Jodee Ng joined our team earlier this spring and is based in Surrey, BC. She’s a self-described advocate for the public good and an ice cream lover.
As a key part of our housing team, Jodee supports Urban Matters CCC (UM) on needs assessments, housing strategies, and feasibility studies for municipal, non-profit, and business clients. In only a few months with UM, she’s already worked on projects for communities throughout various regions of British Columbia and Alberta.
Although she’s officially from the West Coast (Jodee was born in Surrey), she’s been in Toronto for close to a decade. She moved to Toronto to pursue a bachelor’s degree in science (honours) from the University of Toronto. After that, she attained a Post-Baccalaureate in Urban and Regional Planning from Ryerson University. She worked for the Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure as a Policy Analyst before returning to BC to work with the Urban Matters team.
Planning for the Public Good
Jodee sees her role as an urban planner as an opportunity to contribute to the public good:
“I have always had a strong drive to serve the public interest and to inform decisions by using evidence-based data. Since putting on a consultant hat, things have not changed very much. The overall purpose of my work is to provide the best quality of work to our clients and this means I’m able to work toward creating better housing and social spaces in communities. Ultimately, I want my work to contribute to an increase in the quality of life for Canadians.”
In explaining this to us, she emphasized that housing is a foundation to strong, healthy, and economically inclusive communities but is not the entire picture, “equally important pieces to the puzzle are the other social determinants of health that Urban Matters seeks to improve, including socio-economic capacity building and childhood development.”
Joining Urban Matters
When we asked Jodee what appealed to her about working with Urban Matters, she described the importance of collaboration, organizational capacity, and UM’s commitment to systems-level social change:
“Often times, UM is helping communities tackle challenges that cannot be solved by any single actor. Affordable housing is an example of something that can be achieved on a larger scale through the collaboration between non-profits, governments, and businesses. I’m drawn to the action-oriented work that we do and our organizational capacity to help develop the relationships between the different parties involved.”
Two months into her work with UM, Jodee appreciates her colleagues’ commitment to asking “HOW” and their willingness to experiment with processes. She thinks this innovative aspect of Urban Matters will contribute to creating more inclusive outcomes in communities.
She also loves that the team is small, nimble, and holds a wealth of experience in different areas and across sectors: “as intermediaries, we are able to bring the right partners and stakeholders to the table for their insights and expertise and help find tangible solutions.”
West Coast RootsWe asked Jodee what it was like to return to BC after close to a decade in Toronto. Not surprisingly, she emphasized how happy she is to have access to an abundance of green space and parks again. She also loves that her downtime can very easily be spent in the forest or on the ocean.
As a bonus, Jodee’s family also lives in Surrey and she is able to spend more time with her three sisters and niece.
If she’s not at work, in a park, or spending time outside of the city, Jodee is likely scoping out local ice cream shops and bakeries in Vancouver.
We convinced her to share her ice-cream and bakery tips with us. Beta5 is her favourite pastry shop and recommends getting there early for the best selection. She’s even known to pre-order to get limited edition flavours.