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Milton Friesen

Program Director, Social Cities

Core ideas that orient a significant amount of my work include the exploration of complexity science by means of various network approaches. Network dynamics are a persistent feature of our human interactions including the organizations, institutions and societies that Cardus is working to support and make sense of. Planners are also in constant interaction with these social structures at a wide variety of levels.

I am very interested in how organizations adapt to change (or fail to adapt) including the cities where most of the global population lives. Resilient enterprises at all scales invest energy in designing and nurturing intelligent processes that allow room for surprise, novelty and feedback.

I have served a three-year term as an elected municipal councillor and run in two other municipal campaigns (including a mayoral race) that did not lead to election.

Research development themes include a nearly completed Ph.D. at the University of Waterloo School of Planning that is focused on new ways to measure the social fabric of neighbourhoods, as well as participating in the Waterloo Institute on Complexity and Innovation (WICI) and the University of Waterloo Network Science reading group.

I have written a number of articles for Municipal World and serve on the Steering Committee of the Thriving Cities Project (Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture) at the University of Virginia.

Michelle and I have four children ages 14, 17, 20 and 22. We live in a three-story brick house in East Hamilton.

Key Themes

Complexity Science
Network Science
Urban Planning
Social Capital
Social Infrastructure

Recent Publications

Municipal World
The Unexamined City: Evaluation that Serves the Common Good.

Municipal World
Can Data Standards Improve Our Lives? ISO 37120 and Canadian Municipalities.

Municipal World
Social Infrastructure: Underpinning the Success of Cities.

Berkeley Planning Journal
Finding Your Fit: A Proposal for Emerging Planning Scholars.

Stanford Social Innovation Review
Saviors at City Hall? Review of Benjamin Barber's book "If Mayors Ruled the World."

Bio last modified May 1st, 2017.

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