About Leela Viswanathan

Dr. Leela Viswanathan, PhD, RPP, MCIP, is Founder and Principal of Viswali Consulting, a planning and advisory firm that inspires planning with purpose, and change by design.
Human-centred planner | Enterprising scholar | Forward-thinking strategist.

Practices for Managing Uncertainty Redux

By |2022-06-30T09:24:31-04:00June 29th, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|

Faced recently with personal uncertainty, I decided to take my own advice noted in my December 2021 blogpost “Practices For Managing Uncertainty.” However, this time I took more time to recognize the feelings of fear and vulnerability that also emerged. As the saying goes, “The best laid plans… often go awry,” and over the past

Writing From The Heart

By |2022-05-30T10:19:01-04:00May 30th, 2022|Categories: Community|

I spent the past seven months writing—from proposal to manuscript—what may become my first book. It is a different kind of manuscript than what I have written in the past, and my approach to it was also further afield from my previous academic work. I drew from a combination of approaches based on meticulous

Empathy in Action

By |2022-04-25T13:15:47-04:00April 25th, 2022|Categories: Community|

I frequently speak about empathy in action, when I am invited to speak about equity, diversity, and inclusion in different contexts, including planning, post-secondary education, governance, research, and systems change. What can empathy in action look like? Empathy in action can involve: building a critical awareness of dominant culture and its impact on our

Spring and the Evolution of Reconnecting IRL

By |2022-03-31T08:53:50-04:00March 30th, 2022|Categories: Community|

Spring is a good season for renewal and reconnection with nature, and with each other, In Real Life (IRL). As the snow melts and the ice thaws, and we find surprises underneath—detritus and hibernating plants to learn from [1]— I generate new thoughts and ideas for business and personal renewal too. This winter felt

Advice for Students About Building Career Resilience

By |2022-03-04T11:02:19-05:00February 28th, 2022|Categories: Community|

I am often asked by urban planning students for career advice. Here are my top recommendations: 1. Become a lifelong learner Building career resilience facilitates work security and requires a commitment to lifelong learning. Be open to learning new skills, new experiences, and to fostering rich and purposeful relationships. 2. Figure out what matters

5 Practices for Managing Uncertainty

By |2021-12-23T11:10:01-05:00December 22nd, 2021|Categories: Community|Tags: |

When it comes to wrestling with uncertainty, planners are pros. Just this past week, with the advent of the Omicron variant, and my current home, Kingston, Ontario reaching the highest case rate of COVID-19 in the country, due to Omicron spread, I was reminded about the importance of being nimble to navigate the everchanging landscape.

Planning at the Pace of Trust

By |2022-02-25T15:08:48-05:00November 29th, 2021|Categories: Community|

Over the past year, I have been invited to facilitate some truly difficult conversations. These conversations, whether inspired or called on by an organization’s members and staff, by residents, or by educators, have been a first step towards desired systems changes. Along the way, I was engaged to design training on how to integrate equity

What being inducted into the 2021 CIP College of Fellows means to me

By |2021-11-29T16:36:13-05:00June 25th, 2021|Categories: Career, News|Tags: , , |

In May 2021, I was inducted into the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) College of Fellows. Being named a Fellow of the CIP is the highest award that the Institute can give to a planner. I am grateful to my nominator and to all those who submitted letters of endorsement. I was asked by

Staying connected through pandemic postcards

By |2021-05-05T09:11:39-04:00May 4th, 2021|Categories: Community|Tags: , |

News of the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic on my family in India and the USA and on my friends across Canada are part of my weekly newsfeed. Too often, the news is heartbreaking, and we seek out moments of joy. However, there are times when the extended provincial lockdown in Ontario and the

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