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Teresa Abbruzzese

Teresa Abbruzzese

Assistant Professor (Teaching Stream)

Urban Studies Program Coordinator (Department of Social Science, LA&PS)


PhD Environmental Studies, York University

MES Planning, York University

BA (Honours) Geography, University of Toronto

Research Keywords

Smart cities and policy mobilities, Digital futures, Urban care and social infrastructure, Urban regions and planning, Housing, Music, place, and identity, Academic mothers and caring universities.

Graduate Supervision

I supervise students in the graduate program in Environmental Studies.

Contact Information

416 736 2100

Research Interests

I am an urban geographer and an academic mother. Being an academic and a mommy are both labours of love! My teaching and research interests focus on the social, spatial, and material dimensions of cities and urbanization processes. My current theoretical and empirical preoccupations focus on urban dimensions relating to digital futures and policy mobilities. My research brings a critical feminist lens to current scholarly and policy discussions on smart cities by highlighting questions of care and social infrastructure in relation to the production of technocratic urbanism.

My writing and teaching interweave critical social, urban, and cultural theory to examine sociospatial inequities in regions. Along my scholarly travels, I investigated the politics of road entertainment and struggling mobilities of fairground travelers in Southern Italy; traced Bruce Springsteen’s tracks through his songwriting in his search for place and identity; and closer to home (Toronto), examined articulations of neoliberal urbanism by specifically looking at metropolitan governance and social housing issues, and regional and place-based social movements in North America.

My pedagogical approach—guided by an ethic of care—seeks to help students realize their scholarly and professional potential by giving equal attention to classroom instruction, intellectual training, and mentorship. I am committed to student-centered accessible education and creating experiential learning opportunities for students.

Research Projects

I am currently involved in a global comparative study of smart city development, titled “Smart Cities Between Worlding and Provincializing: A Global Comparative Perspective,” led by Professor Byron Miller (PI, University of Calgary) and sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Research Output

2023 Beyond the Digital Divide: Libraries Enabling the Just Smart City (with Brandon Hillier, second author). In Digital (In)justice in the Smart City, edited by D. Mackinnon, V. Fast, and R. Burns, (10 pages). University of Toronto Press.

2022  Smart Cities: Big Data and Surveillance (with Brandon Hillier, first author). In Urbanization in a Global Context: Second Edition, edited by A.L. Bain and L. Peake, 197-216. Oxford University Press.

2021 The Toronto Public Library as a Site of Urban Care, Social Repair, and Maintenance in the Smart City (with Antony Riley, second author). In Care and the City, edited by A. Gabauer, S. Knierbein, N. Cohen, H. Lebuhn, K. Trogal, and T. Viderman, 183-193. New York: Routledge.

2017 “Build Toronto” (Not Social Housing): Neglecting the Social Housing Question in the Competitive City Region. In Governing Cities Through Regions: Transatlantic Perspectives, edited by R. Keil, S. Kipfer, J-A. Boudreau, and P. Hamel, 143-172. Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier University Press.

Recognition & Awards

  • Honourable Mention, Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (contract category) - Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, York University
  • Ian Greene Award for Teaching Excellence - Student Council of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, York University


Course CodeTitle
SOSC 2710City Lives & City Forms: An Introduction to Urban Studies
SOSC 3701Urban Analysis I: Developing a Research Proposal
SOSC 3702Urban Analysis II: Research Project
SOSC 3715The Urban Professional
SOSC 4710Urban Field Experience