Experienced practitioners joining HEAL means many new benefits for students, trainees, and community collaborators

Two practitioners have recently joined the Human Environments Analysis Lab as Senior Research Associates. We are very excited to have Paul van der Werf, PhD and John Fleming, MCIP, RPP join the lab, and share their experience and knowledge from decades of working in environmental consulting and urban planning.

Paul is a graduate of the University of Guelph and Western University. He is a well-recognized waste management expert with close to 30 years of national and international professional experience. After his start managing large scale composting facilities he developed, owned, operated and recently sold his waste management focused environmental consultancy.His key skills are developing and implementing waste composition studies, waste management planning as well as specialized expertise in food waste measurement and reduction and organic waste management.Paul played an active role in the development of the organic waste processing industry in Canada. He continues to act as a consultant and is a Board member of the Ontario Waste Management Association. Paul is a long-time commentator on waste management across the country in his past role as contributing editor and columnist for Solid Waste and Recycling Magazine. He has written more than 140 articles.

Paul is an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Geography and his work at the HEAL includes assisting graduate students with food waste and green bin related research as well as continuing with his own food waste reduction research.

John is a graduate of the Western University (Honours BA in Urban Development) and the University of Toronto (Masters in Urban Planning). He served for over three decades as an urban planner with the City of London, finishing his career at the city as the Managing Director of Planning in 2019. These roles at the city included urban planning, planning application review, community planning, urban regeneration, downtown and community revitalization, major city building projects, urban design, smart city office, secondary planning, heritage planning, environmental planning, parks planning, urban forestry, and community engagement.

During his time as the city’s chief planner, he was instrumental in bringing forward and laying the foundation for transformative projects like the Dundas Place streetscape, the Our Move Forward plan, the Shift Bus Rapid Transit network, and the award-winning London Plan. All these initiatives have resulted in a growing, sustainable, and highly livable London.

John now serves as the Vice President of the Council for Canadian Urbanism, and supporter of many community initiatives in the Middlesex-London region. In addition to his role in the lab, John is a Distinguished Practitioner and Research Follow with the Centre for Urban Policy and Local Governance at Western University. He was also recently honoured with the Richard and Beryl Ivey Lifetime Achievement Award from the Urban League of London for his decades of support to the London community.

We look forward to our trainees and community collaborators benefiting from the expertise that Paul and John provide in the lab. Geography students will also benefit immensely from the advice they are providing to our community-engaged learning course, GEOG 3461: Land Use and Development Issues. In this course, students will respond to request for proposal documents from community partners across London, execute their planned projects, and receive direct mentorship from Paul and John on their projects.

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