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Hello, I'm Jason.


Born-and-raised in Winnipeg, Jason has a passion for people and places and has worked towards realizing these human-centered connections through a variety of urban management and city planning roles. As a queer person of colour, Jason offers a special perspective to the field of city planning. His experience as the “other” in public space plays a significant role in his practice ㅡ in how he perceives people and the skills/perspectives they offer; and how cities are tools toward inclusion and representation.

During his tenure at the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, Jason worked with a highly-creative team to build and inspire a safer, more resilient, and inclusive downtown through creative placemaking and tactical urbanism, stakeholder and political engagement, research and market intelligence, media relations, and community consultation. He is an award-winning marketing and communications professional who, in this role, developed city-wide campaigns that have generated hundreds of thousands of downtown visits from local and out-of-province tourists and millions of dollars worth of earned media coverage. In this capacity, Jason also served as a primary spokesperson for the organization and signing authority for all budgetary expenditures. He is regarded by downtown management practitioners as a consummate collaborator and effective downtown advocate, and was selected as one of four Canadian fellows as part of the International Downtown Association (IDA) Emerging Fellows Program.

Jason is passionate about helping communities generate ideas for their future. As a Land Use and Community Planner with HTFC Planning & Design, Jason led both both short-term and long-term development planning efforts with Manitoba towns, including Pinawa, RM of Ritchot, Stonewall, Waywayseecappo, and Woodlands. Within city limits, he worked on projects related to corridors and greenspaces, recreation, bridge design, bicycle infrastructure, and Indigenous reconciliation. More recently, Jason joined the City of Edmonton as a Principal Planner, leading policy and development efforts for greater infill in downtown, mature, and core neighbourhoods. As a professional member of the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP), he is committed to bringing about consensus between varied stakeholders and to develop localized capacity in the areas of planning, implementation, and monitoring/evaluation.

Jason volunteers his time on a variety of Winnipeg boards and committees interested in homelessness alleviation and promotion of the arts. He spearheaded the first CEO Sleepout in Canada, which fundraised close to a million dollars to support employment programs for individuals experiencing homelessness.

Areas of Expertise

HR & Management, Board Governance, Strategic Planning, Land Use/Community Planning, Community Consultation, Plan and Policy Development, Public Programming, Marketing & Public Relations, Sponsorship, Statistical Analysis, Visual Mapping, Budgeting, Urban and City Policy


University of Alberta, Doctor of Philosophy (Urban Planning), 2019 - present

University of Manitoba, Master of City Planning, 2017 

University of Winnipeg, Bachelor of Science, 2009 

University of Winnipeg, Bachelor of Arts, 2009 

Professional Experience

2022-present: Director, Metro Strategy & Advocacy, UDI - Edmonton Metro

2018–2022: Principal Planner, Lead Strategist, City of Edmonton

2016–2018: Land Use/Community Planner, HTFC Planning & Design

2016: Emerging Leader Fellow, International Downtown Association

2012–2016: Managing Director, Downtown Winnipeg BIZ

2011–2012: Leader, Strategic Initiatives & PR, Downtown Winnipeg BIZ

2009-2011: President & CEO, University of Winnipeg Students’ Association

2009-2011: Director, Board of Regents & Senate, University of Winnipeg

2009-2011: Nominating Committee Chair, UW Community Renewal Corp.

2007-2009: Researcher, University of Winnipeg Faculty of Science


Peer Reviewed

2021: "Missing Middle Math." University of Texas Planning Forum Journal. 

2021: "Good planning + social cohesion intersect during the pandemic and recovery." Policy Options

2021: "Challenging from within." Plan Canada (Spring 2021)

2021: "Edmonton's zoning makeover is an opportunity for equity." Plan Canada (Spring 2021)

2019: "Meet Me in The Middle." Plan Canada (Winter 2019)

2018: "Idle, No More." Plan Canada (Spring 2018)

2016: "Indigenous Activism & City Planning in Winnipeg." University of Manitoba

2015: "Indigenous Activism & City Planning in Winnipeg." Warehouse Journal, Vol. 25

2014: Downtown Winnipeg Trends, Institute of Urban Studies (w/ McCullough), Vol. 4

Opinion Pieces 

2021: "A Warm Winter Embrace." Winnipeg Free Press (December 2021)

2021: "Pride of permanent place." Winnipeg Free Press (June 12, 221)

2020: "Blueprint for a more equitable, inclusive post-pandemic city." Canadian Architect (Nov. 11, 2020)

2020: "When vision meets COVID-19." Winnipeg Free Press (w/ Rappaport, Sinclair) (October 10, 2020)

2020: "A city for all." Winnipeg Free Press (w/ Ren Thomas) (September 26, 2020)

2020: "One great divercity." Winnipeg Free Press (July 4, 2020)

2020: "Is 'missing middle' financially viable?" Canadian Architect (June 23, 2020)

2020: "Disease-driven details." Winnipeg Free Press (April 18, 2020)

2020: "A downtown for everyone." Winnipeg Free Press (February 29, 2020)

2019: "Living in a laboratory." Winnipeg Free Press (January 4, 2020)

2019: "App-etite for engagement." Winnipeg Free Press (November 23, 2019)

2019: "Homing in on a solution." Winnipeg Free Press (July 6, 2019)

2019: "Filling in the blanks." Winnipeg Free Press (May 4, 2019)

2019: "Rivers run through them." Winnipeg Free Press (March 9, 2019)

2018: "Igniting the Pilot Light." Winnipeg Free Press (December 29, 2018)

2018: "City should come out." Winnipeg Free Press (November 24, 2018)

2018: "At the crossroads." Winnipeg Free Press (September 7, 2018)

2017: "Bleak Beauty." Winnipeg Free Press (July 22, 2017)

2016–2018: Duets, Winnipeg Free Press, Monthly Columnist (Section 49.8)

Cited In

Adin, E. & Chau, L. (2020). "The Profession of Planning." (Course, UBC)

Distasio, J. (2020). "Housing and Neighbourhoods." (Course, UWinnipeg)

Thomas, R. (2020). "Introduction to Planning." (Course, Dalhousie)

Distasio, J. (2020). "Urban Revitalization." (Course, UWinnipeg)
Whitfield, K. (2019) "What is the evolution of citizen leadership and how does that leadership influence community planning?" (Course, UAlberta)

Wideman, T & Masuda, J. (n.d.) "Intensification and neoliberalization: a case study of planning policy in Winnipeg, Canada." (Literature)   

University of Saskatchewan. (n.d.). Indigenous Studies Portal. (Library)

Featured Plans

Zoning Bylaw Renewal GBA+ and Equity

Manitoba Legislative Grounds Framework Plan

RM of Ritchot Main Street Revitalization Study

Grant Park Recreation Campus Plan & Feasibility Study

RM of Woodlands Short Term Action Plan

Pinawa Waterfront Secondary Plan

Arlington Bridge Preliminary Design Concept

St. John's Park Redevelopment Master Plan

East Fort Garry Active Transportation Study

Rooster Town Stakeholder Engagement

Waywayseecappo First Nation Traditional Knowledge Study


Member, Manitoba Professional Planners Institute

Member, Canadian Institute of Planners


Award of Excellence (Merit), Canadian Institute of Planners, 2020

President's Award for Young Planners, Canadian Institute of Planners, 2020

Alberta Graduate Excellence Scholarship, University of Alberta, 2020

Plan Canada Award (Article of the Year), Canadian Institute of Planners, 2019

Mayor's Medal, University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture City Planning, 2017

Canada 150 MP's Medal for Volunteerism, 2017

MPPI Case in Point, Grand Prize Winner, 2016

CBC Future 40, CBC, 2015

Communicator of the Year, Canadian Public Relations Society, 2014

Community Service

Board Member, CIP Planning Student Trust Fund, 2020-Present

Capstone Advisor (Anna McKinnon), University of Manitoba, 2022

Capstone Advisor (Carolina Garza), University of Manitoba, 2022

Capstone Advisor (Justin Grift), University of Manitoba, 2021

Capstone Advisor (Ryan Fox), University of Manitoba, 2020

Mentor, interVivos, 2020

Studio Client (Graduate), UofA School of Urban and Regional Planning, 2019

Studio Client (Undergraduate), UofA School of Urban and Regional Planning, 2019
Emerging Leader Fellow, International Downtown Association, 2016  

​Committee Member, 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness Committee on Data, 2014

Board of Regents & Senate, University of Winnipeg, 2009-2011

Committee Chair, UW Community Renewal Corporation, 2009-2011

Advisory Council Member, Downtown Food Assessment Food Matters MB, 2013

Board Member, University of Winnipeg Alumni Association, 2012-2014

Founding Committee Member, Graffiti Art Programming Studio 393, 2012​

Students of Colour Commissioner/Treasurer, Canadian Federation of Students, 2009

Speaking Engagements

CNU29, Congress for the New Urbanism, Panelist, 2021

Intbau, The Architecture of Place, Panelist, 2020

Urban Spaceship Conference, NEWaukee, 2020

Canadian Urban Institute, Bring Back Main Street, Panelist, 2020

Canadian Institute of Planners, Planning and Social Equity, Moderator, 2020

Canadian Institute of Planners, Indigenous Week Webinars, Moderator, 2020

Canadian Institute of Planners Annual Conference, Panelist, 2020

Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Annual Conference, Panelist, 2020

Building Equality in Architecture Prairies, City Building for All, Panelist, 2020

World Town Planning Day, Panelist, 2019

Canadian Institute of Planners Centenary Conference, Panelist, 2019

Canadian Institute of Planners Centenary, Forward Planning Series, Panelist, 2019

Canadian Institute of Planners Conference Panelist, SOUL Winnipeg, 2018

Art in Bloom Master Talk Moderator, Winnipeg Art Gallery, 2017

Steal This Idea Panelist, Spur Festival, 2015


Chair (Sponsorship, Marketing), Canadian Institute of Planners Conference, 2018

CanU9 Summit Delegate and Communications Committee Chair, Winnipeg, 2017

Marketing Chair, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Art in Bloom & Gallery Ball, 2013–2017

International Downtown Association, Emerging Leaders Fellow, New York, 2016

Rocky Mountain City Summit Delegate, Denver, 2014

International Downtown Association Conference Delegate, New York, 2013

Canadian Housing Renewal Association Conference Delegate, Ottawa, 2013

Canadian Federation of Students Annual General Meeting, Ottawa, 2009–2011

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