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Research Assistants & Interns

Current Research Assistants & Interns

Renewable Cities employs research assistants from across Simon Fraser University’s various faculties and from local and international institutions. If you are interested in joining the Renewable Cities team as a research assistant, intern, or volunteer, contact

Portrait of Arman Aituar

Arman Aituar

Research Assistant

Arman Aituar is a research assistant and designer within the Single Family Infill Project. Arman is currently studying architecture at University of British Columbia. Prior to architecture, he worked in brand development and design as well as early childhood education. Arman is helping us look at gentle intensification of single family neighbourhoods, as a key municipal strategy to mitigate climate change and increase housing supply. Specifically he’s looking at common lot configurations and contexts for single-family intensification and developing conceptual typologies as annotated 3D renderings for redevelopment.

Portrait of Jonas with bushes in the background

Jonas Pinzon

Research Assistant

Jonas Pinzon enjoys taking on interdisciplinary research projects on climate change and mobility to make a positive impact on communities. He is currently researching alternative multi-level governance systems and what the province of British Columbia can learn from them to make more collaborative and efficient public policy. In his free time, he enjoys running and riding his bike around British Columbia, as well as reading books on public policy and political ecology. Jonas is researching governance systems/models to promote rapid and effective change in complex systems at recognized crisis points, (e.g., climate, affordability in Canada).

 Former Research Assistants & Interns

Farinaz 2

Farinaz Rikhtehgaran

Research Assistant

Farinaz Rikhtehgaran is an SFU work-study research assistant at Renewable Cities. Farinaz is developing a series of case studies that capture best practices for housing providers and social entrepreneurs to work with single family homeowners (focused on seniors) to manage or facilitate homesharing. Strategies that increase occupancy in single-family homes, such as homesharing, reduce GHG emissions. Farinaz holds a Master’s degree in Urban Design from the University of Tehran, Iran and is completing a Master’s degree in the Department of Gerontology at SFU. Farinaz’s research focus is on age-friendly cities and urban environments with a focus on mobility, walkability, and wheelability of neighbourhoods for older people and people with disabilities.


Afia Poku

Research Assistant

Afia Poku is the Transportation and Land Use Analyst at Renewable Cities. Afia’s research is focused on policy tools for meeting CleanBC’s personal transportation (light duty vehicle) targets and best practices for the integration of affordable housing into rapid transit stations. Afia is an international student from Ghana, currently in her first year of SFU’s Master of Urban Studies Program. She holds a Bachelors of Environment in Global Environmental Systems (SFU) and is interested in sustainable transportation planning and development. Afia enjoys photography and volunteering. She has volunteered with cultural and equity seeking groups and is a yearly volunteer at a basketball academy.

Sarah Saaed

Research Assistant

Sarah Saaed is our Low Carbon Affordable Housing Policy Analyst, an internship funded by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions.

Sarah’s research at Renewable Cities is focused on the potential for accessory dwelling units (ADUs), such as secondary suites, additions and coach house, to address affordability, social isolation and GHG reductions.

Sarah holds a BA in Political Science and Economics from the University of British Columbia and is currently completing her Master’s in Public Policy at Simon Fraser University.

Craig Busch

Research Assistant

Having spent many a year traveling the world and exploring its plethora of options, Craig has come to appreciate the wonder and majesty of all that life has to offer. From his diverse array of hobbies and interests–including, but not limited to cycling, hiking, urban exploration, and travel–to his exploits at home and abroad, Craig is ever-searching for the next adventure.

Craig is currently undertaking his fifth and final year at Simon Fraser University studying Environmental Sciences with a specialization in Applied Biology. While passionate for nature, Craig has several other research interests, including sustainability, community engagement, and the intersection of nature and humanity.

Craig’s prior work and volunteer experience has primarily focused upon the fields of communications and education. It is Craig’s hope to one day become a practicing Urban Planner, incorporating his expertise in the natural environment with a deep appreciation for and understanding of the built environment.


Tom Froggatt

Research Assistant

Tom is the Land Use and Transportation research assistant at Renewable Cities, providing baseline research into multi-level governance precedents that have successfully reduced congestion and carbon through integrated land-use and transportation planning.

Tom is from the UK, where he recently completed his MA in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Sheffield.

In his free time, you’ll find him running, watching soccer or exploring BC landscapes.

Alexandra Doran

Research Assistant

Alexandra is originally from Halifax and graduated from Saint Mary’s University in 2014 with an interdisciplinary Bachelors degree in Environmental Studies (BES). She is currently pursuing a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Sustainable Community Development at Simon Fraser University, focusing on urban community development and green infrastructure design.

At the present time, Alexandra is most focused on exploring the means to which we as a society can help create more livable and socially and environmentally equitable cities. By approaching urban planning and design from a holistic, environmentally inclusive perspective, she believes we can maximize the resiliency and sustainability of both our natural and built environments.

Alexandra looks forward to working with Renewable Cities and Carbon Talks to help grow the platform for which innovative, creative, and alternative ideas can be presented and discussed.

Saskia Huesch

Research Assistant

Saskia is originally from Germany and has spent much time abroad, gaining insights into the complex relation between environment, economy, and society. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Management from Jönköping International Business School in Jönköping, Sweden and is planning to continue her studies within the field of sustainable development. Through her previous studies and international experience, Saskia has developed a strong interest in social innovation and sustainability and is fascinated by the interdisciplinary approaches supporting the transition to a more resilient and socially just future.

Benita Kangas

Benita Kangas

Communications Assistant

Benita Kangas is an international student from Sweden, doing her internship with Carbon Talks as a Communication Assistant. She has a bachelor in linguistics from Uppsala University and find public communication really interesting. She wrote her thesis about media analysis and appreciates how important it is to project your message in an accurate way in order to get people to listen. Benita loves the outdoor and cares for the environment and accessibility in both urban and non-urban areas. She is passionate about traveling and has been studying, working and volunteering in a number of countries.

Madi Kennedy

Research Assistant

Madi Kennedy is a second year Masters of Public Policy student at Simon Fraser University with a keen interest in environmental policy. She is specifically interested in issues related to sustainable urban development, and the innovative policy tools that cities are using to address climate change.

Madi’s experience working in non-profit organizations has fostered her passion for community engagement and her belief that community organizations are powerful vehicles for change. When Madi is not studying she enjoys getting out of the city to enjoy all that BC has to offer. Madi is also an avid international traveler; she loves the experience of new cultures, foods, and ways of life.

Kristin Johansson

Research Assistant

Kristin Johansson has a keen interest in sustainable cities and the environmental challenges they face in becoming one. Kristin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Strategy and Entrepreneurship within Building Technology (Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden). Most recently, she worked as a project manager in Sweden’s construction industry, certified as the Swedish equivalent of a LEED Coordinator. Kristin enjoys outdoor activities where she can enjoy Metro Vancouver’s natural beauty, such as skiing, hiking, and sailing.

Lindsay Mcalpine

Lindsay McAlpine

Research Assistant

Lindsay McAlpine is passionate about creating dialogue about the environment. She is a 4th year geography major at SFU, specializing in resource policy and the environment. She is interested in sustainability, ecotourism and creating a world where the environment and communities work together to create a livable future.

Viktor Willmar

Research Assistant

Viktor is an international student from Germany, currently in his 5th semester of a human geography undergraduate degree at Ludwig Maximilian University.  Throughout his university career he has found an interest in city planning and has learned about the large impact cities have on the environment, including through climate change. Viktor enjoys being in nature and enjoys skiing, hiking, and soccer. It is through these pursuits that he found a passion for the environment and the effect humans have on it.

Viktor loves to travel so he can see as much as possible of the Earth and learn about other cultures and landscapes.

"Renewable Cities" with a city scape on the top of the words, and two wave type decals on the top and bottom to create a circle

Alexandra Willmes

Research Assistant

Alexandra Willmes is an international student from Germany, doing her internship with Renewable Cities as a Research Assistant. She is a second year masters student of business chemistry at Heinrich-Heine-University in Duesseldorf from where she also holds a bachelors degree in Business Chemistry. Before completing her masters she will spend a semester in France to study business economics.

During her stay in Vancouver she enjoyed hiking BC’s trails and spent lots of time at the beach.