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Valerie Ann Preston

Valerie Ann Preston



PhD Urban Geography , McMaster University
MA Urban Geography , McMaster University
BA (First Class Honours) Geography , York University

Research Keywords

Immigration; Gender Issues; Urban Labour & Housing Markets.

Contact Information

Research Projects

SSHRC Partneship Grant on Building Migrant Resilience in Cities

Established in 2016, Building Migrant Resilience in Cities (BMRC-IRMU) is a research partnership and a multi-sector collaboration. It draws on over 20 years of experience in bringing together a range of key actors working on issues of immigration and settlement through CERIS, a leading Ontario network of migration and settlement researchers, practitioners, and policymakers. This unique initiative explores the concept of social resilience to examine how institutions can facilitate migrant settlement in urban areas across Quebec and Ontario. The project is generating new knowledge for academic debate and discussion that will be made readily available to decision-makers and practitioners who strive to enhance migrant settlement.

Multiple activities are being carried out to address the overarching research questions, and impact the lives of migrants. From a research perspective, activities contribute to the growing field of migration studies, by incorporating and evaluating a resilience lens into the research. These include:

  • Comparing the political, socio-economic, and individual factors that affect how migrants settle in different local contexts.
  • Documenting how organizations and institutions contribute successfully to the strength and resilience of migrants as they settle into new lives in Canada.
  • Using the data and findings to pilot evidence-based strategies that can work in diverse contexts to foster healthy and successful settlement.
  • Working together to develop a model of social resilience for successful migrant settlement that can be used in academic discourse, policy development, and community practice.
  • Training emerging migration researchers, policymakers, and practitioners that will be influencing, making decisions on, and implementing ongoing and future work related to migration in Canada.
  • Developing a self-sustaining and bilingual research network that can respond to changing migration trends and issues now and in the future.

The research team works in cities across Quebec and Ontario. The two provinces have  different immigration histories, institutional infrastructure and migration policies allowing to compare and contrast migrant resilience in distinct environments. The social security systems are vastly different. In Quebec, the province has control over immigrant selection and settlement while in Ontario, the federal government has jurisdiction. The provinces also differ greatly in the relationship between non-governmental organizations and the private and public sectors and their migration histories.

The initiative focuses on large and small urban areas. The research team works in Toronto and Montreal, two gateway cities that are the initial destinations for large numbers of migrants. In Canada’s largest gateway city of Toronto, the research team investigates resilience in suburban areas in the York Region to provide an intra-urban analysis between downtown and the suburbs. The research team also studies resilience in large and medium-sized cities such as Ottawa-Gatineau, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Windsor. The belief is that understanding settlement in Quebec and Ontario cities can give an in-depth understanding of the strategies that migrants use to overcome settlement challenges in municipalities across Canada.

Research Output

2019 Everyday Equalities: Making Multicultures in Settler Colonial Cities. With R. Fincher, K. Iveson, and Leitner. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 262 pp. co-author.

2015 Social Infrastructure and Vulnerability in the Suburbs. With L. Lo, S.Wang, R. Basu and P. Anisef. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 191pp. co-author.

Books edited

2014 Liberating Temporariness? Migration, Work and Citizenship In an Era of Insecurity. With L. Vosko and R. Latham (Eds.). Montreal and Kingston: McGill Queen’s University Press, 390 pp. co-editor.

When Care Work Goes Global: Locating the Social Relations of Domestic Work. With Mary Romero and Wenona Giles (Eds.). Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing Ltd. 305pp. co-editor. 

2020 ”International Migration and Immigration: Remaking the Multicultural Canadian City,” with A. Kobayashi. In Canadian Cities in Transition, Sixth Edition, edited by P. Filion, M. Moos, T. Vinodrai and R. Walker. (Toronto, ON: Oxford University Press).

       “Questionnaire Survey,” ‘in A. Kobayashi (ed.) International Encyclopedia of Human Geography. (Kidlington, UK: Elsevier).

2018 ”International Migration,” with B. Ray. In D. Richardson (ed.) The International Encyclopedia of  Geography: People, The Earth,Environment and Technology.  Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Revised for 2nd Editions.

2015 “Altérité, inconfort, et discrimination: le multiculturalisme au quotidian et les lieux de travail à Toronto,” with B. Ray. In Travailler et cohabiter: L’immigration au-delà de l’intégration, edited by S. Arcand and A. Germain. Québec City: Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 195- 226.

            ”International Migration,” with B. Ray. In D. Richardson (ed.) The International Encyclopedia of  Geography: People, The Earth,Environment and Technology.  Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

            ”International Migration and Immigration: Remaking the Multicultural Canadian City,” with A. Kobayashi. In Canadian Cities in Transition, Fifth Edition, edited by P. Filion, M. Moos, T. Vinodrai and R. Walker. (Toronto, ON: Oxford University Press), 129-150.

       “Transnational family exchanges in senior Canadian immigrant families,” with Mandell, N., King, K., Weiser, N., Kim, A. H., & Luxton, M. in G. Man & R. Cohen (Eds.),  Transnational Voices: Global Migration and the Experiences of Women, Youth and Children. (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press), 75-98.

2014 “Commuting.” In B. Warf (ed.) Oxford Bibliographies in Geography. London: Oxford University Press, (no page numbers).

       “Building bridges with senior immigrant groups: Do CAP protocols work?” with Mandell, N., King, K., Weiser, N., Kim, A. H., Lam, L., Luxton, M. in R. Berman (Ed.),   Corridor Talk: Canadian Feminist Scholars Share Stories of Research Partnership. (Toronto: Innana Publications), 124-140.     

       Liberating Temporariness? Imagining Alternatives to Permanence as a Pathway for Social Inclusion,” with R. Latham, L. Vosko, and M. Breton. In Liberating Temporariness? Migration, Work and Citizenship in an Era of Insecurity, edited by L. Vosko, V. Preston, and R. Latham. (Montreal and Kingston: McGill Queen’s University Press), 3-34.   

       ”When Care Work Goes Global,” with M. Romero and W. Giles. In When Care Work Goes Global: Locating the Social Relations of Domestic Work. Edited with Mary Romero and Wenona Giles. Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 1-25.

Refereed articles

2020 “Out of Bounds: The BHER Bones of Teaching Geography Across Borders,” with D. Douhaibi, M. Youdelis, D. Holterman, K. Paudel, E. Lunstrum, J. Mensah, and T. Remmel. In Borderless University Education in Dadaab, Kenya: Theory and Practice edited by W. Giles and L. Martin, London, Bloomsbury Press, accepted.

 ”Placing the Second Generation: A Case Study of Toronto,”  with  Brian Ray, The Canadian Geographer, 64 (1): 1-17.

2019 ” Women’s Changing Commutes: The Work Trips of Single Mothers in the New York Region, 2000-2010,” with Monika Maciejewska and Sara McLafferty, Built Environment, 45 (4): 544-562.  

”Who Has Long Commutes to Low-wage Jobs?  Gender, Race, and Access to Work in the New York Region,” with S. McLafferty, Urban Geography, 40 (9): 1270-1290.

2017 “Canadian Municipalities and Services for Immigrants: Learning from COIA,” with J. Rose, Canadian Journal of Urban Research, 26 (1): 29-39.

2016 “Revisiting Gender, Race, and Commuting in New York,” with S. McLafferty. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 106(2): 300-310.

2015 “Knowledge Mobilization/ Transfer and Immigration Policy: Forging Space for NGOs – The Case of CERIS – The Ontario Metropolis Centre,” with J. Shields, T. Richmond, E. Gasse-Gates, D. Douglas, Y. Sorano, L. Johnston, and J. Campey, Journal of International Migration and Integration, 16 (2:): 265-278.

“Working with diversity: A geographical analysis of ethno-racial discrimination in Toronto,” with B. Ray, Urban Studies, 52(8): 1505-1522.

2014 “Being CBC: The ambivalent identities and belonging of Canadian-Born children of immigrants,” with A. Kobayashi, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 104 (2): 234-242.

“Planning in the multicultural city: celebrating diversity or reinforcing difference? with R. Fincher, H. Leitner, and K. Iveson, Progress in Planning, 92: 1-55.

Recognition & Awards

  • Distinguished Visiting Research Fellowship, Academic Research Collaborative, City University of New York.
  • Service to the Profession of Geography, Canadian Association of Geographers.
  • The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Centre Residency.