Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
  • James Parakh

About James Parakh

James Parakh is a Licensed Architect and the Manager of Urban Design for Toronto and East York District, City of Toronto Planning Division.

During the last decade, James has led the urban design studio that has helped guide the review of all development in Downtown Toronto and surrounding urban areas, a portfolio that includes well over 250 tall buildings ranging in height from 20 stories to over 92 stories.

James frequently gives presentations to community groups and the City Council, and teaches at local area universities. He is the Vice-Chair of the design review panel for Canada's capital city of Ottawa Ontario and chairs that city's Tall Building Design Sub-Committee Panel. He also serves on the Design Sub-Committee for the National Capital Commission of Canada (N.C.C.); and has received an O.A.A. Award in 2008 for introducing the 1:50 program on behalf of the City of Toronto which…


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About James Parakh

James Parakh is a Licensed Architect and the Manager of Urban Design for Toronto and East York District, City of Toronto Planning Division.

During the last decade, James has led the urban design studio that has helped guide the review of all development in Downtown Toronto and surrounding urban areas, a portfolio that includes well over 250 tall buildings ranging in height from 20 stories to over 92 stories.

James frequently gives presentations to community groups and the City Council, and teaches at local area universities. He is the Vice-Chair of the design review panel for Canada's capital city of Ottawa Ontario and chairs that city's Tall Building Design Sub-Committee Panel. He also serves on the Design Sub-Committee for the National Capital Commission of Canada (N.C.C.); and has received an O.A.A. Award in 2008 for introducing the 1:50 program on behalf of the City of Toronto which focuses on securing larger scale (1:50) drawings for the first five floors of any tall building.

With interests in how tall buildings fit within their urban context, affect the public realm, and affect the quality of life of people that live or work within them, James recently led the initiative to launch Toronto's POPS branding. This initiative speaks to Privately Owned Public Spaces at the base of tall buildings and provides design guidelines for them. A link to this initiative can be found at here.

Prior to joining the City of Toronto, James was a lead designer with WZMH Architects, Toronto, where he led projects in Canada, China and the United Arab Emirates, which included the ING Bank headquarters in Toronto, Parc Island in the Dubai Marina, U.A.E., Etisalat Headquarters in Sharjah and Fujairah, U.A.E and The Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Tower in Pudong, P.R.C.

James holds a Bachelor of Technology in Architecture Degree from Ryerson University in Toronto, a Masters of Architecture Degree from the University of Houston and a Master of Science in Urban Design Degree from Columbia University in New York.

CTBUH Involvement

  • Advisory Group (2014 – Present)
  • Urban Habitat / Urban Design Committee, Chair (2014 – Present)
  • Expert Peer Review Committee (2016 – Present)
  • Height and Data Committee (2014 – Present)
  • Conference, Speaker (Shanghai 2014; New York 2015; China 2016; Australia 2017)
  • Past Roles:
  • Awards Jury (2015; 2016)

Initiatives Involving James Parakh

2016 Urban Habitat / Urban Design Committee Meeting

16 Oct 2016, Event Report – The annual Urban Habitat / Urban Design Committee meeting was held in the TENCENT…

2016 CTBUH Leaders Meeting Report

16 Oct 2016, Event Report – The Annual Leaders Meeting was held this year in conjunction with the 2016…

CTBUH 'UH'PDATE October 2016

4 Oct 2016, CTBUH News – The fourth issue of CTBUH 'UH'PDATE provides information on some of the early…

Initiatives Involving James Parakh

2016 Urban Habitat / Urban Design Committee Meeting
16 Oct 2016, Shenzhen – Event Report
The annual Urban Habitat / Urban Design Committee meeting was held in the TENCENT Mansion room I on the ground floor of the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen.
2016 CTBUH Leaders Meeting Report
16 Oct 2016, Shenzhen – Event Report
The Annual Leaders Meeting was held this year in conjunction with the 2016 Conference in China, bringing together the Council’s leaders from around the world.
CTBUH 'UH'PDATE October 2016
4 Oct 2016, Toronto – CTBUH News
The fourth issue of CTBUH 'UH'PDATE provides information on some of the early events and studies of the Urban Habitat / Urban Design Committee.
Toronto Regional Tour
29-30 Oct 2015, Toronto – Tour Report
CTBUH 2015 delegates toured Toronto under the lead of CTBUH Canada. The highly successful tour led to many discussion on the lessons learned.
CTBUH 2015 Height Committee Meeting
25 Oct 2015, New York City – Event Report
After providing a snapshot of the Height Committee’s duties and past actions since its last meeting, Height Committee Chair Peter Weismantle led a discussion on a series of topics.
Warm Weather Spaces Walking Tours 2015
17 Sep 2015 – Tour Report
The CTBUH Urban Habitat / Urban Design Committee organized guided walking tours of 16 cities around the globe, focusing on urban habitats around tall buildings.
CTBUH ’UH’PDATE April 2015
28 Apr 2015, Toronto – CTBUH News
The third issue of CTBUH 'UH'PDATE 2015 goes over the Parramatta analysis plan, abstracts for CTBUH New York Conference and the committee member's involvement around the world.
CTBUH ’UH’PDATE February 2015
26 Feb 2015, Toronto – CTBUH News
The second issue of CTBUH 'UH'PDATE goes over the success of the 7 Cities Winter Walking Tours and welcoming 5 new committee members.
Seven Cities Winter Spaces Walking Tour
29 Jan 2015 – Tour Report
The new CTBUH Urban Habitat / Urban Design Committee organized a highly successful Winter Spaces Walking Tour in seven cities around the world.
CTBUH Canada Tours ICE Condos at York Center, Toronto
19 Nov 2014, Toronto – Tour Report
The CTBUH Canada chapter hosted a tour – ironically during an early winter snow storm – of the ICE Condominiums.
CTBUH ’UH’PDATE November 2014
28 Oct-6 Nov 2014, Toronto – CTBUH News
The first CTBUH 'UH'PDATE provides information on some of the early events and plans of the newly formed Urban Habitat / Urban Design Committee.
CTBUH Leaders Discuss Ways to Broaden Council Membership
15 Sep 2014, Shanghai – Event Report
The leadership of the Council convened in the Leaders Meeting to participate in discussions about how to widen the Council’s reach and effectiveness.

See all initiatives involving James Parakh

James Parakh Related Resources

UrbanToronto Covers CTBUH Twilight Walking Tour in Toronto

UrbanToronto Covers CTBUH Twilight Walking Tour in Toronto

26 Aug 2016, Toronto – UrbanToronto recently covered the CTBUH's Twilight Walking Tour in Toronto, held in conjunction with the…

CTBUH Warm Weather Spaces Walking Tour Attended by UrbanToronto

CTBUH Warm Weather Spaces Walking Tour Attended by UrbanToronto

25 Sep 2015, Toronto – UrbanToronto recently participated in the Toronto Warm Weather Spaces Walking Tour, one of 17 tours hosted by…

PARKROYAL on Pickering Wins CTBUH 2015 Urban Habitat Award

PARKROYAL on Pickering Wins CTBUH 2015 Urban Habitat Award

24 Jul 2015, Singapore – World Architecture News covers the recent announcement of the CTBUH 2015 Urban Habitat Award. PARKROYAL on…

Read more Press/Media entries in connection with James Parakh

Public Realm Q&A

18 Oct 2016 – CTBUH 2016 China Conference
Javier Quintana de Una, IDOM; Albert Chan, Shui on Land Limited; James Parakh, City of Toronto Planning Department; Martin Henn, Henn

The Space Between: Urban Spaces Surrounding Tall Buildings

18 Oct 2016 – CTBUH 2016 China Conference
James Parakh, City of Toronto Planning Department

CTBUH Video Interview – James Parakh

18 Oct 2016 – 2016 China Conference Interviews
James Parakh, City of Toronto Planning Department

See all videos

The Space Between: Urban Spaces Surrounding Tall Buildings

17 Oct 2016 – Cities to Megacities: Shaping Dense Vertical Urbanism
James Parakh, City of Toronto Planning Division

The Network of Urban Spaces Surrounding Tall Buildings

26 Oct 2015 – Global Interchanges: Resurgence of the Skyscraper City
James Parakh, City of Toronto Planning Department

Press/Media Related to James Parakh

UrbanToronto Covers CTBUH Twilight Walking Tour in Toronto
Toronto, Canada – UrbanToronto recently covered the CTBUH's Twilight Walking Tour in Toronto, held in conjunction with the Ontario Professional Planners…
CTBUH Warm Weather Spaces Walking Tour Attended by UrbanToronto
Toronto, Canada – UrbanToronto recently participated in the Toronto Warm Weather Spaces Walking Tour, one of 17 tours hosted by CTBUH across the globe on…
PARKROYAL on Pickering Wins CTBUH 2015 Urban Habitat Award
Singapore, Singapore – World Architecture News covers the recent announcement of the CTBUH 2015 Urban Habitat Award. PARKROYAL on Pickering won the award for its…
CTBUH 2015 Best Tall Buildings Form a Diverse List
, – The American Society of Civil Engineers takes an in-depth look at the CTBUH 2015 Best Tall Building Award winners, noting the similarities…
Shanghai Talks: Toronto City Planner James Parakh Talks Skyscraper Design
Toronto, Canada – This Fall, Chris Bentley served as a special media correspondent for the 2014 CTBUH Conference in Shanghai. Among the many architects,…
CTBUH Hosts Winter Spaces Tour in 7 Cities Around the Globe
Toronto, Canada – The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) hosted tours in seven cities around the globe on January 29, 2015. Urban Toronto…
Ever Taller Toronto Condo Towers Redefine City Neighborhoods
Toronto, Canada – Toronto’s skyline has seen a dramatic change with the addition of many skyscraper condominium towers. CTBUH Canada Chair Richard Witt and…
CTBUH Hosts Tour Through Toronto’s Ïce Condominiums
Toronto, Canada – On November 19, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) hosted a tour of the Lanterra Developments condominium project known…
CTBUH Hosts Tour Through Lanterra’s Ice Condominiums
Toronto, Canada – Urban Toronto covers the recent Ice Condominiums building tour that was arranged by the Toronto Chapter of CTBUH Canada on a fittingly snowy…
Council on Tall Buildings Putting a Bigger Emphasis on Sustainability
, – Engineering News-Record highlights the growth of the CTBUH over the years, focusing on the successes that are allowing the organization to…

Read more: Global Tall Building News / CTBUH in the Media Articles

James Parakh Related Videos

Public Realm Q&A
18 Oct 2016 – Presentation at CTBUH 2016 China Conference; Javier Quintana de Una, IDOM; Albert Chan, Shui on Land Limited; James Parakh, City of Toronto Planning Department; Martin Henn, Henn
Tuesday October 18, 2016. Shenzhen, China. Javier Quintana de Una, IDOM; Albert Chan, Shui on Land Limited; James Parakh, City of Toronto Planning Department; Martin Henn, HENN, answer questions at the end of the 2016 China Conference Session 6a:…
The Space Between: Urban Spaces Surrounding Tall Buildings
18 Oct 2016 – Presentation at CTBUH 2016 China Conference; James Parakh, City of Toronto Planning Department
This presentation was intended to introduce the upcoming CTBUH technical guide titled "The Space Between," which investigates the importance of publicly accessible spaces surrounding tall buildings. Urban spaces featured in the technical guide range…
CTBUH Video Interview – James Parakh
18 Oct 2016 – 2016 China Conference Interviews; James Parakh, City of Toronto Planning Department
James Parakh of the City of Toronto Planning Department is interviewed by Chris Bentley during the 2016 CTBUH China Conference. James discusses the design elements of successful public spaces.
2015 New York Conference - Session 2c - Q&A
26 Oct 2015 – Presentation at CTBUH 2015 New York Conference; Panel Questions & Answers
Robert Cotter, Jersey City; James Parakh, City of Toronto Planning Department; and Craig Schwitter, BuroHappold Engineering, answer questions at the end of 2015 New York Conference Session 2c: At the Urban Scale.
The Network of Urban Spaces Surrounding Tall Buildings
26 Oct 2015 – Presentation at CTBUH 2015 New York Conference; James Parakh, City of Toronto Planning Department
This presentation focuses largely on the Toronto context and investigates the network of urban spaces surrounding tall buildings, the tall building as place makers and how tall buildings meet the street. As contributing elements in the fabric of the…
Interview: James Parakh
18 Sep 2014 – 2014 Shanghai Conference Interviews; James Parakh, Toronto City Planner
James Parakh of the City of Toronto is interviewed by Chris Bentley during the 2014 CTBUH Shanghai Conference at the Jin Mao Tower. James talks about Toronto's Privately Owned Public Space (POPS) program and how cities can react to urban sprawl.
Monthly Video: Five Minutes with James Parakh
18 Sep 2014 – Monthly Video Series; James Parakh, Toronto City Planner
James Parakh of the City of Toronto is interviewed by Chris Bentley during the 2014 CTBUH Shanghai Conference at the Jin Mao Tower. James talks about Toronto's Privately Owned Public Space (POPS) program and how cities can react to urban sprawl.…
Measuring Tall Buildings: Has CTBUH got its Height Criteria Correct?
18 Sep 2014 – Presentation at CTBUH 2014 Shanghai Conference; Peter Weismantle, CTBUH Height Committee Chair / AS+GG; Terri Meyer Boake, University of Waterloo; James Parakh, Toronto City Planner; Antony Wood, CTBUH / IIT / Tongji
One of the roles of the CTBUH is to be a “voice of reason” as the arbiter of building height claims, and to be consistent in the application of its criteria. Every few years, a question that provokes a review of the appropriateness of the criteria…

James Parakh Related Papers/Research

The Space Between: Urban Spaces Surrounding Tall Buildings
17 Oct 2016 – Cities to Megacities: Shaping Dense Vertical Urbanism; James Parakh, City of Toronto Planning Division
This paper is intended to introduce the upcoming CTBUH technical guide titled “The Space Between,” which investigates the importance of publicly accessible spaces surrounding tall buildings. Urban spaces featured in the technical guide range in scale…
The Network of Urban Spaces Surrounding Tall Buildings
26 Oct 2015 – Global Interchanges: Resurgence of the Skyscraper City; James Parakh, City of Toronto Planning Department
This paper investigates the Network of Urban Spaces Surrounding Tall Buildings, the Tall Building as Place Makers how Tall Buildings meet the street. As contributing elements in the fabric of the City, Tall Buildings often have associated Urban…