About

I am an independent researcher specializing in urban policy, data governance, public sector transformation and social entrepreneurship.

I recently completed a Masters in Environmental Studies at York University, where I completed the Planning Program (accredited by OPPI/CIP). My research examined the implications of smart cities and ‘big data’, with a special interest in the GTHA and Pakistan. My Major Paper was on big data and urban planning in Pakistan, featuring a case study of the Urban Unit, and was selected for the Outstanding Paper Series, one of only two urban planning papers to be nominated.

At York, I also created and led the Emerging Asian Urbanisms series, and was a Graduate Associate at the City Institute and the York Centre for Asian Research. I also served as Graduate Student Advocacy officer for the student group Accessibility, Community and Equity.

I’ve spent the last seven years working with social enterprises and nonprofits, specializing in community engagement, network weaving, business supports for startups, and social finance. Most of this work has dealt directly with urban challenges, particularly barriers to employment. Some of it has involved working in international development (in Central and South Asia) and environmental sustainability.

Previously, I completed a Certificate in Public Policy and Administration at Ryerson University in Toronto after completing a Bachelors in Business Administration (honors) at the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi, Pakistan.

I am also currently the President and Treasurer of the Board of the Tessellate Institute, a charity that explores the lives of Muslims in Canada, and have a long track record of engaging with development initiatives in Pakistan (most recently, with Karachi Public Library Project).

Contact: nsahmed@yorku.ca

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