Daniel Rotsztain is a graduate of the Masters of Landscape Architecture program at the University of Guelph. His interest in social infrastructure and cultural heritage guided his thesis research, leading to the establishment of plazaPOPS, a community-lead approach to creating low-cost, high-impact and accessible gathering spaces within the privately-owned parking lots of strip mall parking lots in Toronto’s inner suburbs. As an economic and community development project, plazaPOPS explores economic approaches to preserving cultural heritage landscapes. After the success of its award-winning 2019 pilot, plazaPOPS has become an initiative of the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal and is continuing its partnership with the City of Toronto and University of Guelph to scale out the initiative toward a fully funded citywide program. Before joining ERA, Daniel worked as a consultant with Process, an urban planning firm dedicated to facilitating thorough and authentic community consultation.
Daniel’s interest in cultural heritage defines his art practice. Known as “the Urban Geographer”, Daniel is an artist, writer, and cartographer whose projects explore and support the city’s public life, ecological identity, and the responsibilities of settlers as treaty people on Turtle Island. As co-lead of Lake Effect Projects, his piece exploring the redevelopment of “the Coffin Factory,” an artist live/work space in downtown Toronto was featured in the 2019 edition of Nuit Blanche. Daniel is the author All the Libraries Toronto, a colouring book published by Dundurn Press featuring all 100 branches of Toronto’s public library system, and A Colourful History Toronto, highlighting the network of City of Toronto owned historic sites as a form of accessible social infrastructure. Daniel was a contributing author to House Divided: How the Missing Middle Will Solve Toronto’s Affordability Crisis, published by Coach House Books in 2019. As a community arts facilitator, Daniel collaborated with Art Starts and Lindsey Lickers to create the sesquicentennial project, Cartography 17, which featured Indigenous epistemologies overlayed on community-generated maps of Toronto.