Welcome to the August 2022 edition of the EUC Research Update - bringing you highlights from research activities at York's Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change. We invite you to view our past updates on our Research News page.
Roger Keil on how COVID-19 lockdown measures — and their outcomes — varied in cities around the world.
Sheila Colla on common misconceptions about bees, helping pollinators, and ‘saving the bees’.
Murat Ucoglu and Ute Lehrer on why Ontario must commit to affordable housing for all, not attainable housing.
Stephanie Bell on exploring local elephant knowledge in the Boteti River Region in Botswana.
Nadha Hassen and Sarah Flicker on exploring the experiences of racialized residents in two Toronto neighbourhoods.
Kean Birch on the digital charter bill and the protection of Canadians' personal data.
Accolades and Awards
Nasya Razavi received a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship for her research on Caring Cities: Experiences of care work in Bolivia. Dr Razavi has been a postdoctoral visitor at the City Institute and lead researcher for the Cochabamba City Research Team on the GenUrb project (Urbanization, Gender, and the Global South: A Transformative Knowledge Network) with Professor Linda Peake as Principal Investigator. Her research explores the nexus between urban transformations and inequalities and examines the challenges in peri-urban Bolivia as changing infrastructure and severe water shortages shape public participation, gendered insecurities, and everyday practices. Razavi completed her PhD at Queen’s University, and her dissertation has recently been published as a book on Water governance in Bolivia: Cochabamba since the Water War (Routledge, 2022). For more info on Nasya's research, read her previous research spotlight.
Laura Taylor received two MITACS Business Strategy Internship (BSI) awards with EUC graduate students, Joseph Goode and Alessia Mole.
Goode, a recent MES graduate, is working for the Rescue Lake Simcoe Charitable Foundation in their public outreach and research on Lake Simcoe area official plans. A policy analyst in the field of environmental management, his work focuses on environmental impact assessment, Indigenous peoples and environmental policy.
Mole, a current graduate student, is similarly working for the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition as a communications intern evaluating the communications methods and efficacy of the Coalition. Mole has professional experience in community outreach, youth engagement, project coordination, event planning, research, education and administration.
The MITACS BSI provides $10,000 or $15,000 to current students and recent graduates who develop innovative projects designed to help an organization thrive.
Mark Winfield also received a MITACS BSI award with EUC PhD candidate Susan Wyse for a project with The Regional Municipality of Durham, Trent University, and Ontario Tech University on the Implementation Governance of Durham Community Energy Plan (DCEP).
The goal of the collaborative project is to develop a model for DCEP governance that ensures stability and benefits for all involved but also creates accountability for the key audiences (regional and local government, community organizations, postsecondary institutions, utilities) engaged in its implementation.
The project team will evaluate different governance models that have been implemented elsewhere and determine which may be suitable for Durham Region’s context. The interns from the three universities will engage in different mapping techniques, social network analysis, coordinate the delivery of materials for distribution to target audiences (e.g., Regional Councils), as well as create and deliver on-demand communication products for the project. Achieving the goals of the DCEP is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and seize economic opportunities related to clean energy transition as well as provide multiple economic, environmental and social benefits to Durham Region.
Beibei Zhang is our new SSHRC postdoctoral fellow, with Luisa Sotomayor as supervisor. Zhang's doctoral thesis at the University of Toronto studied the transformation of Toronto’s affordable and social housing sectors under financialization. Based on the findings, her postdoctoral research will examine how finance further penetrates into niche housing sectors like student housing and commodifies those sectors. Amid the rising global urban housing affordability crisis, university and college students are facing severe housing cost burdens. Hence, there is an urgent need to understand how the student housing sector has been captured by private financial investors and commodified, and how student housing could be provided in a more equitable way.
EUC Research in the Media
Sheila Colla helps clear up which bees need saving in a National Post article about the “save the bees” movement. Accordingly, people have embraced the “Save the Bees” slogan — but few understand which bees need saving. In a 2020 survey analyzed by Colla’s lab and conducted by Friends of the Earth, it was found that Canadians lack fundamental bee knowledge and assume that European honeybees are the same as native wild pollinators. “It just gets back to people understanding that we can’t replace our native bees with managed bees, because there are a lot of impacts of using managed bees in our ecosystems,” says Colla. Adding, “native pollinators have co-evolutionary relationships with native plants that we should be nurturing.”
Mahtot Gebresselassie has co-authored a piece with Ron Buliung (University of Toronto) on the website of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP). Titled Disabling Toronto, the article invites attendees at the forthcoming ACSP conference in Toronto to think about the city as a space for disabled persons, and as a disabling space: “As you explore Toronto during your stay for the conference, could we make you an ally if you are not a disabled person yourself? We invite you to pay attention how different or similar your experience of the city would have been had you been a person with disability. We also want to invite you to take note of what you think would be disabling in the places where you will attend ACSP!” The ACSP conference will take place on November 3-5 2022 with the University of Toronto, Toronto Metropolitan University, and York University as local hosts. Luisa Sotomayor is co-chair of the local host committee.
Andil Gosine's everything slackens in a wreck exhibit at the Ford Foundation Gallery in New York was featured in Metal Magazine, exploring the destructive nature of colonialism through the eyes of four artists. Gosine’s curation intimately explores the history of hardship and the fight for survival in the Indentureship program in the Caribbean from the 19th century. Highlighting the history of indentureship, the exhibition is the first major show to bring together visual artists who are descendants of indentured workers – Chinese Jamaican Margaret Chen, Indo-Trinidadian Wendy Nana, Caribbean American Andrea Chung and Indo-Guadeloupean Kelly Sinnapah Mary. The event has also been featured in The Brooklyn Rail and Small Axe SX Live.
In an article in The Hill, Ilan Kapoor speaks to the problematic nature of celebrity war zone visits and, more recently, Hollywood photo-ops in Ukraine. “These are highly privileged people who need to know their place and don’t,” said Kapoor, “and the system only encourages them to continue to, I think in the end, do much more harm than they do good.”
Deborah McGregor was one of three moderators at a special event celebrating International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on August 9. The event was organized by York's Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Languages and the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research. The focus of the discussion was on healing as it relates to environmental injustice, climate change, and/or biodiversity loss that sparks creativity, reciprocity, and knowledge-sharing among Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers and practitioners (people working on the ground). The UN's "Fight Racism" campaign offers a section dedicated to Indigenous communities with a comprehensive compilation of UN resources. Among them, an account of the problem of discrimination against Indigenous peoples, a photo exhibition and a free course.
In a CBC article about recent census data which shows Mandarin is now Toronto’s second most common first language, Valerie Preston agrees that immigration patterns are likely the reason, noting that another possible contributing factor could be the Chinese government's growing insistence on Mandarin as the standard national language. "I wonder if the People's Republic of China government's emphasis on Mandarin as THE Chinese language is increasing its use among Chinese populations around the world,” she notes in an email to CBC Toronto.
L. Anders Sandberg has taken the unusual step of supporting the installation of a commemorative bench on York University’s Keele Campus as a way to highlight the important role of citizen-taxpayers in society. The citizen-taxpayer bench at the Harry W. Arthurs Common at the Keele Campus represents a modest gesture toward the celebration of citizen taxpayers all over the world. “They should be given their due. They are the ones who sustain society, and they deserve to be honoured and celebrated for their efforts,” he says. “Now they also have a commemorative bench with a plaque.” (Read the YFile story on 'Professor honours the citizen-taxpayer with enduring gesture').
Steven Tufts contributed an article on Labour shortages a long-term problem at border crossings in the Toronto Star, emphasizing that any air travel recovery strategy will have to centre workers rather than displace them. While the Ontario government’s Skills Development Fund has invested $1.6 million in an employment portal for Pearson to assist in recruitment, this is, he argues, only a baby-step. "A national labour force development strategy needs to be in place to address recruitment, training, career development, and the implementation of new technologies in the sector. An industry seeking to recover profits lost during the pandemic through low-wages, understaffing, and “no wage” technologies will only see more people grounded and disgruntled long-after the pandemic ends", he concludes.
Mark Winfield penned an article on Ontario's deepening hydro mess in Policy Options noting that the Ford government is surprisingly unwilling to explore renewable energy projects despite the wide range of options available to it. Accordingly, the province remains without any formal energy planning process within which to consider the range of options available to it. Ontario’s direction, as the only province proposing major increases in greenhouse gas emissions from its electricity system, presents a major challenge to the federal government’s goal of a net-zero emission national electricity grid by 2035. In the end, he concluded that Ontario’s hydro mess still needs a lot of fixing as so far, it has given little indication of a willingness to change course from its current economically unsustainable and climate-unfriendly trajectory.
Publications and Reports
Ali, S.H., Connoly, C., and Keil, R. (2023). Pandemic Urbanism: Infectious Diseases on a Planet of Cities. Polity Books, February 2023.
Avery, L., Maddox, R., Abtan, R., Wong, O., Rotondi, N. K., McConkey, S., Bourgeois, C., McKnight, C., Wolfe, S., Flicker, S., Macpherson, A., Smylie, J., & Rotondi, M. (2022). Modelling prevalent cardiovascular disease in an urban indigenous population. Canadian Journal of Public Health. https://doi.org/10.17269/s41997-022-00669-x
Biglieri, S., De Vidovich, L., Iacobelli, J. and Keil, R. (2022). Health governance of COVID-19 in Milan and Toronto: Long-term trends and short term failures. Studies in Political Economy, A Socialist Review, Volume 103, Issue 1.
Birch, K. (2022). Reflexive expectations in innovation financing: An analysis of venture capital as a mode of valuation. Social Studies of Science. https://doi.org/10.1177/03063127221118372
Duker, P. & Klanarongchao, S. (2022) Community-based conservation of the Ngao River in Thailand: A networked story of success, Society & Natural Resources. DOI: 10.1080/08941920.2022.2109087
Kaltenbrunner, Birch, K., van Leeuwen, T., & Amuchastegui, M. (2022). Changing publication practices and the typification of the journal article in science and technology studies. Social Studies of Science. https://doi.org/10.1177/03063127221110623
Colla, S. R. (2022). The potential consequences of ‘bee washing’ on wild bee health and conservation. International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife, 18, 30–32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijppaw.2022.03.011
Wilson, C. L., Flicker, S., & Restoule, J.-P. (2022). Building Black and indigenous alliances for HIV prevention and health promotion, in Harriet’s Legacies: Race, Historical Memory, and Futures in Canada, edited by Ronald Cummings and Natalee Caple, McGill Queen's Universities Press, pp. 278-303.
Gosine, A. (2022). Everything slackens in a wreck. Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, 26(2), 119–143. https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-9901696
Kaika, M., Keil, R., Mandler, T., and Tzaninis, Y., Eds (2023). Turning up the heat: Urban political ecology for a climate emergency. Manchester University Press. January.
Keil, R. (2022). Zwischenstadt | inbetween city. Thomas Sieverts, cities without cities: An interpretation of the zwischenstadt, 2004. Critical Planning and Design, 139–146. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-93107-0_12
Lehrer, U. (2022). John Friedmann, the good society (1979): Panning pathways for a just society. Critical Planning and Design, 89–96. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-93107-0_7
Mailhot, S. and Perkins, P.E. (2022). "Social equity is the foundation of degrowth" in Degrowth and Strategy: How to bring about social-ecological transformation edited by Nathan Barlow, Livia Regen, Noémie Cadiou, Ekaterina Chertkovskaya, Max Hollweg, Christina Plank, Merle Schulken and Verena Wolf, MayFly Books, July.
Mensah, J., Teye, J. K., & Setrana, M. B. (2022). The Janus-face of contemporary migration: Perspectives on West African return migration and transnationalism with a focus on Ghana and Senegal. Migration in West Africa, IMISCOE Research Series, 237–259. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-97322-3_12
Malik, Robertson, C., Roberts, S. A., Remmel, T. K., & Long, J. A. (2022). Computer vision models for comparing spatial patterns: understanding spatial scale. International Journal of Geographical Information Science : IJGIS, ahead-of-print(ahead-of-print), 1–35. https://doi.org/10.1080/13658816.2022.2103562
Preston, V., McLafferty, S., and Maciejewska, M> (2022). Gender, Immigration and Commuting in Metropolitan Canada, Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie. https://doi.org/10.1111/tesg.12521
Razavi, N.S. (2022). Water governance in Bolivia: Cochabamba since the Water War. Routledge. ISBN 9780367770129
Razavi, N.S., Adeniyi-Ogunyankin, G., Basu, S., Datta, A., de Souza, K., Ting Ip, P. T., Koleth, E., Marcus, J., Miraftab, F., Mullings, B., Nmormah, S., Odunola, B., Burgoa, S. P., & Peake, L. (2022). Everyday urbanisms in the pandemic city: A feminist comparative study of the gendered experiences of Covid-19 in Southern cities. Social & Cultural Geography, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2022.2104355
Kaltenbrunner, W., Birch, K. van Leeuwen, T., and Amuchastegui, M. (2022). Changing publication practices and the typification of the journal article in science and technology studies. Social Studies of Science. https://doi.org/10.1177/03063127221110623
Call for Submissions for UnderCurrents - Journal of Critical Environmental Studies, Volume 22
UnderCurrents is a collectively- and student-run academic journal based in EUC. It explores relations among environment, culture, and society. Committed to publishing a variety of scholarly, creative, and activist work that critically engages with conceptions of the environment, it invites submissions of scholarly and creative work, including essays, poetry, photographs, visuals, video, audio, mixed formats, as well as reviews of books that may fit within the them of Volume 22 that consider moments, places, and processes in which the subterranean and subaquatic interact.
All are welcome to submit, encouraging submissions from applicants who are Indigenous, Black, racialized, women, 2SLGBTQ+, disabled, poor, and/or otherwise on the margins.
The deadline for submissions for scholarly and creative submissions is on Oct. 1, 2022 and reviews on Jan. 15, 2023.
The EUC Research Update is compiled by the Research Office at EUC: Research Officer Rhoda Reyes, Associate Dean Philip Kelly, and Work-Study Student Claire Morson. Thanks to Paul Tran for the web design and development.
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