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Ryerson intern clears the air in Toronto

At a glance
The intern

Florian Mayer, University of Freiburg, Germany

Hosted by

Associate Professor Leila Farah, Department of Architectural Science, Ryerson University

The research

Examining how the urban environment affects public health

It’s estimated that the average person in North America will spend six months stuck in traffic over their lifetime. So it’s not hard to imagine how the stressors of the road: car exhaust, road rage, and honking horns can contribute to poor health in the long run.

Florian Mayer, a Mitacs Globalink intern who spent his summer at Ryerson University in Toronto, wants to figure out how cities and roads can be built to reduce traffic, while working to improve long-term health outcomes in the world’s busiest cities. Researching alongside Associate Professor Leila Farah, Florian examined how the urban environment affects public health and how planners can work with communities to improve it on a local level. 

Following an initial literature study, Florian and his professor worked with residents of Flemingdon Park, a neighbourhood in Toronto’s North York district, to envision a new design that would emphasize public health. Such a design could include more green spaces and parks, improved traffic flow, and spaces for social integration and cultural connection. Their collaborative approach to developing the design also helps the community to define their own needs and determine what public health looks like to them.

For his part, Florian enjoyed a summer of learning, saying, “Ryerson’s Department of Architectural Science, where I was working, is a very good research facility. The students and researchers are very ambitious and the quality of work they create is astonishing.

“I have never had a more rewarding experience, or gained so much — professionally or personally — in such a short time as I have this summer.”


Mitacs would like to thank the Government of Canada, along with the Government of Alberta, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, and the Government of Quebec for their support of the Globalink Research Internship program. In addition, Mitacs is pleased to work with the following international partners to support Globalink: Universities Australia; the China Scholarship Council; Campus France; the German Academic Exchange Service; Mexico’s Secretariat of Public Education, Tecnológico de Monterrey, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico; Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education; and Tunisia’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Mission Universitaire de Tunisie en Amerique du Nord.