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Jennifer Keesmaat

July 29, 2014 by Speakers' Spotlight

Short Film Highlights Chief Planner As a Creative Mind

Toronto’s Chief City Planner Jennifer Keesmaat is known for taking a more human approach to urban planning. Her willingness to make big changes and remain transparent in her position has been refreshing for Torontonians. Below, Yonge Street profiles the short film that Freeman House Productions created about how Keesmaat approaches her role:

Chief city planner Jennifer Keesmaat is the star of a new short film by Freeman House Productions, a Toronto firm doing a series about creative people called The Guild. The project does Keesmaat, and the city, a big favour. In the seven-and-a-half-minute black-and-white film, Keesmaat  makes urban planning sound like fun.

“I believe we are inherently creative as a species,” she says at the outset. “I’m a city-builder. I build cities every day. That’s my job.

“It’s really tricky for me to walk down the street without looking at the shape of a building, the way the entrances are shaped, the width of a sidewalk.”

Though people looking for Toronto specifics will be disappointed – this little film is all blue-sky, big-picture stuff – the way Keesmaat thinks about her profession, as a mix of engineering and art, should make us all sleep a little better at night as our city, as dreamt up by her, coalesces around us.

Watch it here or below.

By Ben Archer / Yonge Street