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Foster, Jennifer J

Foster, Jennifer J

 Foster_Jennifer J

Foster, Jennifer J

Associate Professor

PhD Environmental Studies , York University
MES Environmental Studies , York University
BA (Honours) Cultural Studies , Trent University

Urban environmental justice; Habitat creation & novel ecologies; Post-industrial urban space; Political ecology & cultural politics of representation; Urban environmental aesthetics; Contemporary arts as planning discourse.

I am interested in the ways that ecological systems permeate cities, the ways that human perceptions, beliefs, values and preferences of diverse landscape actors are expressed through ecological decisions, and the effects of cities on non-human urban inhabitants. My research on urban habitat creation and ecological restoration focuses on the interplay between social and biophysical dynamics in deindustrialized spaces. This includes the theory and practice of environmental planning and design, with particular attention to the constitution of post-industrial urban landscapes such as former pits and quarries, dumps, factories and rail lines. Central themes of this work are urban ecology, environmental justice and environmental aesthetics.

My current research focuses on urban landscape form and processes across cities such as Toronto, Paris, New York and Milwaukee. I investigate how industrial legacies are interpreted and expressed ecologically, particularly in terms of how these spaces are imagined, constructed, inhabited and distributed.


Rubble to Refuge: Toronto’s Leslie Street Spit - SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant

From rubble to refuge: Ecological restoration and the aggregate product cycle in Toronto, Canada - SSHRC Standard Research Grant

A short history of Land: An exhibition on possible futures- SSHRC Research Creation Grant (with Janine Marchessault and Chloe Brushwood Rose)|

LandlSlide: Possible Futures:


Selected Publications


Jennifer Foster.  2020 (in preparation).  Greenspace Planning in Post-Industrial Cities. London” Routledge.

Jennifer Foster and Anders Sandberg (eds). 2016. Post-industrial Urban Greenspace: An Environmental Justice Perspective. London: Routledge.

Janine Marchessault, Chloë Brushwood Rose, Jennifer Foster, and Aleksandra Kaminska (eds). 2015. Land|Slide: Possible Futures. Toronto: Public Books.

Journal Articles

Jennifer Foster and Heidy Schopf.  2017.  “Urban ecological evolution through mineral migration: Extracting, recomposing, demolishing and recolonizing Toronto’s landscape”  Landscript 5: 47-64.

Jennifer Foster and Anders Sandberg.  2014.  “Post-industrial urban greenspace: Justice, quality of life and environmental aesthetics in rapidly changing urban environments” Local Environment 19(10): 1043-48.

Jennifer Foster.  2014.  “Hiding in plain view: Vacancy and prospect in Paris' Petite Ceinture" Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning 40(B): 124-132.

Heidy Schopf and Jennifer Foster.  2014.  “Buried Localities: Archaeological exploration of a Toronto dump and wilderness refuge” Local Environment 19(10): 1086-1109.

Book Chapters

Jennifer Foster.  2015.  “Unhooking sustainability discourse: Messy and indeterminate, displaced present, fluid boundaries, elastic terrain”.  In Land|Slide: Possible Futures (Toronto: Public).  pp. 112-121.

Jennifer Foster and Gail Fraser.  2013. “Predators, prey and the dynamics of change at the Leslie Street Spit“. In Sandberg, L. Anders, Stephen Bocking, Colin Coates and Ken Cruikshank (eds.). Urban Explorations: Environmental Histories of the Toronto Region. (Hamilton, ON: L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian Studies).