Welcome to the June 2023 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.
Calvin Lakhan on circular economy (and why the war on plastics may be misguided).
EUC, ESAC and UBC Centre for Climate Justice host a panel on 'Indigenous Knowing and Climate Futures' at Congress 2023.
Sue Chiblow on understanding Anishinaabek G'giikendaaswinmin (knowledge) on N'bi (water) in the Great Lakes Territory.
Harris Ali, Creighton Connolly, and Roger Keil on emerging infectious diseases on a planet of cities.
Accolades, Acknowledgements, and Awards
This Spring, York University conferred 10 honorary degrees to individuals who have made substantial contributions to society. One of the recipients is Nancy Archibald who was nominated by EUC and was presented her degree at the Faculty of Science convocation on June 22.
Archibald began her career as a public school teacher in Toronto and Niagara Falls, before starting a career at the CBC as a researcher working on documentaries for The Nature of Things. Her 35-year career as a filmmaker with CBC between 1964 to 1997 was marked by many firsts in the Canadian television world. She produced and directed over 40 science and nature documentaries and produced over 60 films for the multi award-winning series.
Notably, Archibald’s collaboration with York Professor John Livingston was instrumental to the founding of the Faculty of Environmental Studies, now the Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change since July 2020.
The EUC Online Seminar Series for 2023-24 will be organized by Lina Brand Correa and the MES Degrowth IDS group -- Kelly Gingrich, Elaine Howarth, Shahed Shafazand and Anna Stratton. The series will be titled "Aim high, Degrow: Dialogues on Degrowth."
The purpose of the series is to provide a space for deeper dialogues on degrowth, involving scholars from within and outside the degrowth world.
The topics include discussions about the origins of degrowth, decolonial and feminist approaches, implications of a degrowth future for cities, the role of the state and technology, and potential pathways for a degrowth transition.
Ria Ducusin, Lakshmi Aysola and Jane Lumumba have received the inaugural EUC Dissertation Field Research Award. The award is designed to support EUC PhD students whose dissertation research requires an extended absence from Toronto. Ria's PhD research in Geography (supervised by Philip Kelly) is titled "Political Ecologies of Flood Disasters in Urban Coastal Environments: A Case Study of Philippine Localities" and will examine how ecological conditions and socio-political relations create and shape flooding in urbanizing and industrializing coastal cities in the Philippines. Lakshmi's PhD research in Environmental Studies (supervised by Cate Sandilands) is titled "Embodied Ecologies, Environmental Thought, and Multi-Modal Perception as Praxis" and will involve intensive Butoh dance practice in Japan to formulate and theorize embodied experience for ecological thought. Jane's PhD research in Environmental Studies (supervised by Roger Keil) is titled "Informal Public Transportation Networks and the Decarbonization Transition" and will involve interviews with informal networks in the matutu transportation industry in Nairobi, Kenya.
EUC Geography graduate students -- Ria Ducusin, Nicki Pagaling, Romeo Quintero and Geneviève Minville -- all received awards from the Philippine Studies Group at the York Centre for Asian Research to conduct research, fieldwork and language training. Ria is studying how ecological conditions and socio-political relations create and shape flooding in urbanizing and industrializing coastal cities in the Philippines. Nicki's MA (Geography) research examines the labour market transitions to Personal Support Worker roles among Filipina women after completing Canada’s caregiver programs. Romeo's PhD (Geography) research examines the economic and livelihood practices of communities in Mindanao in the Philippines that have been displaced to resettlement sites in urban areas by a legacy of violence and environmental disasters in the region. Geneviève's award will support Filipino language studies in the Philippines, in preparation for her PhD fieldwork on issues of displacement relating to disasters and climate change.
Sarah Flicker and postdoc Katie MacEntee have published a new book on Cellphilm as a Participatory Visual Method Mobilizing Opportunities for Research, Teaching, and Social Change (Routledge, 2023). The volume celebrates cellphilm as an emerging participatory visual method which effectively and powerfully engenders learning and catalyzes social change. The authors demonstrate the emerging methodology of cellphilm and how it can be utilized from both pedagogical and methodological standpoints. By exploring cellphilm as a growing method in participatory visual research, the work fills an important gap in the fields of critically engaged community-based research, pedagogy and higher education for scholars and community activists.
Andil Gosine has been invited this June/July as a Research Fellow at the Wereld Museum in The Netherlands, a conglomerate of four museums on world cultures. He will be doing archival research on Indentureship in Suriname, toward producing various outcomes including potential exhibitions related to his artistic work in this area. Earlier on, he also gave a talk at the Melly, a contemporary arts museum in The Netherlands on the topic of visual arts and Indenture.
Jennifer Korosi received funding from the Government of Northwest Territories for a project assessing the impact of aerator installation on the chemical and biological recovery of Frame Lake. The project will investigate the influence of aerator installation on the recovery of the lake through regular sampling of water chemistry, phytoplankton and zooplankton across seasons. Frame Lake is located within the city of Yellowknife and has been impacted by decades of land use changes within its catchment as well as the deposition of contaminants from municipal waste and mining activities.
Calvin Lakhan received funding from the University of Florida for a study on consumer attitudes toward sustainable packaging terminology. The study attempts to gather data pertaining to consumer attitudes towards packaging design, waste, end of life material management, and sector specific terminology (i.e. circularity, zero-waste etc.). The findings from the survey will be used to identify barriers to participation (both infrastructural and behavioral) such that appropriate tools can be developed to encourage pro-environmental behaviors among target demographics.
Ute Lehrer visited Weimar, Germany, this June as an Erasmus+ Visiting Professor and representative of a special agreement between York University and Bauhaus University where she gave a talk on "High Rise Living, Amenities, and Public Space," conducted a workshop on urbanism and planning, and met with faculty, students and staff to expand links between the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at Bauhaus University and the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change at York University. The overall goal of the mobility program is to establish a strong partnership that will strengthen research and teaching between the two universities in the field of housing policy and urban planning.
Prateeksha Pathak (Geography PhD student) has received a YCAR Language Award to learn Dari and Pashtu over the summer to assist in her research fieldwork examining the material memory of wars in Afghanistan and the homemaking strategies of Afghan refugees in Canada. Prateeksha's research interests include material culture, visual arts, memory studies, geographies of violence and South Asian studies.
Rachel Pellegrino won the Canadian Association of Geographers (CAG) award as the top undergraduate Geography student at York University. The award recognizes outstanding students graduating in Geography honours/major programs at universities or colleges across Canada. Winners receive a complimentary membership in the CAG for the following year and, in addition, their names are announced at the Annual General Meeting and published in the CAG newsletter and website.
Chan Arun Pina and Esmond Lee (Geography PhD students) have both received a Professional Development Fund awards from the York Centre for Asian Research to present their research at scholarly meetings. Chan's doctoral research studies the on/off-campus geographies of student housing in two megacities — New Delhi and Mumbai, India. Esmond's research examines migration, class and capitalism, settler colonialism, and informal spatial (re)production in Toronto’s urban periphery. His artistic outputs examining these issues include public installations for Nuit Blanche Toronto and CONTACT Photography Festival. Recently, his installation “Gods Among Us” at Malvern Town Centre examined places of worship in Scarborough and was nominated for a 2022 Heritage Toronto Award for Public History.
Summer Solmes is this year’s EUC nominee for the Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award. The award recognizes students’ leadership at the University and their contributions to the growth, development and vitality of the York community. Summer has been an extraordinary contributor to the EUC Community during her time at York University. She has served as an EUC Peer Mentor, President of the EUC Student Association, EUC Dean’s Changemaker, York University President Ambassador, and EUC Student Director at the York University Federation of Students. Thank you, Summer, for your service and contributions to the EUC and York community, and congratulations and all the best wishes to the Class of 2023!
A warm welcome to our new visiting scholar Dr. Maryam Robati, an Assistant Professor at Islamic Azad University (IAU) in Iran, who will be with us from June 2023-May 2024. Hosted by Jose Etcheverry, she will continue her research on urban climate change solutions, risk management, and sustainable energy initiatives. Drs. Robati and Etcheverry will work together in the development of new strategies to develop local capacity at her university using the UNSDG/work-integrated learning techniques that have been developed through the Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada.
Publications and Reports
Amuchastegui, M., Birch, K., & Kaltenbrunner, W. (2023). The Intersections between Sociology and STS: A Big Data Approach. Sociological Perspectives, 0(0).
Chiblow, S. (2023). Reconciling our relationships with the Great Lakes. Journal of Great Lakes Research, Volume 49, Supplement 1,
2023, Pages S87-S92.
Gebresselassie, M. (2023). Wheelchair Users’ Perspective on Transportation Service Hailed Through Uber and Lyft Apps. Transportation Research Record, 2677(5), 1164–1177.
Hyndman, J. (2023). The Russian invasion of Ukraine and humanitarian nationalism in Canada, Canadian Foreign Policy Journal.
McGregor, D., Latulippe, N., Whitlow, R., Gansworth, L., McGregor, L., and Allen, S. (2023).Towards meaningful research and engagement: Indigenous knowledge systems and Great Lakes governance. Journal of Great Lakes Research, Volume 49, Supplement 1, Pages S22-S31.
MacKell, S., Elsayed, H. & Colla, S. (2023). Assessing the impacts of urban beehives on wild bees using individual, community, and population-level metrics. Urban Ecosystems.
Olusola, A., Ogunjo, S. & Olusegun, C. (2023). The role of teleconnections and solar activity on the discharge of tropical river systems within the Niger basin. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 195, 476.
Phelps, N. A., Maginn, P. J., & Keil, R. (2023). Centring the periphery in urban studies: Notes towards a research agenda on peripheral centralities. Urban Studies, 60(6), 1158–1176.
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. (2023). Urbanismos Cotidianos en la Ciudad Pandémica: Un Estudio Feminista Comparativo de las Experiencias De Género Del COVID-19 en Ciudades Sureñas. Social and Cultural Geography, 24(3-4), 582-599
Rotz, S., Xavier, A., & Robin, T. (2023). “It wasn’t built for us”: The possibility of Indigenous food sovereignty in settler colonial food bureaucracies. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 12(3), 93–110.
Savic, K. and Hoicka, C. (2023). Indigenous legal forms and governance structures in renewable energy: Assessing the role and perspectives of First Nations economic development corporations. Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 101, 103121.
Scott, D.N. and Tesaro, L. (2023). XII. 5 The regulation of toxics and environmental justice: the uneven distribution of pollution. Chemical Risk Governance, 12, 89. Edward Elgar Publishing. Elgar Encyclopedia of Environmental Law. Michael Faure (General Editor).
EUC Events and Media Coverage
Adjunct professor Bruce Campbell penned an article in The Conversation on what has changed since the 10th anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster. In this article, he reminds us that the window for a recurrence of a Lac-Mégantic-type disaster is still open and that if we are to minimize the risk of future disasters, stronger regulations must be put in place. Indeed giving up the fight is not an option despite the odds of transcending the power status quo are formidable.
Sheila Colla and postdoc Rachel Nalepa co-authored an article on Working towards a wild pollinator strategy for Canada in The Canadian Geographic. The authors share their knowledge on declining pollinator populations in Canada and notes that conservation of wild pollinators is crucial to ensure integrity of Canada's wild ecosystems, urban gardens and agricultural production. The authors provide a list of simple tasks that can help ensure protection of the wild bumblebee species, some of which includes elimination of pesticide use for cosmetic reasons and invasive plants in seed mixes. View video.
Listen to the EUC Changemakers podcasts as they talk with faculty members, staff and students on various topics of interest to the community. The Changemakers podcast is run by the Environmental and Urban Change Students' Association (EUCSA) dedicated to exploring the ideas and themes that the pervade the philosophy of the EUC. Hosted by CCO Ashraf Hutchcraft, CPO Kaylea Peres, and CFO Seth Pollak, the podcast aims to delve deeply into some of the most pressing ideas of our time: climate change, racism, climate justice, urban development, among other topics.
Join us for a free career fair and a chance to meet professionals in the renewable energy field. Open to everyone interested in the field of sustainable energy The event will be held on Thursday, June 29 at York University (Keele Campus), Health, Nursing & Environmental Studies (HNES) Building Student Lounge from 10am-2pm. The gathering will include a panel discussion and workshop on communicating about climate change. The event is hosted by Relay Education, in partnership with IREA, Rural Urban Learning Association, Toronto Black Farmers and Food Growers Collective, and Climate Solutions Park and York University.
Gail Fraser participated in the June meeting of North Durham Nature as one of the leaders of the "Bad Reputations: Cormorants and Conservation" discussion at the Lucy Maud Montgomery Church in Leaskdale. Fraser discussed the role of cormorants in the Great Lakes ecosystem to help better understand the contribution of cormorant ecology to biodiversity conservation. Fraser has worked on colonial nesting water birds for over two decades. Her master's work (North Dakota State University) was on the foraging ecology of Forster’s terns and PhD work (Memorial University of Newfoundland) was on the parental care of crested auklets.
Christina Hoicka co-authored an article on "How Indigenous economic development corporations (EDCs) can support a just, low-carbon energy transition" in The Conversation. In their research assessing the role and perspectives of First Nations EDCs, they offer new findings about the importance of Indigenous EDCs in supporting the development of renewable energy projects and how this links to socioeconomic benefits for communities. Accordingly, Indigenous communities can be involved in renewable energy projects in a number of ways and the benefits of revenues can be important to improving communities’ self-determination and economic reconciliation.
Roger Keil, along with co-investigators Xuefei Ren (Michigan State University) and Philip Harrison (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg), and Environmental Studies PhD student Hillary Birch, shared the preliminary results of their research on The Governance of Urban Inequality During and After COVID-19 in Toronto, Chicago and Johannesburg. In their research, a common set of experiences pointed to the coexistence of inequalities suffered by some communities – racialized, poor, precariously housed, employed in frontline jobs. The research also found innovative grassroots community responses in light of government failure to address these inequalities immediately during the crisis and beyond. The event was co-sponsored by The CITY Institute and Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research and supported by the Urban Studies Foundation.
In this episode, they preview the arc's major topics related to graduate student funding, research funding for faculty / lab groups, and several bigger picture topics. The podcasts wade through a wide variety of topics covered by the paleolimnology field.
In a CBC article on "What can we expect from clean hydrogen in Canada?", Mark Winfield commented on the role of hydrogen in the process of decarbonisation. He notes that the source from which hydrogen is derived can greatly affect the usefulness of the product due to potential trade-offs that are involved in the process of hydrogen production. One such trade-off that Winfield points out includes the use of electricity in the process of green hydrogen production. Winfield also contributed an article on Finding pathways out of Ontario’s hydro and climate mess in Policy Options.
Patricia Wood contributed an article titled "What Toronto mayoral candidates need to learn from abroad about financing transit" in The Toronto Star. In this article, she analyzes governmental strategies of securing funding for Toronto's public transit system. Wood describes transit governance approaches which are successful in other countries and provinces while pointing some of the blind spots of the one established in Toronto, including the lack of funds being directed to the expansion of the system. "We must move past the annual transit funding dance and devote our time and energy into building the regional vision of a cohesive, integrated system, rather than bickering about who should pay," Wood emphasizes.
The Partnership for Research with African Newcomers (PRAN) recently held a 3-day mid-year meeting at EUC/York with participation from various universities (Carleton, Dalhousie, McGill, Mount Royal, Queen's, University of Toronto) and community/non-profit organizations. Project investigator Philomena Okeke-Ihejirika (University of Alberta) presided over the meeting which discussed the project's launch and progress in its research engagements to date. York University co-applicants include Joseph Mensah, Valerie Preston, Elaine Coburn, and Gertrude Mianda. The project earlier held a conference and performance festival celebrating African diaspora in academia and the arts.
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