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Risky Business: Financing the City

Thu, Oct 18/12 – 6:30pm to 8:00pm

On October 18th, The John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design will present Risky Business: Financing the City. Part of the Daniels Fora series, this event will explore the role that financial actors and designers play in the cycles of boom and bust that characterize our cities, and how these actors conceptualize risk and speculation as a city-building tool.


Throughout history, the fortunes of cities, great and small, have been tied to the way they gain access to resources and manage risk. In the western tradition, church, state, and market forces have all, at one time, conspired to effect what gets built, how its gets built, and for whom.  In the modern industrial city, this process has accelerated, with private capital increasingly driving the building of cities within a global network of competition and investment.


If our goal of managing risk in cities is to create resilient places that are ecologically, socially and economically sustainable, what questions and criteria might we bring to bear to achieve this end? With collaboration between real estate developers and architects/urban designers playing an ever-increasing role in both defining markets and city building, it is time to take a closer look at how these issues are playing out today in Toronto and beyond.


Risky Business: Financing the City will feature a highly distinguished group of speakers with experience in risk assessment, financial investment, and city building. Each panelist will bring a different perspective to the table, contributing to a lively — and timely — discussion, moderated by Richard Sommer, Dean of the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

6:30 -8:00 PM

Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles Street West


David Arthur, Managing Partner, North American Real Estate Investments, Brookfield Asset Management, and President and Chief Executive Officer of the Brookfield Real Estate Opportunity Fund I & II

Peter Clewes, Principal architect, architectsAlliance

Ron Dembo, Founder and CEO of Zerofootprint, and founder and former CEO of Algorithmics Incorporated

Ira Gluskin, President and Chief Investment Officer at Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc.

Stage furnishings provided by Herman Miller.

This is a public event. Tickets are required and available through:


The Daniels Fora present vigorous, engaging, and accessible discussions of interest not only to students, alumni, and professionals, but also the broader public. The goal of these public events is to bring together different perspectives in order to raise the level of debate, build relationships, and stimulate discussion among academics, institutions, and the general public.


David D. Arthur

David D. Arthur is Managing Partner of North America Real Estate Investments at Brookfield Asset Management, and the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Brookfield Real Estate Opportunity Fund I & II, real estate opportunity funds investing in high yield office, industrial, and residential real estate opportunities in major markets in the United States and Canada. These funds have been invested in over 20 million square feet of properties, and Mr. Arthur has played a leading role in over $40 Billion of real estate transactions at Brookfield. In addition, Mr. Arthur is a Director of Rouse Properties Inc. Prior to joining the Fund, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of Brookfield Properties Ltd. Responsibilities included Brookfield’s business in Canada as well as in Denver, Minneapolis, and southern California. Mr. Arthur was also founding Chairman of Brookfield LePage Johnson Controls, a major Canadian facilities management company. His previous experience includes Cadillac Fairview, Cambridge Leaseholds, Coscan, and Gentra. Mr. Arthur received his honors degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Waterloo and his Master of Science in Urban Land Economics from the University of British Columbia. He is a member of the World Presidents’ Organization, REALpac, ULI and NAIOP, and ICSC.

Peter Clewes, OAA, RAIC, AIA   

With over 30 years of practice, Peter Clewes has been behind some of the most innovative residential buildings in North America. He has extensive experience in all aspects of the process, from planning and economics to design and construction. Notable projects include the award-winning Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research at U of T; the Kaiser Computer Science and Engineering Building at UBC; mixed use development projects in Canada, the US and Europe; and the first ‘green’ student housing in Canada: the Pond Road Residence at York University.

Mr. Clewes’ innovative residential projects have been published internationally, and have received awards from the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA), Canadian Architect, and the City of Toronto. His involvement on the TDCCBR resulted in three awards, from the Royal Institute of British Architects, Architectural Record and Business Week magazines, and the OAA.

Mr. Clewes is a strong proponent of residential, academic, and mixed-use intensification as a tool for ensuring the vitality of the urban core. He was appointed to the Waterfront Toronto Design Review Panel in 2005, and speaks to professional, academic, and civic groups across Canada and the US on topics related to design, density, and urban renewal.

Dr. Ron Dembo

Dr. Ron Dembo is the Founder and CEO of Zerofootprint, a cleantech software and services company that makes environmental impact measurable, visible, and manageable for businesses, governments, institutions, and individuals. Zerofootprint’s solutions mitigate environmental risk and drive cost reductions through behavioural change. 

Dr. Dembo is also the founder and former CEO of Algorithmics Incorporated, growing it from a start-up to the world’s largest enterprise risk-management software company, with offices in fifteen countries, over 70% of the world’s top 100 banks as clients, and consistent recognition as one of Canada’s 50 best managed companies. Prior to this, he had a distinguished ten-year academic career at Yale University where he was cross-appointed in Computer Sciences and Operations Research.

In May 2007, Dr. Dembo was made a lifetime Fields Institute Fellow. This fellowship is awarded to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the Fields Institute, its programs, and to the Canadian mathematical community. He has authored over sixty technical papers on finance and mathematical optimization and three books, and holds a number of patents in Computational Finance and Software for Climate Change. He currently sits on a number of boards and is a member of the Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Committee Canada and the UN HABITAT World Urban Campaign Steering Committee

Ira Gluskin

Ira Gluskin has served as a Director of Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc, and, through December 31, 2009, as the company’s President and Chief Investment Officer since he co-founded GS+A with Gerald Sheff in 1984. He is currently the Co-Founder & Vice-Chairman of the company. Prior to co-founding Gluskin Sheff, Mr. Gluskin worked in the investment industry for 20 years, after receiving a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto. A well-known industry commentator, Mr. Gluskin is a member of the Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation Investment Committee, as well as its Board of Directors. He is the former Chair of the Investment Advisory Committee for the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto and is currently a member of its Investment Committee. Mr. Gluskin is also a member of the Toronto Symphony Foundation and the former Chair of the University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation.

Richard Sommer

Richard Sommer is an architect and urbanist with over twenty years of experience as a practitioner, educator, and theorist, and is currently the Dean of the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto. His design practice, research, and writing take the complex physical geography, culture, technology, politics, and historiography of the contemporary city as a starting point for creating a synthetic, cosmopolitan architecture. In addition to his focus on design in the context of broad trends in urbanization, Sommer has been engaged in a long-term, multi-faceted research project examining the transformation of monument making in societys aspiring towards democracy, with a particular focus on “America.” His professional and academic activity in urban design is diverse, and includes serving from 2005 to 2010, as the O’Hare Chair of Design and Development, and a Visiting American Scholar at the University of Ulster, Belfast. In this capacity he worked with government agencies, academics, and other groups to develop proposals for the design of Northern Ireland’s cities and towns as they emerge from “The Troubles.” 

Before being appointed Dean at the University of Toronto in 2009, Sommer was the Director of Urban Design Programs and a member of the Design Faculty at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design for a decade. He has also held many other distinguished appointments, including serving as Scholar-in-Residence at the California College of the Arts from 1995-98 and as a Visiting Professor at Washington University in St. Louis from1993-95. He completed his undergraduate degrees in Architecture and Fine Arts at the Rhode Island School of Design, and completed his graduate studies in Architecture at Harvard University. His writings and projects have been published in Perspecta, ANY Magazine, Metropolis, JAE, Arcade, Critical/Productive, The Harvard Design Magazine, and the books Shaping the City: Studies in History, Theory and Urban Design, Supernatural Urbanism, Urban Design, Fast-Forward Urbanism and The Democratic Monument in America: A Twentieth Century Topography, among others.