School of Cities / Event

The Metropolitan Mindset

Metro Mindset playbook cover and work mark


Don Iveson, 35th Mayor of Edmonton, School of Cities Canadian Urban Leader, former Chair, Canada’s Big City Mayors

Melanie Hare, Partner, Urban Strategies Inc.

Dr. Anne Golden, former President and CEO, The Conference Board of Canada & former President, United Way of Greater Toronto

Opening and Closing Remarks: Karen Chapple, Professor and Director, School of Cities, University of Toronto

Event summary

To build better cities, we need to move our collective mindset, from one of scarcity and competition, to one that inspires, enables, and sustains collective problem solving across municipal borders. We need to shift our thinking: from a municipal to a metropolitan mindset.

This shift requires extraordinary collaboration between local authorities and across all orders of government. It requires us to understand, plan, and govern our cities as metropolitan systems.

Shifting mindsets and designing and operating effective metropolitan governance arrangements is notoriously difficult. So how do we move forward?

The playbook provides solutions at the local level, for municipal leaders; and at the provincial level, where power and resources are concentrated — to inspire concerted collective problem solving, as a starting point for greater dialogue between governments, industry, civil society, and the public about the future of metropolitan governance across Canada.

Speaker bios

Don Iveson served as Mayor of the City of Edmonton from 2013 to 2021 and chair of Canada’s Big City Mayors from 2016-2021. He has been appointed the first Canadian Urban Leader at the School of Cities. Don worked to drive a ‘metropolitan mindset’ in the regional land use and growth plans at the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board, and through the creation of Edmonton Global – a collaborative organization bringing together 14 municipalities in an effort to promote the economic growth of the region. He currently works part-time with Co-operators Insurance on climate change adaptation finance and co-chairs the board of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness. Don served as an Honorary Witness to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and implemented the first trauma-informed all-staff Indigenous awareness and reconciliation training program at a major Canadian city.

Dr. Anne Golden served as President and CEO of The Conference Board of Canada, the country’s foremost independent not-for-profit applied research organization, from 2001 to 2012. Previously, she was President of the United Way of Greater Toronto for 14 years. She earned national profile for her work as Chair of the Homelessness Action Task Force (1999), the Greater Toronto Area Task Force (1996), and more recently, the Premier of Ontario’s Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel (2013). Anne Golden is a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario. She has received eight honorary doctorates.

Melanie Hare is a highly regarded professional planner with over 30 years of planning experience, during which she has produced many inspiring and award-winning plans, taught and mentored countless aspiring planners, and provided exemplary community service. As an Accredited Planning Professional since 1993 and a Partner at Urban Strategies, she plays a leadership role in promoting sustainable planning practice.