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Home » Research Updates » EUC Research Updates - February 2024

EUC Research Updates - February 2024

Welcome to the February 2024 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.

Research Spotlights

Joseph Mensah on getting to know Africa and its people: Confronting popular stereotypes.

Read the Research Spotlight

Vivien J. Bediako on homeland return visits by Ghanaian immigrants in Canada.

Read the Research Spotlight

Lord-Emmanuel Achidago & Rick Bello on ecosystem productivity responses in Bruce Peninsula over the past 20 years.

Read the Research Spotlight

Accolades, Appointments and Acknowledgements

Congratulations to Hillary Birch and Ria Jhoanna Ducusin on their IDRC International Doctoral Awards. The award aims to  strengthen the capacities of emerging researchers at Canadian universities, growing the cohort of researchers that are able to design, lead and carry out high quality research that contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals and specific development outcome areas of particular interest to IDRC driving global change.

Hillary Birch

Hillary Birch is a PhD candidate at York University. Her doctoral research explores how projects of global health intersect with processes of urbanization, shaping flows of water in a city and changing its quality. Her doctoral project focuses on the complexities and contradictions of efforts by global health actors to improve water quality in Lusaka, Zambia, where rapid urbanization and climate change leave many urban residents facing serious health consequences associated with poor sanitary conditions. Her research aims to inform how global health projects in water and sanitation can contribute to more sustainable urban futures by better supporting disease outbreak preparedness and the delivery of good quality drinking water for all.

Ria Jhoanna Ducusin

Ria Jhoanna Ducusin is a PhD candidate at York University. Her doctoral research in geography examines how ecological conditions and socio-political relations create and shape flooding in coastal cities, and the ways in which intersectional axes of gender and class shape differential impacts of flood and food system risks.

Informed by a political economy of local urbanization and feminist political ecology scholarship, her research aims to strengthen our understanding of the causes, experiences and mitigation of flood disasters in rapidly urbanizing and industrializing coastal cities in the Philippines, with a case study in Bacoor City, Cavite.

Loren March

Loren March is our new SSHRC postdoctoral fellow at EUC. They are a PhD graduate in Human Geography at University of Toronto and MES graduate at York University with a focus on Critical Urban Theory and Planning. Their work focuses broadly on queer urban ecologies, examining shifting affective relations with more-than-human spaces amidst processes of parks-led redevelopment and environmental gentrification in Toronto.

Cate Sandilands is their postdoc supervisor for their research on queer pandemic ecologies in Toronto. Ute Lehrer served as their master's supervisor for their MES paper on Ephemeral Geographies of DIY Making Space in Toronto’s Creative City (2018).

March has co-published with MES alumna and now UofT Associate Professor Susannah Bunce on Placing the more-than-human in environmental gentrification (2022). Also with Lehrer, they have co-published a planning article on Common Areas, Common Causes: Public Space in High‐Rise Buildings during COVID‐19 (2022). They are also co-editor of the book Critical Dialogues of Urban Governance, Development and Activism: London and Toronto (2020).

Kudos to Alicia Richins and Joanne Huy on their keynote addresses to the successfully concluded Change Your World conference that aims to inspire youth in Ontario to be the next generation of environmentally active citizens. High school students and their teachers attend the one-day conference bringing youth and community organizations from across Ontario to collaborate and learn how to make sustainable and equitable change in our world.

Alicia M. Richins

Alicia M. Richins is an MES graduate now working as a Sustainable Impact Strategist, who fiercely champions climate justice and hopeful futures. With extensive experience in facilitation, sustainability, impact measurement and standards development, she helps forward-thinking organizations to assess, amplify and embed their desired social and environmental impact, using the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a guiding framework. She also serves as Director of Strategy and Governance for Leading Change Canada, an organization focused on activating youth sustainability leadership for the transition to a low carbon economy within a generation. As a consultant-facilitator, she helps organizations and community groups to develop impact strategies and systems, and to unpack the intersecting issues of climate, social and economic justice using the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a guiding framework. Her work is underscored by her active engagement in the climate movement in Canada and across the Caribbean, as well as her education and research in environmental studies, international development, urban planning and ecological economics. Her MES paper discussed Prospects for Prosperity in the Caribbean: A vision and tool for planning and policymaking (2018).

Joanne Huy

Joanne Huy is a community engagement professional with a passion for transforming lives and communities through transformative learning experiences and meaningful engagement. She is dedicated to empowering others as the drivers of change and leaders of tomorrow and brings forth experience in youth engagement, sustainability education, program design, stakeholder relationships, and leadership development. Currently working in EUC alumni relations, she helps alumni and students leverage their networks and enjoys fostering collaboration and cultivating meaningful engagement that contributes to both student and alumni success through networking, mentorship, recruitment and outreach.

EUC faculty, staff and students

An active member of the Community Climate Council, she is also a member of the board of directors for the Jane and Finch Center. Joanne holds a Master's in Leadership and Community Engagement and a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from York University. In 2017, she was featured in The Kit as one of ‘Five Toronto Activists On Making Their Voices Heard’.

Kudos likewise to Lily Piccone, Brittany Giglio, Andrea Abello as well as to the EUC staff and student volunteers who contributed to the success of the event.

EUC Interim Dean Philip Kelly with Joanne Huy and Alicia Richins

EUC Interim Dean Philip Kelly gave the welcome and closing remarks, encouraged teachers, staff and students to make positive change in their respective schools and environments, as well as thanked all the participants for contributing their time and efforts in making the event a success.

Alexander Murray

It is with much sadness that we share the news that Faculty of Environmental Studies Professor Emeritus Alexander Murray passed away this February. Murray co-founded the Department of Urban Studies and the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. He was an early adopter of finding solutions to some of society's greatest issues, from homelessness to food security. He gave of his time, skill and experience in leadership roles with the Toronto Chapter of the Community Planning Association of Canada, the National Housing Subcommittee of the Canadian Council on Social Development, Grey County's Grey Association for Better Planning, the Canadian Council on Human Resources in Environmental Industries and the Toronto Food Policy Council. In 2010, Alex was honoured by the City of Toronto's naming of the Alex Murray Parkette for his four-decade contributions to the South Rosedale Ratepayers Association where he and his wife lived since 1963. A celebration of life for Alex will be held in the spring of 2024 (Source: The Globe and Mail).

Publications and Reports

Aguiar, R., Keil, R.., and Wiktorowicz, M. (2024). The urban political ecology of antimicrobial resistance: A critical lens on integrative governance, Social Science & Medicine, 116689.

Biglieri, S. and Keil, R. (2024). Desynchronized Infrastructures of Care: Suburban Imaginaries Re-Examined in Infrastructural Times: Temporality and the Making of Global Urban Worlds, edited by Jean-Paul D. Addie, Michael R. Glass and Jen Nelles. Bristol University Press.

Filion, P., Keil, R. and Collens, M. (2024). Negotiating Multiculturalism, Neoliberalism, and Metropolitan Intensification: Suburban Governance in Toronto in Politics of the Periphery: Governing Global Suburbia,
edited by Pierre Hamel. University of Toronto Press.

Desai, S. and Thornley, I. (2024). “Greenwashing the Ring of Fire: Indigenous Jurisidction and Gaps in the EV Battery Supply Chain.” Infrastructure Beyond Extractivism. Read the Executive Summary.

Hernandez Cervantes, A. and Zalik, A. (2024). "Labour/Nature in Late Capitalist Mexico" in K. Ciupa and J. Webber (eds) The Labor of Extraction in Latin America. Rowman and Littlefield.

Kapoor, I. (2024). Rethinking Development Politics. Rethinking Political Science and International Studies series. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Keil, R. (2024). IJURR Book Review - Li Zhang 2021: The Origins of COVID-19: China and Global Capitalism. Stanford, CA: Stanford Briefs.

Kipfer, S. and L. Sotomayor (2024). Housing beyond land rent?: A critique of market housing solutionism, Radical Housing Journal, 6(1), pp. 33-61.

Komljenovic, J., Sellar, S., Birch, K. and Hansen, M. (2023). Assetisation of higher education's digital disruption in World Yearbook of Education, 1st Ed., Routledge.

Rady, F. and Sotomayor, L. (2024). Barred and Banished: Encampment Evictions, Public Space, and Permanent Displaceability in Toronto. Antipode.

Ray, B. and Preston, V. (2024). Toronto’s Housing Crisis: When Immigration and Housing Policies Don’t Align. BMRC-IRMU Policy Preview.

Reid, A.J., McGregor, D.A., Menzies, A.K. et al. (2024). Ecological research ‘in a good way’ means ethical and equitable relationships with Indigenous Peoples and Lands. Nature Ecology and Evolution. January.

Ross, T., Thiemann, G., et al. (2024). Telemetry without collars: performance of fur- and ear-mounted satellite tags for evaluating the movement and behaviour of polar bears, Pre-print (Version 1) available at Research Square.

Rotz, S. Gelis, A., Barndt, D. and Baker, L. (2024). Earth to tables legacies: Multimedia food conversations across generations and cultures. Agriculture and Human Values.

Rouf, T. (2024). The evolution of the third sector during the COVID-19 pandemic: Next generation diasporic civic organizations (DCOs) among Bangladeshis in Toronto, Journal of Race, Ethnicity and the City.

EUC Events and Media Coverage

Upcoming Events

Dr. David V.J. Bell (1944-2017)

On Wednesday, February 28, 7pm, the 5th Annual Dr. David V.J. Bell Memorial Lecture on "How to be hopeful in a world of doom: The Practice of Evidence-Based Hope" will be held featuring Dr. Elin Kelsey, an award-winning author, speaker and thought-leader for the evidence-based hope and climate justice solutions movement.

Kelsey’s influence can be seen through the popularity of her book, Hope Matters: Why Changing the Way We Think Is Critical For Solving The Environmental Crisis (2020) and in the hopeful, solutions-focus of her clients, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and other powerful institutions where she has served as a visiting fellow including the Rachel Carson Center for the Environment and Society, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Kone Foundation, the Salish Sea Institute, the Cairns Institute and Stanford University. In addition, she co-created the viral social media campaign #OceanOptimism and is currently leading intergenerational collaborations with climate influencers to make evidence-based hope more shareable online.

David V.J. Bell was a Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Environmental Studies, and served as Dean of the Faculty from 1992-1996.

EUC's climate seminar with renowned author and journalist, P. Sainath

On Thursday, March 7, 3-5pm, join us for an EUC-YCAR climate seminar with renowned author and editor, P. Sainath who will tackle the question: Do we need a new journalism in the era of corporate media? Telling the stories of climate, farm distress, inequality and justice. Register here. Please note that the in person location of this talk may shift, so please check on Eventbrite before attending.

YCAR's Climate Dystopias in Asia Series with P. Sainath

P. Sainath is the founder-editor of the People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI). He has served as a journalist, reporter, rural affairs editor, and deputy chief editor of periodicals like The Hindu, Blitz, and The Daily. He has won over 60 national and international awards including the Fukuoka Grand Prize (2021), the World Media Summit Award (2014), the Ramon Magsaysay Award (2007), Amnesty International’s Global Human Rights Reporting Prize, and the Ramnath Goenka award. His book Everybody Loves a Good Drought (1996) is now in its 60th reprint. The Last Heroes: Foot Soldiers of Indian Freedom (2022), his latest publication, is already in its 5th reprint in under a year.

In a related event on Friday, March 8, 10:30am-12:30pm, P. Sainath will discuss his book The Last Heroes: Foot Soldiers of Indian Freedom where he travelled to the rural villages in India to talk to ordinary people in the last years of their lives who fought for Indian Independence.

This work is a window onto the theme of this discussion: how to conduct historical research about the extraordinary actions of unknown people. EUC Professor Justin Podur will serve as discussant. Register here. Please note that the in person location of this talk may shift, so please check on Eventbrite before attending.

An exhibition walk-though with artists Camal Pirbhai and Camille Turner (Credit: University of Waterloo).

From January 11-March 9, Camille Turner and Camal Pirbhai have a new exhibition called Unearth which includes recent photo-based artworks House of Bâby (2021) and Rocks (2021–2023). These works explore the passage of time and memory, in the process of excavating the hidden history of people of colour in Canada. House of Bâby is a large lenticular image portraying eighteen Black and Indigenous people claimed as property by the prominent Bâby family of Windsor, Detroit and Toronto. Rocks stages an encounter between humans and primordial beings that envelop all they encounter during their long, slow transition cycles.

Following Camal & Camille’s earlier body of work Wanted (2017), Rocks similarly developed out of Turner’s Afronautic Research Lab, in this case her research on slave ships constructed on Canada’s eastern seaboard.

The Plural of He by Andil Gosine

From March 15-July 21, Andil Gosine will exhibit his third curatorial project titled "The Plural of He" at Leslie Lohman Museum of Art in New York, following on his very successful "everything slackens" and "Kelly Sinnapah Mary" exhibits! Both were notable "top picks" and widely critically acclaimed shows. He also recently curated "Wendy Nanan" at the Art Museum of the Americas in DC, as featured in Caribbean Beat.

Through newly commissioned works by five artists, "The Plural of He" explores the life and work of Colin Robinson (1961–2021), the Trinidadian American poet, critic, and unsung hero of social and sexual liberation movements in New York, the Caribbean, and the world. Displayed alongside archival objects, the commissioned works draw on records of Robinson’s personal history, from carnival costumes and calypso music to love letters and agitprop. Lauded as a godfather of the LGBTQIA+ movement by fellow activists, Robinson is remembered richly through his archives, which shine a light on his complicated character. Each of the commissioned works engages a specific part of the archives to reveal different dimensions of his person. For further reading, see Trinidad & Tobago Newsday .

The curation is part of Prof. Gosine's SSHRC project and features EUC PhD student Natalie Wood and MES alumna Amber Williams-King.

EUC Degrowth Seminar Series, Winter 2024.

On Friday, March 22, 12:30-1:30pm, Session 5 of EUC's Degrowth Seminar Series will focus on Degrowth and the State. Discussion will focus on the role of the state in a degrowth future, that is, what is the balance that degrowth proposes between localism and other levels of governance, including nation states and the international level?

Speakers include Milena Buchs, Professor of Sustainable Welfare at the Sustainability Research Institute, University of Leeds and Max Koch, Professor of Social Policy and Sustainability at Lund University to be moderated by EUC Professor Stefan Kipfer.

In case you missed Sessions 1-4, you can watch (or re-watch) them on EUC's Seminar Series webpage or EUC's YouTube Channel.

Recent Events

Brynhildur Davíðsdóttir on Iceland, energy transitions and climate change

The Ecological Footprint Initiative hosted a multi-day visit from Professor Brynhildur Davíðsdóttir from the University of Iceland.  University of Iceland is a key partner in the York EUC-led partnership called International Ecological Footprint Learning Lab.  Her visit included meeting with EUC faculty and staff and students and delivering a seminar “Punching above its weight? Iceland, energy transitions and climate change”.  During her visit, the professor worked with the partnership’s director Peter Victor and co-directors Tarmo Remmel and Eric Miller to activate the new governance structure of the project and to elaborate on the project’s research agenda with (EUC) project staff Peri Dworatzek and Kiona Lo.  These staff and directors also worked with Professor Davíðsdóttir to host the project’s first workshop for non-academic collaborators to strategize on the roles that they will play in the experiential education of students in the project.

SEI study on post-consumer management of EV batteries

The Faculty's Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI) conducted a webinar on Post-Consumer Management of EV Batteries - Regulatory Regimes in Canada, the US and The European Union with Prof. Mark Winfield (SEI Co-Chair), Jonathan Myers (MES/JD Graduate) and Sumeet Sooch, MES JD student with Laura Tanguay, EUC PhD candidate as host.

Their groundbreaking study examined the end-of-life EV battery management regimes in Ontario, Quebec, BC, California and the EU. The study found that regulatory frameworks for end-of-life EV batteries are non-existent in North America. In contrast end-of-life EV batteries have been managed under a European Union directive for nearly twenty years. Notably, a new, strengthened EU regulation was adopted in June 2023, based on the principle of extended producer responsibility, and materials recovery and recycling, that Canada can emulate.

Winfield also recently penned an op-ed article on The folly of Ontario’s nuclear power play in The Globe and Mail underscoring that "while nuclear energy may offer a low-carbon energy source, it fails in virtually every other dimension of sustainability: costs; the production of high-volume, toxic and radioactive waste streams; and security, catastrophic accident and weapons proliferation risks that simply do not exist in relation to other energy technologies."

Navigating Black Stories within the Workforce

Every year in February, Black History Month is a catalyst for ongoing efforts to enact meaningful change throughout the year, a reminder of the past and present injustices.

It is also opportunity to centre the experiences and invaluable contributions of Black individuals and their communities. In commemoration of Black History Month at York, EUC in collaboration with Black Excellence at York University held a panel discussion on Navigating Black Stories within the Workforce.

The event featured Muna-Udbi Abdulkadir Ali, assistant professor, EUC; Masani Montague, MES ’00, managing director, Masani Productions; and Miquela (Kayla) Jones, second-year interdisciplinary social science student. The panel explored the empowering theme of Black Voices and the panelists shared their experiences, insights, and strategies for overcoming challenges and thriving in school/workplace environments.

Media Coverage

Photo: darryl dyck/the canadian press

Emile Baril and Steven Tufts penned an opinion article entitled Gig-work platforms are destructive and exploitative – something must be done in The Globe and Mail. They noted that while international students and other immigrants are vital to the growing "gig" and platform economies of rich countries, their employment in low-wage, short-term gig jobs (enabled by platforms such as Uber and Skip the Dishes) has resulted in the platformization of migration as immigrants integrate into the labour market. They posed the challenge of deplatforming immigrant labour market integration and creating better jobs as the long-term goal and that government should support the development of local cooperative platforms jointly owned and administered by those providing these consumer services.

Colla & Nalepa (2023).

Sheila Colla and Rachel Nalepa's research report on Conserving Canada's Wild Pollinators was highlighted in St. Albert Gazette. In this report, the authors provided national strategy recommendations to protect pollinators in light of the climate crisis.

Reducing pathogens in managed populations and limiting spillover between managed and wild populations are two of the main recommendations, and the path to achieving this accordingly could be fairly straight forward: regulate all livestock species the way we already do honey bees.

Ilan Kapoor talked about the socioeconomic and psychoanalytic underpinnings of envy on BBC Radio 3’s program, “Seven Deadly Psychologies” (starting at 14:07).

He also penned an article in Shepperd about the best books that explain politics using a psychoanalytic lens. Accordingly, psychoanalysis provides a key insight into the restlessness of global capitalist system--its unconscious “drive," a fundamental compulsion to never stay satisfied, to always move from object to object and crisis to crisis--that helps explain why capital accumulation continues unabated, to the point of endangering life on this planet.

In a guest post at the Urban Studies Foundation, Roger Keil, Xuefei Ren, and Philip Harrison discussed their research on the nexus between vulnerabilities, urban governance, and COVID-19, which was supported by a Pandemics and Cities grant from the USF.

Results of the study showed that COVID-19 pandemic was a crisis that revealed the limitations of municipal boundaries and hidden geographies. The pandemic also highly revealed government forms and capacities and relationships between government and civil society.

Like Chicago, and unlike Johannesburg, Toronto municipal governments played a strong role in managing the pandemic, establishing a ‘war-time cabinet’ to coordinate responses and “tables” among third-sector welfare providers to manage the crisis effectively.

Syrus Marcus Ware: Photo by CBC’s The Big Sex Talk

Syrus Marcus Ware (EUC PhD alumnus) recently delivered a talk on Making the Revolution Irresistible: Black, Trans, and Disabled World Making Through Speculative Fiction and Media Studies at the Cinema Studies Institute at the University of Toronto.

Imagining a world where racialized people have survived the “Black death spectacle” writ large on the nightly news; survived the catastrophic impact of the Anthropocene; and survived the crushing effects of white supremacy, Ware draws on the shared language of speculative fiction and political activism to transform the gallery space into a portal through which the next generation of racialized activists communicate with us, their ancestors, and offer us insights into the future. A Vanier scholar, visual artist, activist, curator, and educator, Syrus is now an Assistant Professor at the School of the Arts, McMaster University.

Peter Vandergeest, Carli Melo and UOttawa's Melissa Marschke penned an article titled Canada lags behind on efforts to address human rights abuses in seafood supply chains in The Conversation. They observed that "Canada is falling behind in addressing labour abuse and sustainability in seafood supply chains."

To address these shortcomings, they noted that Canada needs human rights and environmental due diligence legislation — policy that mandates Canadian companies to substantially address human rights abuses and environmental harm in their supply chains.

Accordingly, by taking the necessary legislative steps, Canada can play a pivotal role in fostering ethical and sustainable practices in its seafood supply chains, ensuring the well-being of workers and the environment.

Visit their Work at Sea project for more info on labour relations in the global fishing industry.

Maloca Makings: Soils & Seeds - March 1, 2024, All Day

CRS/Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Seminar: The constitutional challenge relating to the underfunding of housing for refugees - March 5, 2024, 1-2:30pm

EUC-YCAR Climate Seminar Series: Telling the stories of climate, farm distress, inequality and justice - March 7, 2024, 3-5pm, HNES 140

YCAR-EUC Oral History of Unsung Heroes: A Discussion of the Book The Last Heroes: Foot Soldiers of Indian Freedom - March 8, 10:30-12:30pm, Room 280N, York Lanes, Keele Campus York University

Grad Webinar: Navigating A Graduate Degree with Dean MacLachlan - March 12, 2024, 12-1pm, Zoom webinar

Grad Webinar: Demystifying Graduate Funding - March 13, 2024, 12-1pm, Zoom webinar

Y-EMERGE: Intersecting injustices and competing narratives for climate change​ - March 21, 2024, 12,1-pm, Zoom webinar

EUC Seminar Series - Degrowth and the State - March 22, 2024, 12:30-1:30pm

SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant - March 15, 2024

SSHRC Impact Awards - April 1, 2024

NSERC Idea to Innovation Grant - April 2, 2024

CIHR Operating Grant : Network Environment for Indigenous Health Research Centre - Development Grant - April 3, 2024

NSERC Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) - May 1, 2024 (LOI)

SSHRC Connection Grant - May 1, 2024

CIHR Fellowship : Human Frontier Science Program - May 14, 2024

SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant - June 15, 2024

NSERC Discovery Grant - August 1, 2024 (NOI)

CANSSI Ontario Data Access Grants - Rolling deadline

NSERC Alliance Grants - No deadline

NSERC Alliance International - No deadline

NSERC Alliance - MITACS Accelerate - No deadline

NSERC Alliance Quantum Grants - Strengthening Canada's quantum research and innovation capacity - applications accepted until October 2023.

Quebec Research Support Program - Applications must be submitted at least 60 business days before the project or activity is scheduled to begin.

For more info, do check the integrated calendar of agency and interagency funding opportunities from all three federal research funding agencies and the Canada Foundation for Innovation, including agency-specific and jointly administered programs.

Important note: Please check eligibility criteria and requirements before you apply. Also note that these are agency deadlines which vary from your respective institutional deadlines for internal review, endorsement, and approval.

CIHR News  - Recipients of the 2023 Personnel Awards for Black Scholars

NSERC News  - International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2024

SSHRC News -  Exploring Freedom through Black Expressive Culture

GoC News - February is Black History Month

University Affairs – The Tri-Councils have a carbon offset policy. Should they?

University World News - Higher education faces a more fragile and contested future

YFile News - Your voice, York’s future: Sustainability Strategy consultations continue

Contact Us

The EUC Research Update is compiled by the Research Office at EUC: Associate Dean Research, Graduate & Global Affairs (Interim) Carlota McAllister, Research Officer Rhoda Reyes, and Work-Study Students Xinyu Mei and Lorraine Wong. Thanks to Paul Tran for the web design and development.

We welcome the opportunity to pass along research-related information and achievements from our whole community - faculty, postdocs, visiting scholars, students, and retirees.

News for future updates can be submitted using the EUC Kudos and News form, circulated monthly. Or, send your news directly to:

If you are not on the EUC community listserves, but would like to receive this Research Update each month, send an email to

Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change (EUC)

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