Staff Team

Cherise Burda

Executive Director

Cherise Burda is an accomplished leader and champion for sustainability and progressive development in Canada. As the Executive Director of the Ryerson City Building Institute, she addresses critical urban challenges through innovative research, policy analysis and public outreach strategies. In the past, she has served as the Ontario Director of the Pembina Institute and as Program Director for the David Suzuki Foundation. She currently sits on the 2018 Sidewalk Labs Advisory Council and the City of Toronto’s Atmospheric Fund Advisory Group; past appointments have included Ontario’s Government Housing Supply Forum, the Premier of Ontario’s Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel, and Toronto’s Housing Affordability Working Group. She is a member of the Urban Land Institute’s Women Leadership Initiative. She holds a Master of Arts in Environmental Legislation and Policy from the University of Victoria. Cherise is on Twitter as @CheriseBurda.

Graham Haines

Research & Policy Manager

Graham Haines brings experience working in the public, private and NGO sectors to the Ryerson City Building Institute. Prior to joining the team he worked with the Pembina Institute, Arup, and most recently for the City of Regina as a Senior Policy Analyst in their Long-Range Planning Department. Over the course of his career Graham has carried out research and authored reports on a wide range of urban issues including transportation economics, development charges, renewable energy policy, and climate change mitigation.

He holds an M.Pl. in Urban Development and a B.ASc. in Engineering Science specializing in infrastructure engineering.

Claire Nelischer

Project Manager

Claire’s work with the City Building Institute focuses on planning and policy to support a vibrant public realm. She has authored reports on a range of topics including street design, parks policy, and planning for civic assets, and frequently presents and writes on urban issues.

Before joining CBI, Claire was an Urban Fellow with the City of Toronto, where she contributed to the development of the City’s first Complete Streets Guidelines. Prior to this, Claire worked with non-profit organizations in Toronto and New York City focused on urban and civic issues, including Jane’s Walk, the Centre for City Ecology, and the Pratt Centre for Community Development. Claire holds a M.Sc. in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute and a BAH from Queen’s University.

Claire Pfeiffer

Communications & PR

Claire Pfeiffer started as the Ryerson City Building Institute's Communications and Public Relations Specialist in July 2018. Prior to this she held similar positions in communications and marketing at Artscape, Blackwell, Ontario Arts Council, Magazines Canada and other organizations in the creative industries and non-profit sector. She earned a B.A. in Anthropology and Linguistics from Concordia in the 1990s and a Master of Publishing from Simon Fraser University in the early 2000s. Her interests in city building include the role of culture in communities, how design and built form impact behaviour, and environmental sustainability in urban planning.

Advisory Board

Steven Liss

VP, Research & Innovation, Ryerson University

Dr. Anne Golden

CBI Chair and Founder

Ken Greenberg

CBI Vice Chair and Co-Founder

Pamela Robinson

Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning

Christopher De Sousa

Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning

Academic Council

Art Blake

Associate Professor, History

Sara Edge

Assistant Professor, Geography and Environmental Studies

Bilal Farooq

Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering

Chris Gore

Associate Professor and Chair, Politics

Tony Hernandez

Director & Eaton Chair in Retailing, and Professor, TRSM

Cynthia Holmes

Associate Professor, Real Estate Management Chair, TRSM

George Kapelos

Professor, Architectural Science

Richard Lachman

Director of Research Development for FCAD

Jenn McArthur

Assistant Professor, Architectural Science

Dan McGillivray

Distinguished Visiting Professor, FEAS

Raktim Mitra

Assistant Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning

Pamela Robinson

Associate Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning

Cheryl Teelucksingh

Professor, Sociology

Bala Venkatesh

Professor, Electrical Engineering

Zhixi Zhuang

Associate Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning

Graduate Students

We often hire Ryerson University graduate students to help us produce special projects and research. Here are some of the students we’ve worked with to date.

Bria Aird

Kasia Kmiec

Kelly Graham

Marika Franko

Sam Carter-Shamai

Tamara Nahal

Vincent Racine

Research Assistants

Arielle Zamdvaiz

Research Assistant