Astrid is an urbanist and historian.
She’s produced critical work on what the public actually signifies in public spacing and on the legibility of place, and how demand is manufactured by private developers for securitized public realms. Urban placeism and Black womanist principles enrich her values and shape her advocacy for participatory citizenship, ethical place design, and social equity in planning policy.
In this, there’s one question which Astrid, informed by her own structural barriers, has struggled to answer: is practitioner equity and due diligence in city planning possible when the profession’s collective life experiences look so little like their city?
Astrid is a part of Toronto. She made Denizen.TO, a civic apparel shop for Toronto and Montréal. She specialized in urban design at McGill University, earning a master of urban planning in 2012 and an honours bachelor, with distinction, in urban and Canadian studies at the University of Toronto in 2009. Her inceptive research on illumination planning chronicled artificial lighting at night and examined its qualitative impact on women’s public health, on civic spaces, and on faunal habitat. She’s investigated ongoing interactions between citizenships conditional on the means to consume, how this shaped queer enclaves during the past half-century, and how this moulded prescriptive vocations imposed on marginal populations who were confined to such enclaves. She developed the Kodachrome Toronto Registry in 2011, a finding aid to index Toronto’s history in colour. Under Rick Salutin’s supervision, Astrid drafted a comparative undergraduate thesis on Canadian content music policy.
Well before Bill C–16 or Ontario’s Toby’s Act, she was the continent’s first to try shifting a paradigm which only now is more widely recognized as a fundamental human right still frequently deprived from an entire marginal population. Punitive repercussions from that precedent as a trans woman undermined her career path as it excluded her from participating in the responsibilities and, consequently, the rights of an everyday citizenship. As with the corporation which lodged her into civil justice history, she re-branded. Unlike the corporation, she’s devoted years to healing from complex post-traumatic stress disorder and lives with chronic depression.
A deejay and sound engineer, Astrid moonlights as Five-to-Midnight and sometimes cobbles together the occasional remix or mashup to pick up where her first remix EP began. She’s committed to film as a photographer, marking her gallery début in 2016. Before academia, she gave her all to a career in marketing communications and publishing. Following five years as a Toronto bike messenger, she retired her radio in 2010.
- 2016. Photography opening, Join Us EIR in the Park: a photography début by Astrid Idlewild, (wet transfers of colour infrared film photos to aluminium, highlighting historically marginal citizenships in Toronto’s public spaces), Super-Jet International Coffee, Toronto.
- 2014. Walk leader, Jane’s Walk, “Red Pill, Blue Town” — a stroll on the history of Toronto’s geographic cisnormativity.
- 2010. Co-presenter, MUHC & Sud-Ouest Borough (Ville de Montréal) [McGill University School of Urban Planning], “Souffle-de-vie (Breath of Life)” — an area planning intervention for Saint-Henri, MUHC, and the Turcot Lands (co-presented with Maxim Wells and David Beitel).
- 2009. Research talk, Department of Geography, University of Toronto, on “I love to listen to Beethoven: Andrea Yates and the spatial confinement of suburban isolation”.
- 2007. Co-presenter, Alternative Transportation Study (Carlene Thatcher-Martin, Bikechain lead), “Annual Sustainability Report”, University of Toronto Sustainability Office.
- 2011. Writing, BlogTO: “The story of the first Yonge Street pedestrian mall” (co-authored with Duncan Taylor in 2008).
- 2009. Photography, Spacing Magazine: “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”.
- 2003. Sleeve art, Polyholiday Records: “LMP’s Love Conquers Alda long-play”.
- 2002. Sleeve art, Polyholiday Records: “LMP’s Meeting Up and Making Friends EP”.
- 2001. Sleeve art, Polyholiday Records: “LMP’s The New Body Language EP”.
- 1998. Photography, Minneapolis Star-Tribune: “Uptown Fire: Ladder Takedown”.
- 1998. Photography, Lavender Magazine: Twin Cities Pride ’98 issue.
- 2016. Event DJing, #BechdelBill at TIFF, Toronto.
- 2015–17. Venue DJing, The Handlebar, Toronto.
- 2008–09. Event DJing, Velo Social at Augusta House, Toronto.
- 2002. Venue DJing, The Chatterbox Pub, Minneapolis.
- 2001–02. Venue DJing, Sursumcorda, Minneapolis.
- 2001. Event DJing, May 26th, GLITZ, San Francisco.
- 2001. Event DJing, February 7th, pre-show set for Low, Sacred Heart Music Center, Duluth.
- 2001. Event DJing, January 1st, New Years Eve, Rogue Buddha Gallery, Minneapolis.
- 2000–01. Event DJing, Kitty Kat Shack, St. Paul.
- 1997. Radio host, WRUR-FM (University of Rochester), Rochester.
- 1994. Radio host, KVRX-FM (University of Texas at Austin), Austin.
- 1991. Modelling, Houston Bridal Extravaganza (George R. Brown Convention Center), Houston.
- 2015. Médiatique (pour Radio-Canada Télé), “Les bons, les méchants et la bicyclette” (“The Good, the Bad and the Bicycle”).
- 2015. Ground: Landscape Architect Quarterly, Issue 29, “Trash: the literal and metaphoric territories of waste” (roundtable).
- 2015. Toronto Star, “Toronto the brand”.
- 2013. DailyXTRA, “Bike activism comes to Pride: queer women taking up space on the road and in bike shops”.
- 2013. NOW Toronto, “Bike, survive, and videotape”.
- 2012. Inside Toronto, “Cyclists encouraged to share stories of close call with motorists on blog”.
- 2012. The Globe and Mail, “Cyclist waited three hours for police after alleged assault by a driver” [and incident outcome].
- 2012. Toronto Star, “London 2012: New Olympic sports only Toronto could love”.
- 2011. BlogTO, “The Kodachrome Toronto archive”.
- 2011. Toronto Star, “Project documents Toronto’s evolution in Kodachrome colour”.
- 2006–08. Tutorship, high school ESL for new Canadians, Project Universal Minds, University of Toronto
- 2008–09. President, Urban Studies Student Union, University of Toronto
- 2005–07. Board member, past executive, Campus Co-operative Residence, Inc., Toronto
- 2006–07. Board member, Ontario Student Co-operative Association, Toronto
- 2007–08. Internship, Common Grounds, Evergreen