Get in touch!

plazaPOPS is a collaborative initiative that wouldn’t be possible without our community partners, funders, partners,
and board of directors!


Daniel Rotsztain

Executive Director

Also known as the Urban Geographer, Daniel (he/him)  is an artist, writer, and cartographer whose projects explore and support the city’s public life, ecological identity, and the responsibilities of settlers as treaty people on Turtle Island. Daniel is the author of All the Libraries Toronto, a colouring book published by Dundurn Press featuring all 100 branches of Toronto’s public library system, and A Colourful History Toronto, highlighting the network of City of Toronto owned historic sites as a form of accessible social infrastructure. 

Daniel is a graduate of the Masters of Landscape Architecture program at the University of Guelph. 

Naziha Nasrin

Program Director

Naziha (she/her) is the Program Director of plazaPOPS. She is a recent graduate from the Masters of Science in Planning at the University of Toronto. She is passionate about community development, place making and multicultural planning for diverse communities. Her research looks at building inclusive public spaces such as prayer and multi-faith rooms and ablution stations in public places such as malls, parks and institutional buildings for the Muslim community in Toronto.  Beyond her research interests, she is also a big coffee lover and an avid baker. Her favourite dessert to bake is tiramisu!

Brendan Stewart

Director of Research and Operations

Brendan (he/him)  is a landscape architect and heritage planner whose research and creative scholarship focuses on cultural landscapes and the adaptive re-use of public and community spaces through participatory design processes. Prior to joining SEDRD, he led the landscape practice at ERA Architects in Toronto, an interdisciplinary firm focussed on heritage conservation, design, and planning, and he continues to collaborate with the firm.

Brendan has collaborated with landscape architects, architects, artists, urban designers and planners on projects across Canada and abroad, and has completed several award winning, youth led place-making projects in inner-suburban communities in and around Toronto.

Sara Udow

Managing Director

Sara (she/her) is an award winning urban and cultural planner, with expertise in community engagement, community development, cultural and city-building strategy and human-centered research. She has almost 15 years of experience designing creative, equitable and effective organizational and community processes with municipalities, nonprofits, and private sector clients.

Partners & funders

City of Toronto

The City of Toronto has partnered with plazaPOPS since its first project in 2019. Members of the Transportation Services division joined out community working group and provided invaluable insights into the design and safety considerations. We are also partnered with the City through our Social Science and Humanities Research Council funded Partner Development Grants to explore the “how”, “where”, and “why” of a city-wide plazaPOPS program. In April 2024, the City of Toronto’s Zoning division facilitated a temporary zoning bylaw pilot to allow community gathering spaces in parking lots “as of right”.

plazaPOPS is funded by the City of Toronto’s Main Street Recovery and Rebuild Initiative, as part of Government of Canada support through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).

Federal Development Agency for Southern Ontario

plazaPOPS is funded by the City of Toronto’s Main Street Recovery and Rebuild Initiative, as part of Government of Canada support through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).

Building Up

Building Up is Toronto’s leading social contractor. Their experienced tradespeople collaborate with trainees previously facing barriers to employment to provide Toronto with a range of high quality construction services.

Building Up has worked with plazaPOPS since 2022 as our lead contractor. They have become an essential collaborator to deliver successful projects throughout Toronto. Beyond their excellent work coordinating and building the installations, their teams has participated in our Community Working Group design sessions and have contributed their enthusiasm and expertise throughout the project.

ERA Architects

ERA Architects is an award-winning architecture and planning firm focused on conservation through reactivation. Working across a lively spectrum of scales and locales, we develop heritage planning approaches that renew and improve the built environment.

ERA has been the lead designer of plazaPOPS projects since 2022

University of Guelph

As a core project partner, the University of Guelph’s Landscape Architecture program contributed administrative services and countless in-kind donations including the time of Professor Brendan Stewart.

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

The University of Guelph-led plazaPOPS research initiative is funded by SSHRC. In 2020, UoG received a “Partner Engage” grant, and partnered with the City of Toronto to understand the “why”, “where”, and “how” of a city-wide plazaPOPS program. The UoG research team is currently completing a “Partnership Development” Grant, including Public Life Studies, ethnographic research, other methods to assess the social, environmental, and economic impact of plazaPOPS.

Board of directors

Sheliza Rajan

Sheliza Rajan is a Planner at Bousfields. She has a range of industry experience having worked with developers, architects and Business Improvement Areas in Toronto since 2015. She holds a Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management from Carleton University and a Master’s of Science in Planning from the University of Toronto.

Brendan Stewart

Brendan Stewart is a professor of landscape architecture at the University of Guelph, and his teaching and research focusses on community design and the adaptive reuse of cultural landscapes.

Mehedi Khan

Mehedi Khan, is a passionate urban planner with a background in planning from York University, he brings a unique perspective shaped by his upbringing in Regent Park. He is also the co-founder of Muslims in Public Space (MiPs).

Brendan Ruddick

Brendan Ruddick is a partner at Loopstra Nixon LLP and was called to the bar in 2016. He represents a broad range of public and private sector clients, practicing exclusively in the area of planning and municipal law. He obtained his law degree from the University of Toronto and holds a bachelor of Urban Studies from Concordia University. Brendan lives in the Junction with his wife and daughter. 

Alexandra Lambropoulos

Alexandra Lambropoulos is pursuing a Masters of Science in Planning (MSc Pl) at the University of Toronto. Her interests lie at the intersection of resilience, the arts, and community economic development, particularly in African cities, which she explores through her podcast Urban Limitrophe.

Dalya Saboohi

Bio forthcoming!

Trina Moyan

Trina (she/her) is nehiyaw iskwew (Plains Cree) from the Frog Lake First Nation in Northern Alberta, Treaty 6 medicine chest territory. Tkaronto became her second home 16 years ago and she is honoured to work and raise her family upon the lands of the ‘Dish with One Spoon’ treaty. She began her career as a writer and producer for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) and she co-produced and directed the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards (now Indspire) for CBC television. With 20+ years experience, Trina is a co-founder of Bell & Bernard, a First Nations consulting firm. She is a University of Toronto alumna, a member of the Toronto Indigenous Business Association and a community activist. As of 2022, she has served as an Indigenous advisor at the Daniels School of Architecture. In 2023, Trina’s work on the Transformation of the Albert Campbell District Library won Heritage Toronto’s Adaptive Reuse Award.  Trina’s life and work is inspired by her two sons and her mother Jeanne – a residential school survivor. 

Igor Samardzic

Igor is a community activist and city builder.  Igor’s career has included extensive experience as a volunteer, community builder, and planner through both the public and private sectors. His contributions have led to the development and support of accessible public transit and cycling infrastructure, new affordable housing options, community arts/murals, public space activations and reclaiming and repurposing green spaces for community uses. He contributes to a number of nonprofits and social enterprises and has a distinguished record of working within communities, a vocal champion for people with disabilities, and advocating for a more equitable and liveable city that works for all Torontonians.

Sneha Mandhan


plazaPOPS is always seeking new board members!

If you’re interested in equitable, hands-on, community-lead city building, we invite you to take a leadership role in our growing not-for-profit as we embark on a major scaling-out of plazaPOPS throughout Toronto.