Futures Forum 2023 - Public Engagement & Technology

Wednesday, May 10, 2023 8:30 am - 5:00 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)

Futures Forum 2023 – Public Engagement & Technology

The inaugural Futures Forum will focus on opportunities and challenges of public engagement, as viewed through the lens of technological, socio-economic, and political changes. This is an in-person event only. Please see below for a program of the day’s events, with information on registration available at the bottom of the page.


Moderator & Host:

Markus Moos, MCIP RPP, Professor & Director, School of Planning, University of Waterloo

8:30 AM – Conference Opening & Networking Session

Confirmed guests for networking include:

Brandon Gaffoor, Manager - Property Acquisitions, Ontario Line, Metrolinx

Zahra Jaffer, Associate, Dillon Consulting Limited

Tanya Roberts, Project Manager (Planning), Planning Division, City of Kitchener

Matt Rodrigues, Senior Planner, WSP

Jay Pitter, International Placemaker; Author; Planner-in-Residence (2021-2022) and Adjunct Professor, School of Planning

Tristan Wilkin, Principal Planner, Housing Services, Region of Waterloo

Michael Witmer, Senior Development Planner, City of Guelph

Vitumbiko Mhango, Senior Project Manager, Parks Development, City of Toronto

And More!

10:00 AM – Keynote & Q&A Session - "Public Engagement, Technology and the Art of Living Well Together"

Bianca Wylie, Partner, Digital Public and Co-founder, Tech Reset Canada

Our guest speaker, Bianca Wylie, Partner, Digital Public and Co-founder, Tech Reset Canada

The narrative focus of the last political century has been defined by rights – civil, to the city, digital, and more. To deliver on the opportunities that democracy affords us, the next century will need to focus as much energy, if not more, on responsibilities, the flip side of the rights coin. Through this effort, public institutions can expand and bloom. Without this effort, they will continue their decline.  An increase in populist tactics is arriving from people all along the political spectrum, seeking to leverage this moment to hold onto power.  The time for your resistance to this situation is now. Urban planning, as one of the professions focused on defining and supporting the ways we live together, has a significant role to play in the development of a more defensible practice of democracy at the local level, including defining if and how to use technology in these efforts. Technology often removes the necessary construct of geographic relations, which are vital to accountability. As such, planners, by statutory remit, must think about the next era of public engagement as one that opens doors to leverage and pull on the power(s) of the public to address wide scale inequities and historical wrongs. This conversation will focus on opportunities available to those working in urban planning in cities, in government, and in private practice and those currently studying planning, working in civic engagement and in technology design. The most important audience for these remarks, however, are the general publics - the heart, and the hope, of this proposition.

11:30 AM – Lunch & Networking Opportunities

Breakout Sessions – 1:00 PM

During the afternoon, attendees will be split into groups that will rotate between two workshops, outlined below.

1. "Digital citizen engagement: The good, the bad, and the in-between"


Morgan Boyco, Planner and Community Engagement Specialist, Dillon Consulting Limited & PhD Candidate, School of Planning, University of Waterloo

Karen Wianecki, MCIP RPP, Director of Practice, Planning Solutions Inc. & Founding Director, Canadian Collaborative for Engagement & Conflict Management

Bianca Wylie, Partner, Digital Public and Co-founder, Tech Reset Canada

2. “Paying for it, Collectively: Municipal Finance and Public Engagement”


Marta Berbes, Caivan Communities Assistant Professor, School of Planning & Future Cities Initiative, University of Waterloo

Ryan Hagey, Director, Financial Planning and Reporting, City of Kitchener

Laura Pin, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Wilfrid Laurier University

4:15 PM – What Have We Learned? A Forum Conversation


Registration for the event can be completed below. This event does not require a registration fee or membership. This is an in-person event only.

To sign up for the full-day event, click here.

To sign up for only the keynote speaker, click here.

If you are currently enrolled and can no longer attend our in-person event, click here.