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Panel members The Panel is comprised of 10 expert design professionals. All members are senior professionals able to evaluate projects of varying complexities and contexts related to their profession. The Panel is made up of the following professionals: Five Architects Two Landscape Architects One Urban Planner One Green Technologies Specialist One Heritage Conservation Specialist (adjunct member)

Current Panel Members

John Abel, MA, M.Arch, MCP, FRAIC John Abel retired as Director of Design and Land Use at the National Capital Commission (NCC) and, prior to that, was the Director of Urban Design at the NCC. John holds a joint graduate degree of city planning and architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. Since his retirement, John has been a juror for the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s (RAIC) national Urban Design Awards, and for design competitions in Regina and Halifax. He has also served on design review panels for Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and for Abu Dhabi’s Urban Planning Council. John is a fellow of the RAIC and is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal.


Ronji Borooah, M. Arch, MSc (PL), FRAIC, OAA, MCIP, RPP, APA City Architect and Head of Urban Design, City of Markham Ronji Borooah is a Registered Architect and Registered Professional Planner with expertise in Urban Design. Ronji is currently the City Architect and Head of Urban Design, City of Markham. Ronji is a member of the RAIC College of Fellows, and a former jury member of the Ottawa Urban Design Awards program, the Toronto Urban Design Awards program, the TTC York-Spadina Subway Extension Public Arts program, and professional advisor to the Markham Design Excellence Awards program. Ronji's previous career was in the private sector with Young+Wright Architects and Markson Borooah Architects, where his work has received several major awards, including the Governor General's Award for Architecture and awards from the OAA, CIP, OPPI, and CSLA. Ronji has taught Urban Design at the University of Toronto, and has been a speaker at several conferences of the RAIC, OAA, CIP, OPPI, APA, Construct Canada, Strategy Institute and other organizations.

Dorota Grudniewicz, B.Arch, OALA, CSLA Dorota Grudniewicz is a Project Manager landscape architect with the NCC. She has recently worked on projects for Confederation Boulevard, Leamy Lake Park, and the Parliament Hill Commemorations. Dorota is the recipient of several awards for her work at the NCC including the Government of Canada Merit Award and recognition for the delivery of the NCC Floral Program. Prior to working as a landscape architect, Dorota taught landscape architecture for the Cracow University of Technology in Poland.


David Leinster, OALA, CSLA David Leinster is a landscape architect and partner at The Planning Partnership in Toronto. With expertise in public realm planning and design, and having extensive experience as a design critic and juror, David is a former member of the City of Ottawa’s Design Review Panel for the Downtown Design Review Pilot Project and a former juror for the Ottawa Urban Design Awards.

Robert Martin OAA, MRAIC, CAHP, LEED AP Robert Martin is a conservation architect and principal at Robertson Martin Architects in Ottawa. With specialized skills in the areas of functional planning, specifications, heritage conservation and building envelope design, Robert’s work spans both public and private sector projects. For heritage conservation projects, this work includes preparing Building Condition Reports, Heritage Character Statements, Master Planning, and Cultural Heritage Impact Statements. Robert has appeared as an expert witness in matters related to heritage and to universal accessibility, and has received numerous awards for his work in architectural conservation. Robert has recently worked on projects for Rideau Hall, the heritage buildings of the Canadian Parliamentary Precinct, Beechwood Cemetery National Memorial Centre, and overseas at National Historic Sites and Canadian High Commissions.


James Parakh, OAA James Parakh is the Urban Design Program Manager, Toronto & East York District at the City of Toronto. James also has experience working in the private sector as an urban designer, project designer and project architect for both national and international projects. James holds graduate degrees in architecture and urban design from the University of Houston and Columbia University, respectively. James is the recipient of numerous awards and has received honourable mention from the Ontario Association of Architects for the City of Toronto’s 1:50 program, which helps to secure and improve the urban design of buildings and the quality of materials at the pedestrian scale by requiring proponents to submit streetscape drawings at one-fiftieth scale.

Mark Sterling, OAA, MCIP, RPP Principal of Sweeny Sterling Finlayson & Co. Architects Inc., Toronto Mark Sterling is a practicing architect and urban planner with a specialization in urban design. He is a founding partner of Sweeny Sterling Finlayson & Co. Architects, an architecture firm based in Toronto. He is the former Director of Architecture and Urban Design for the City of Toronto (1996-97) and has been a member of the City of Mississauga’s Urban Design Advisory Panel since 2007. His current work involves both public and private sector clients and he has experience as an expert witness before the Ontario Municipal Board. In addition, he is currently an adjunct faculty member in the University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture Landscape and Design and the Program in Planning in the Faculty of Geography, directing graduate research projects and teaching urban design studios, most recently on Toronto’s tall building phenomenon.


Alex Taranu, FCIP, MCIP, RPP, OAA Manager of Architectural Design, City of Brampton Alex Taranu is a Licensed Architect in the Province of Ontario and Registered Professional Planner with over 30 years of professional experience in planning, urban design, and architecture. During the 1990s he was involved in a number of urban design and architectural projects in many Ontario cities, in particular in Toronto as a consultant on projects such as the “Railway Lands (City Place)”, and the “Waterfront Design Schemes and Charrettes”. Since 2001, he has been heavily involved in the re-urbanization of suburban areas through projects such as “Downtown Brampton Revitalization and Central Area Intensification”. He also has extensive professional work experience as an advocate for urban design in the planning process as the founder and past chair of the Ontario Professional Planner Institute Urban Design Working Group and other professional advocacy organizations.

Robert Webster, FRAIC Robert Webster is a retired architect with 37 years of professional experience with a focus on urban design and is currently the Principal of Webster Urban Design. He has won a number national and international design awards for his project work. Robert is a member of the RAIC College of Fellows, a Professional Advisor to the RAIC and a former member of the City of Ottawa, Design Review Panel for the Downtown Ottawa Urban Design Peer Review Panel.

Urban Design Review Panel Members  
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