been in the area of social and political philosophy, with an emphasis in recent years on urban philosophy. His writings in political philosophy have focused on democratic theory and most recently on the views of C.B. Macpherson. Research topics in urban theory have included public space, urban aboriginal challenges, citizenship, and utopian/anti-utopian debates, with special emphasis on the thought of Walter Benjamin. A C.V. and some publications in electronic formats are available at

Lisa Freeman

Adjunct Professor

Research Interests: housing, municipal law, suburbs, urban governance, legal geography

Dr. Lisa Freeman is a faculty member in the Criminology Department at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research and teaching intersects in the fields of socio-legal studies, human geography and urban planning. Her research focuses on the questions of law and regulation in the city, the relationship between gentrification and the suburbanization of poverty, and the role of municipal government in regulating low-income housing.

Lisa's research focus is on the changing landscape and regulation of rooming houses and SRO dwellings. She completed her PhD in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto where she studied the impact Toronto’s Rooming House Bylaw had on inner suburbs tenants, primarily but not exclusively for low-income, immigrant, and refugee tenants. This research heightened Lisa’s interest in questions of housing, marginality, suburbs and urban governance. In 2013 she started a new research project on public libraries and urban governance in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland as part of her SSHRC post-doctoral fellowship in the Geography Department at Simon Fraser University. This research explores the changing nature of public libraries, and their governance, for newcomers to Canada, marginalized communities, and urban residents amidst escalated housing prices, times of austerity, and the changing role of public libraries in urban and suburban settings.

Community-engaged research is a large part of Dr. Freeman’s work. She continually engages with research participants and publishes in a variety of community and academic publications. She is continuing community-engaged research with Northern Canadian communities and is working towards a new research project that addresses the relationship between the criminal courts, low-income housing, and the escalated housing market in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. Lisa is currently the co-principal investigator (with Dr. Julia Christensen) on a SSHRC-funded resource and sustainable development Project, researching the connections between resource development and housing in the Northwest Territories.

Seth Klein

Adjunct Professor

Research Interests: fiscal policy, taxation, welfare policy, poverty, inequality, economic security, climate justice, and job creation

Seth Klein served for 22 years (1996-2018) as the founding British Columbia director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a public policy research institute committed to social, economic and environmental justice. He is now a freelance researcher, writer, consultant and speaker, and currently writing a book on how to align Canadian politics with the climate emergency.

Seth is a founder and served for eight years as co-chair of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, a network of over 50 community organizations campaigning for a comprehensive poverty reduction plan in BC. He is a founder and served for 10 years on the advisory committee of the Metro Vancouver Living Wage for Families campaign. He is an advisory board member for the Columbia Institute’s Centre for Civic Governance. And he is a founder, advisor and instructor for Next Up, a leadership program for young people committed to social and environmental justice.

Seth's research reports can be found on the CCPA’s website and his policy commentary can be found primarily on the CCPA-BC’s blog.

Kamala Todd

Adjunct Professor

Kamala Todd is a Metis-Cree community planner, educator, curator and filmmaker who was born and raised in the beautiful lands of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ and Skwxwú7mesh-speaking people (also known as Vancouver). She has a master's degree in geography (UBC) and is the City of Vancouver’s first Indigenous arts and culture planner. For six years (2000-2006) she was the City of Vancouver’s Aboriginal social planner, where she created Storyscapes, a community arts and storytelling project to help bring greater recognition for the many diverse stories of Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh and urban Indigenous people in Vancouver. This included a partnership with NFB to create Our City Our Voices, an oral history video project recording Indigenous stories with youth and elders, as well as residents in the Downtown Eastside. This also included the Coast Salish public art project in "Stanley Park", that resulted in Susan Point's People Among the People archways. Kamala was a consultant centrally involved in the Vancouver Dialogues Project, which brought together First Nations, urban Indigenous, and immigrant communities to build circles of dialogue and cultural-sharing. Kamala’s film credits include Indigenous Plant Diva, Cedar and Bamboo, RELAW: Living Indigenous Laws, and Sharing our Stories: the Vancouver Dialogues Project. She writes and directs for children’s television, including the Indigenous science series Coyote's Crazy Smart Science Show and the Cree language series Nehiyawetan, both on APTN. She created a video series about Indigenous law for UVic’s Indigenous Law Research Unit. She is the author of “This Many-storied Land”, in In This Together: Fifteen Stories of Truth and Reconciliation (2016) and Truth-Telling: Indigenous perspectives on Working with Municipal Governments (2017) for the Vancouver Park Board. Kamala is the proud mother of two amazing boys. She lives with her family on the beautiful Sunshine Coast.

Michael von Hausen

Adjunct Professor

Michael is one of Canada’s recognized leaders in urban design and healthy community planning, with over 35 years of teaching and professional experience. He is curriculum coordinator and chief instructor of the award-winning urban design certificate in the City Program at SFU. His most recent book – Dynamic Urban Design (2013, iUniverse) - is used by five university programs in Canada. Michael also developed and facilitates the three courses for the Urban Development Institute’s School of Development, Pacific Region. In 2014, he was recognized by the Heritage Register of Who’s Who for Executives and Professionals and in 2015 by Trademark Who’s Who for Excellence in Urban Design. He is a graduate of Harvard University with a master's in urban design and a specialty in real estate economics.

In addition, Michael is president of MVH Urban Planning and Design Inc., a firm that specializes in international urban design, advanced facilitation, and community partnerships. His firm has received ten local, provincial, and international awards over the past seven years for its innovation in planning, development, and design. He is a registered professional planner, landscape architect and certified public participation practitioner as well as a LEED accredited professional.

In 2013, his firm won the international eco-city design competition for Huangshi, China in association with the Guangzhou Planning Institute. In 2016, MVH received the Planning Institute of British Columbia’s Gold Award for the firm’s work on the Lougheed Town Centre Core Area Master Plan with the City of Burnaby and Shape Development Corporation. Michael von Hausen also became a fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners in 2016 – the institute’s highest award – for his distinguished national and international work, teaching and mentorship.

Qiyan Wu

Adjunct professor

Qiyan Wu is professor of the School of Public Policy and Administration, Xi’an Jiaotong University.  He was a professor at the East China Normal University from 2016 to 2017, the Nanjing Normal University from 2010 to 2016 and academic dean and professor at Yunnan University from 2002 to 2010. He was also a visiting professor at the University of British Columbia in 2007-08.

His teaching and research over the past five years has focused on the areas of education-led gentrification (e.g coined the term jiaoyufication), urban residential segregation, urban housing policy, and urban political economy, and has recently included the impact of the high-speed rail system on urban and regional restructuring.

Professor Wu was involved in editing a number of entries on Chinese cities and towns for Encyclopedia Britannica in 2000 and he has published numerous papers in academic journals such as the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Urban Studies, Housing Studies, Urban Geography, Cities, Journal of Rural Studies, Research of Social Stratification and Mobility, Habitat International, Energy Policy, Applied Energy and Journal of Cleaner Production, some of which are available at

Andrew Yan

Born and raised in Vancouver, Andy Yan is director of SFU's City Program. He has extensively worked in the non-profit and private urban planning sectors with projects in the metropolitan regions of Vancouver, San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. He specializes in the fields of urban regeneration, applied demographics, geographic information systems, neighborhood development, public outreach, social media, and quantitative research. Andy holds a master’s in urban planning from the University of California – Los Angeles and a bachelor of arts with first class honours distinctions in geography and political science from Simon Fraser University. He is a registered professional planner with the Canadian Institute of Planners and a certified geographic information systems professional.

Andy is also an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Regional and Community Planning as well as an affiliate with the Master’s of Urban Design Program of UBC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. He has been and will be a visiting scholar at New York University’s Asian/Pacific/American Studies Institute (2002-2003, 2015-2016) as well as a visiting scholar at SFU’s Institute of Governance.

He serves on the board of directors for the Downtown Eastside Neighborhood House and the David Suzuki Foundation’s Climate Council. He was reappointed to the City of Vancouver’s Planning Commission in 2014.