Astrid Idlewild is an urban ecosystems specialist, urban historian, and feminist writer. She is a photographer with a professional foundation in marketing, visual, and technical communications.
She is editor of the new social research project Torontolo.gy. Astrid holds an M.U.P. (master of urban planning) from McGill University, where she specialized in urban design, urban media preservation, and nocturnal ecosystems planning. She holds an H.B.A., with distinction, from the University of Toronto, where she concentrated in urban and Canadian studies.
Astrid developed an apparel series for the Toronto subway system in 2007 called I Am Here. In 2010, she added the MétropoleMTL apparel complement for the Montréal métro system. Both series have companion buttons. These and other designs are on sale at the Denizen.TO shop.
In 2011, Astrid started the Kodachrome Toronto Registry to aggregate all known sources of Kodachrome slides and movies which document any aspect of the city. This Registry is the precursor for a curatorial and archives initiative.
With formal training in sound engineering, Astrid has deejayed for clubs and on radio as DJ Five-to-Midnight, an offshoot of the remixing project called Midnight in Halifax.
Astrid lives in Toronto’s Rendrintown. She tends to a cat named Frida.
The history of cities, their social chemistries, and how their popular cultures incubate are some of Astrid’s muses. As a fourth-wave feminist and intersectionalist, she is a strong advocate of intersectionality and of having an inviolable agency over managing one’s own body, voicing its needs, and describing one’s life experiences on her own terms. She firmly holds that women exist in many different kinds of containers, that no one container is more “authentic” or “legitimate” than others.
Her specialization is the city of Toronto. The history of its public spaces, laneway housing, vulnerable populations, nocturnal ecosystems, and wayfinding approaches are topics she has reviewed in earnest. Astrid’s predilection as a historian derives from proximal observations she made of major key events as they happened, as well as experiencing the personal repercussions of making history herself.
Astrid champions a holism in street arterial planning policy. She is a proponent for multi-modal transportation development, smart/adaptive street lighting systems, and citizen-oriented approaches for the greening of public easements. She also welcomes small-scale repurposing of public spaces for social activity. Astrid spent several years working as a bike courier in Toronto and now documents road-going activity to evince a case for safer thruways in Toronto.
As an urbanist, Astrid has chronicled cities on four continents. Some of the more memorable include Tokyo, New York, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, Bangkok, and London. Astrid became a Torontonian eight years ago, previously residing in Montréal, Seattle, Minneapolis, Rochester NY, Austin, and Houston. Her first visit to Toronto in 1996, an unforgettable experience, affirmed that she would eventually settle in Toronto.
- 2011 :: Writing, BlogTO: “The story of the first Yonge Street pedestrian mall” (co-authored with Duncan Taylor in 2008)
- 2009 :: Photography, Spacing: “Stillwater (No Men, No Soda)“
- 2008 :: Writing, Hidden Geographies: “I love to listen to Beethoven: Andrea Yates and the spatial confinement of suburban isolation“
- 2008 :: Photography, Hart House Review (17th ed.): “No Title“
- 1998 :: Photography, Minneapolis Star-Tribune: “Uptown Fire: Ladder Takedown“
- 2013 :: NOW Toronto, “Bike, survive, and videotape“
- 2011 :: BlogTO, “The Kodachrome Toronto archive“
- 2011 :: Toronto Star, “Project documents Toronto’s evolution in Kodachrome colour“