Student Lead: Shervin Ghaem-Maghami

Project title: Embracing (or Bracing for?) Diversity: Integrating Immigrants through Inclusive Local Decision-Making Processes

Shervin’s PhD research“ explores the intersection of immigrant integration and community engagement. This research builds upon his professional experience in the field of migration in the NGO sector and his master’s research on public participation in urban planning practice. The urgency of this line of inquiry is readily apparent when considering the context of the Greater Toronto Area, which is one of the fastest growing regions in North America and which will be attribute more than 75% of its population expansion over the next 20 years to international migration. In Toronto, the urban and regional planners responsible for accommodating migrant populations have a choice before them: to identify immigrant communities as yet another population to simply manage and whose arrival to ‘brace’ for, or to seize the opportunity to ‘embrace’ them as partners in local decision-making processes that can lead to more effective and just outcomes. For his doctoral dissertation, Shervin is investigating how planners in selected municipalities within the Greater Toronto Area are working with diverse populations in the planning process, with the goal of identifying best practices in approaches to local-level public deliberation and the engagement of immigrant communities.