I was born and grew up in the Toronto neighbourhood of North Toronto. Our house was located near a subway line, and as a child, I used to watch the trains passing by (which spurred my interest in urban transport and quite possibly in urban geography). North Toronto, a typical streetcar suburb of the 1920s, was an ideal place from which to explore the dynamic and exciting city. This early curiosity in my hometown has become an academic pursuit to understand how and why cities and neighbourhoods change and develop. Over time, my desire to learn about new places drew me first to Edinburgh, as an exchange student in 2001 and later the Netherlands, where I have resided since 2004.
Since 2009 I have worked as a lecturer in urban geography at Utrecht University. My teaching and research focuses on a wide variety of themes within the discipline. My wife and I live in The Hague.
PhD, Utrecht University, Faculty of Geosciences (2010)
Rich cities with poor people: waterfront regeneration in the Netherlands and Scotland
My PhD was written in the department of human geography and planning, under the supervision of Ronald van Kempen and Jan van Weesep. It examined the question of who profits from large-scale flagship waterfront developments and, more broadly, gentrification. I examined two cases: the Kop van Zuid in Rotterdam and Glasgow Harbour.
My 3 years as a PhD student was a very positive experience and it allowed me to develop my research, writing and publishing skills. My supervisors helped structure and assist with the project while at the same time giving me the freedom to pursue my own ideas. I am also grateful to the faculty, staff and students within the Urban Studies department at Glasgow University, where I had the privilege of being a visiting PhD student for three months.
MSc, Utrecht University, Faculty of Geosciences (2006) cum laude
My Master's dissertation, completed within the two-year Research Master's in Human Geography and Planning, focused on the subjective experiences of residents living through the process of gentrification in Leith, Edinburgh. The thesis was supervised by Rob van der Vaart.
Residents who live through gentrification, and are neither the gentrifiers nor the displaced, are often ignored in the academic literature which often paints the process in black and white terms. My results gave a more nuanced perspective on the process, as local residents both welcomed and were cautious of some aspects of the neighbourhood change. An article based on this thesis has been published in the Journal of Housing and the Built Environment.
HonBA, University of Toronto, Faculty of Arts and Science (2003) with distinction
My undergraduate experience began with an intro urban geography course taught by Larry Bourne, one of Canada's most respected geographers. After taking a few courses in political science and sociology, I decided to major in urban, economic and social geography, with minors in GIS and history.
During my third year, I was selected to go on exchange to Edinburgh University. This experience started my love affair with traveling and living abroad and opened up new doors and horizons for me. When I returned, I worked with Carlos Teixeira on my thesis examining the changing ethnic groups who have lived in Toronto's Kensington Market since 1945
Outside of work, my main hobby is curling. I am very fortunate in that curling has allowed me to travel to exciting places, and meet some wonderful people. I have curled since I was 14 years old, playing for both my high school and university teams in Canada.
Shortly after moving to the Netherlands, I was introduced to the Greek national curling team, who all live in and around Düsseldorf, Germany. I had the opportunity to coach them for two seasons, participating at the European Curling Championship in 2004 in Sofia, Bulgaria and 2005 in Garmish-Partenkirchen, Germany
After leaving the Greek team, I decided I wanted to play more competitively, in addition to coaching. I formed a team with four others and we trained hard and played in numerous national and international tournaments together. We had the honour of representing the Netherlands twice at the European Championships: in 2008 in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, and 2010 in Champéry, Switzerland. In 2010, we played in the A division against some of the top teams in the world.
In 2011 I joined a young team who were just out of juniors and were playing their first season in the men's division. In October 2011, we won the Dutch men's championship, which allowed us to represent the Netherlands at the European Curling Championships in Moscow in December. It was an incredible experience and the whole team learned a lot from it.
I am a World Curling Federation certified level 2 coach and have participated as an assistant instructor at the WCF junior camp in Füssen, Germany.
I have also volunteer at the Electrische Museumtram Amsterdam as a conductor. The museum has a collection of over forty historic trams from various European countries and operates on Sundays. From time to time, I give presentations on the subject of trams and urban transport to various groups. I also write articles on various topics related to urban transport.
I am a native English speaker. I am also fluent in Dutch, speak conversational French and basic German.