Dorsa brings over ten years of expertise in shaping vibrant and equitable urban spaces. With a background in architecture and urban design, her career spans across North America, focusing on master plans, city-wide planning studies, urban design guidelines and public realm improvements. Passionate about placemaking, Dorsa has been dedicated to creating public spaces that are lively, bustling, and welcoming to all. Dorsa’s approach is deeply rooted in community-centric values, applying a Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) lens to ensure her designs cater to diverse demographic needs.
Dorsa actively participates in the design community, often speaking at key planning and design conferences, including OAA and OPPI events. Her recognition as a Champion by the Urban Lands Institute’s Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) is a testament to her influence in the field. Her deep commitment to community engagement is reflected in her co-chair role for the IAP2 Canada Diversity Equity and Inclusion Community of Practice, promoting equitable engagement strategies. Additionally, Dorsa contributes to the ULI America Young Leaders Group Steering Committee and holds a jury role in the DesignTO Festival.
Since joining our team, recent contributions to projects include the 1200 King Road Transit Oriented Community Visioning and Design, Tecumseh Hamlet Secondary Plan Study, and the City of Toronto Thermal Comfort Study. Dorsa has a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Tehran and a Master of Urban Design from the University of Toronto.
What is your favorite DIALOG initiative?
The Iris Prize at DIALOG stands out as a personal favorite. This internal scholarship uniquely empowers individuals to pursue design-related research, reflecting an academic spirit sans the academia. It’s a brilliant blend of professional growth and intellectual curiosity, fostering innovation within and beyond the organization.
How does your work inform your personal philosophy and vice versa?
Perhaps not a personal philosophy but I have a passion for bringing people together, both in my personal life and in my role as an urban designer. At home, I love hosting gatherings that naturally encourage guests to linger and connect. This personal inclination seamlessly aligns with my professional work, where I focus on creating public spaces that are not just vibrant and inviting but also foster interaction and a sense of community. In doing so, these spaces contribute significantly to community wellbeing, reflecting my belief in the power of well-designed environments.
What’s one thing about you that would surprise people?
Here’s a fun twist: As an urbanist committed to walking, biking, and public transit, I’ve steered clear of car ownership. Yet, I have a secret passion for collecting miniature cars, ranging from vintage models to unique ones from every country I visit. It’s a bit ironic – while I sidestep the ‘car’ lifestyle in reality, I can’t resist these tiny, collectible autos!
What do you geek out on?
Municipal politics – I watch council meetings for fun!
Master of Urban Design
University of Toronto
Bachelor of Architecture
University of Tehran
Government of Canada
IAP2’s Foundations in P2: Planning for Effective Public Participation
International Association for Public Participation Canada