Welcome to the November/December 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.
Cate Sandilands on Plantasmagoria: Botanical encounters in the (M)Anthropocene.
Eric Miller, Apeksha, Sophie Angoh and Elizabeth Holloway on measuring York's carbon and ecological footprints.
Patricia Silva Gomes on neocolonial critical urban theory of the neoliberal urban network in Brazil's central-western cerrado.
Phyllis Novak and Charlotte Lombardo on Making With Place: Community arts as critical pedagogies of place.
Accolades, Appointments and Awards
York University is accelerating its timeline and aiming to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040. To support this ambition, York recently released its own comprehensive emissions data and ecological footprint assessment from EUC's Ecological Footprint Initiative – a group of York’s scholars, students, researchers and collaborating organizations working together to advance the measurement of ecological footprint and biocapacity – making it the first Canadian institution to do so. Its first assessment of Scope 1+2+3 emissions and Ecological Footprint, has been produced by EFI Director Eric Miller with MES alumni Apeksha, Sophie Angoh and Elizabeth Holloway. The comprehensive assessment includes York’s direct emissions from generating its own electricity and heat, and the emissions embodied in York’s capital expenses and procurement including air travel, and emissions attributed to commuting by faculty and staff and students. A summary of results complements a longer technical report with data sourced from a relational database that can inform York’s sustainability strategy.
Alison Bain delivered a keynote lecture titled Beyond "heteronormative 'impossibility'": Imprinting metropolitan peripheries through queer suburban placemaking at the University of Geneva's "Queer imprints in the city/Traces queer dans la ville" conference this November. Her presentation approached placemaking as an ongoing, complex, and localized process of everyday practices that involve the (re)distribution of power, interaction, and representation between divergently positioned stakeholders. With its unsettling subversions, queer suburban placemaking accordingly involves alternate and unsanctioned planning, policy, infrastructure, and public space interventions that collide with the specificities and stigmatizations of places designed for heteropatriarchal nuclear family reproduction.
Calvin Lakhan received an Environment and Climate Change Canada award for his research on the Development of an Open Data Standard on Plastics. The project will develop an open data standard for plastics in areas such as packaging, electronics, agriculture, automotive, construction, white goods and textiles, to provide a common framework for recording and sharing data. The open data standard is expected to improve the accuracy and reliability of information about these material and product categories, and to promote transparency and accountability across multiple sectors and industries. By providing a common framework for sharing data about these products/materials, the project will facilitate collaboration and knowledge-sharing among researchers, designers, and manufacturers. Lakhan and Mark Winfield are co-investigators in the Waste Wiki project.
Joanna Chin received the EUC PhD Dissertation Field Research Award for her research on The Commons Worlds of Women and Birds. Her research aims to understand the relational ethics that are enacted between women and birds in the practices of birdwatching. The study focuses on the relationships enacted between women and birds in the everyday practices of birdwatching to inform practices of non-formal environmental education. A Common Worlds approach will be used to understand these encounters in the daily practices of birdwatching and multispecies ethnography will be employed to understand the embodied relationship between women and birds.
MES alumna Vivian Guido's film Turning Tides: Sustainability Measures for Shark Conservation was selected to be shown at several events throughout COP28: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The film follows the 10 targets of SDG14: Life Below Water and utilizes information and studies to determine current areas of success and areas of improvement in marine conservation. Using sharks as an indicator for ocean health, Turning Tides is a documentary that informs and influences viewers on how climate change impacts the environment of sharks, while also affecting the health of global oceans and communities. Guido's MES paper on the topic was supervised by Mark Terry and Leesa Fawcett.
Mark Terry's ongoing research project on the Youth Climate Report is this year's sponsor of the Regional Conference of Youth's annual meeting for YOUNGO delegates in North America. He delivered the opening address in October and discussed various filmmaking programs for Indigenous youth on six continents and how all young people can participate and "speak youth to power". He recently presented at Dahdaleh's Planetary Heath Film Lab and showcased several films presented at this year's UN climate summit, COP28, from November 30-December 12 in Dubai.
Nastassia Pratt is one of CERLAC's Michael Baptista Essay Prize Awardees in 2023. Pratt's major paper on Placemaking as a Public Space Planning Tool in New Providence, Bahamas critically investigated the emergence of tourism development as strategy and the instrumentalization of the industry for planning public space.
Pratt's research rendered the public life of Potter’s Cay and provided a touchstone for public space planning in The Bahamas that centers locals in creating a more vibrant and just public realm. The Michael Baptista Essay Prize is awarded annually to both a graduate and an undergraduate student at York University in recognition of their outstanding scholarly essay of relevance to the area of Latin American and Caribbean Studies from the humanities, social science, business or legal perspective.
Christina Nitsis is the new project manager of The International Ecological Footprint Learning Lab (IEFLL): Training, research and novel applications. This project is funded by a SSHRC Partnership Grant, directed by EUC’s Peter Victor and co-directors Tarmo Remmel and Eric Miller, and with co-directors Brynhildur Davíðsdóttir at the University of Iceland, Jenny Moore at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and David Lin at the Global Footprint Network. Nitsis is also managing the York-supported interdisciplinary research cluster “Geomatics for analyzing climate change effects on ecosystems and human populations” directed by Tarmo Remmel. Nitsis completed her Master's of Education at the University of Toronto, specializing in anti-racist and anti-colonial pedagogies. She also completed her master's thesis in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto.
Patricia Silva Gomes is an EUC visiting scholar from November 2023 to March 2024. She is working with Roger Keil on her research focusing on the interiorization of the urban network in Brazil's Cerrado biome, which is a vast region experiencing rapid growth and urbanisation due to the expansion of the mechanised agricultural frontier. Her study critically explores the consequences of the urbanisation process, considering its impacts on rural areas in terms of urban, environmental, and social aspects.
Congratulations to our students who received Ontario and Tri-Council graduate awards in 2023/24!
- Randelle Adano - Geography MSc, Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Paleolimnological study of Chironomidae (Diptera) assemblage responses to past mining and hydroelectric projects in Lake Nipigon, Northwestern Ontario
- Anthony William - MES, Ontario Graduate Scholarship
- Miranda Black - ES PhD, Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Haudenosaunee Resistance and a History of Infrastructure Expansion Projects in Canada and the US
- Maya Campo - Geography MA, SSHRC CGSM, Masculinity and Gig Work: A case of rideshare workers in Toronto Gig economy
- Tina-Nadia Chambers - ES PhD, Ontario Graduate Scholarship, The implications of the design and construction of two prisons for individuals facing/with firearm-related charges in Toronto Canada
- Sayeh Dastgheib-Beheshti - ES PhD, Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Industrial Design Pedagogy for Social Wellbeing
- Navjot Dhaliwal - Geography PhD, OGS-QEII, Water Governance in Lake Nipigon: Re-imagining the Ecosystem Approach to Incorporate Western Science and Indigenous Knowledge
- Nilanjana Ganguli – ES PhD, Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Modelling Gendered Impacts of Climate Change in the Lake Chilwa Basin, Malawi
- Rebecca Gasman – Geography PhD, Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Increasing Incidence of Harmful Cyanobacteria Blooms in Oligotrophic Waters in the Subarctic and Central Ontario
- Amadeusz Kazubowski-Houston - MES, SSHRC CGSM, Decolonial Conservation: Blueprint from Elgin County conservation
- Esmond Lee - Geography PhD, OGS-QEII, Elusive Territories: Tactical Spatial Vocabularies of Racialized Suburbs in Toronto
- Elijah Leotaud - MES, SSHRC CGSM, Planning for Informal Sports Spaces in Toronto
- Marsya Maharani - ES PhD, SSHRC CGSD, Art Collectives as a Pathway for Systemic Change from the Ground Up
- Malivel Garance - ES PhD, Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Repairing the Future? Intergenerational Environmental Justice in Youth Education
- Genevieve Minville - Geography PhD, SSHRC Fellowship, A feminist political ecology of climate justice in fishing communities of the Philippines
- Claire O'Hagan – Geography MSc, Ontario Graduate Scholarship, A paleolimnological study of newly formed thaw slumps in the Mackenzie Delta region, Northwest Territories, Canada
- Grace Pawliw-Fry - Geography MA, Ontario Graduate Scholarship
- Nikki Pagaling – Geography MA, SSHRC CGSM, From Caregiver to Personal Support Worker: Labour Market Segmentation Among Filipina Women in the Greater Toronto Area
- Alex Quesnel – Geography PhD, SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, Spaces of Blockchain Populism: Cryptocurrency Mining in Canada
- Jacob Roberts - Geography MA, SSHRC CGSM, Staging an Olympic Myth: Democracy and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics Political Economy
- Cole Swanson – ES PhD, SSHRC Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, The Devil Bird Matters: Eco-Justice Through Multispecies Art Practice on the Leslie Spit Cormorant Colony
- Baillie Weiderick – Geography MSc, NSERC CGSM Protected Area Management in Toronto Using Spatial Analysis of Cormorant and Night-Heron Colonies
- Thomas Wu – Geography MSc, NSERC CGSM, Reconstructing mercury trends over the past 150 years in deep lakes in the Dehcho region, Northwest Territories
We also congratulate our PhD researchers who completed their programs in Environmental Studies and Geography!
PhD in Environmental Studies
- Balikisu Osman - Security in Uncertainty: Analysis of Climate Risks and Household Response to Food Insecurity in Northern Ghana, West Africa. Supervisor: Ellie Perkins.
- Alexandra Gelis - Migrant Plants: Arts-Based Inquiry into Plant-Human Relations. Supervisor: Deborah Barndt.
- Shelley O'Brien - Ballads for Re-membering. Supervisor: Leesa Fawcett.
- David Mallery - The Ontopolitics of Complexity: Toward Agonistic Democracy and Ecological Political Economy. Supervisor: Martin Bunch.
- Stuart Schussler - Making Social Movement: The reproductive Labour of Organizing form Chiapas to Chicago and Beyond. Supervisor: Stefan Kipfer.
- Nyssa Van Vierssen Trip - Applying Mixed Methodologies to Inform Urban Conservation: Policy, Knowledge and Behaviour at the Interface of Nature and Society. Supervisor: Dawn Bazely.
- Nadha Hassen - Park Perceptions and Racialized Realities: Visualizing and Centering the Experiences of Racialized People in Toronto's Public Greenspaces. Supervisor: Sarah Flicker.
- Clara Fraser - Truth and Reconciliation at the Bay: Environmental Conservation Discourse, Contested Notions of Human-Creation Relations in Mnidoo Gaamii/Georgian Bay, and Indigenous-Cottager Relations. Supervisor: Liette Gilbert.
- Charlotte Lombardo - Making with Place: Youth Community Arts Experiments and Theories of Change. Supervisor: Sarah Flicker.
PhD in Geography
- Kimberly Roberts - (Re)making resource frontiers through everyday violence and social movements in the uplands of mainland Southeast Asia. Supervisor: Peter Vandergeest.
- Biftu Yousuf - Invisibilized Providers: The Role of Racialized Diasporas in Refugee Sponsorship. Supervisor: Jennifer Hyndman.
- Chan Arun-Pina - Trans imaging of non-normative homes: the critical geographies of higher education- LGBTQ+ student housing in Delhi and Mumbai, India. Supervisor: Alison Bain.
Publications and Reports
Bain, A. and Podmore, J.A. Eds. (2023). The Cultural Infrastructure of Cities. Agenda Publishing.
Bain, A., & Podmore, J. (2023). Queer(ing) Urban Planning and Municipal Governance. Urban Planning, 8(2), 145-149.
Birch, K. (2023). Data Enclaves. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Birch, K. (2023) Assetization as a mode of techno-economic governance: Knowledge, education and personal data in the UN's System of National Accounts. Economy and Society. Taylor and Francis Online.
Das, R. (2023). Marxism and revisionism in the world today. Capital & Class, 47(3), 383-406.
Duker, P., Vandergeest, P. and Klanarongchao, S. (2023). Ontological Politics and Conservation in Thailand: Communities Making Rivers and Fish Matter. Conservation and Society.
Keil, R. (2024). Covid, Contagion and Comparative Urban Research. In The Routledge Handbook of Comparative Global Urban Studies. 1st Ed. Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group.
Koleth, E., L. Peake, L., Razavi, N. and Adeniyi-Ogunyankin, G. (2023) Decolonising feminist explorations of urban futures, Urban Geography, 44:9, 1843-1852.
Kwak, M.J., Kwon, E., Lo, L. & Jung, G. (2023). Transculturality, Anti-Asian Racism and Student Mobility: A Case Study of Chinese International Student Experiences during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Sociological Inquiry. First published in October.
Kwak, MJ., Lo, L., Pang, G. & Wang, Y. 2023. Between intellectual gateway and intellectual periphery: Chinese international student experiences. Chapter 7 in Kim, A.H, Buckner, E. & Monstion, J.M. (eds.), International Students from Asia in Canadian Universities: Institutional Challenges at the Intersection of Internationalization, Inclusion, and Racialization. Routledge. (first published online in August).
Li, W., Lo, L. & Lu, Y. (2023). The intellectual migration analytics. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. First published in November.
Lo, L., Li, W. & Tan, Y. (2023). Students on the move? Intellectual migration and international student mobility. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. First published in November.
Lombardo, C., Novak, P., Flicker, S. and Making With Place Artists (2023). Making With Place Youth Public Art Experiments. Art/Research International. Volume 8, Number 1, 2023, p. 142–172.
Lu, Z., Lu, Y., Lo, L., Zhu, H. & Jean, J. 2023. International students in China: Regional distribution and macro-influencing factors. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. First published in November.
McGregor, D., Littlechild, D.B., and Sritharan, M. (2023). The Role of Traditional Environmental Knowledge in Planetary Well-Being. A Critical Handbook on Indigenous Development. Eds Nancy Postero, Irma Alicia Velasquez Nimatuj, Katherina Ruckstuhl, and John Andrew McNeish. Routledge Taylor and Francis Group.
Montero, S. and Sotomayor, L. (2023). Judicialización y política urbana: Ciudadanos, políticos y jueces en la suspensión de Transmilenio por la Séptima en Bogotá. EURE.
Podmore, J., & Bain, A. (2023). Redistributing More Than the LGBTQ2S Acronym? Planning Beyond Recognition and Rainbows on Vancouver’s Periphery. Urban Planning, 8(2), 208-222.
Shaffer, D.K.(2023). Feel Good Learning: On how to prioritise, focus, study, and learn everything better. (Independently published).
Winfield, M., Hill, S., and Gaede, J. (2023). Sustainable Energy Transitions in Canada. University of British Columbia Press.
Winfield, M., Myers, J. and Sooch, S. (2023). Post-Consumer Management of End-of-Life Electrical Vehicle Batteries. Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI) Studies on Ontario Energy Policy Series.
EUC Events and Media Coverage
An official dedication of the John Warkentin Room at the HNES Building, Room 138, was held on December 1st. The event was an opportunity to celebrate the research and collegial contributions of Professor Emeritus Warkentin, who was first appointed to York in 1963, as well as the rich intellectual heritage of research in EUC and its legacy units (Geography, Environmental Studies and Urban Studies). A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a member of the Order of Canada, Dr Warkentin is one of the country's pre-eminent historical geographers.
The Oral History, Food and Justice and Music-Making project (OHJAM) launched its zine “Grow it” and released its single “Food is the Language” this December. The event celebrated the unsung heroes in the Black, Caribbean and African community who work for food justice and food security and celebrated those who reinvent and nurture the intergenerational food cultures of the diaspora.
Performances and readings were presented by Ruben “Beny” Esguerra, Lord-Emmanuel Achidago, The Toronto Black Farmers Collective, Nasra Mohamed and more. The OJAM research team is comprised of Honor Ford-Smith, Jacqueline Dwyer, Noel Livingston, Nasra Mohamed, Lord-Emmanuel Achidago, Ruben “Beny” Esguerra, Krystle Skeete, Marvin Veloso, and New Tradition Music.
Andil Gosine has debuted his North American solo exhibition of Guadeloupean artist Kelly Sinnapah Mary at Aicon Gallery in Soho, New York City, from December 7, 2023-January 13, 2024. Gosine and Sinnapah Mary have previously collaborated on several projects, including the cover of his book Nature's Wild: Love, Sex and Law in the Caribbean. This exhibition includes iconic works by the artist and new works which channel Caribbean thinkers like Maryse Condé, as well as their shared interests in human and non-human life relations. The exhibition will run concurrently with a retrospective of work by Martinican artist-thinker Serge Hélénon.
EUC's online seminar series has kicked off this November. With the theme "Aim high, Degrow: Dialogues on Degrowth," the series brings together degrowth scholars with EUC faculty moderators for dialogues on degrowth. Organized by Lina Brand Correa with MES Degrowth IDS group members -- Kelly Gingrich, Elaine Howarth, Shahed Shafazand and Anna Stratton -- the seminar series explores the concept of degrowth - what it is (and isn’t), key debates in this emerging academic field and social movement, and how it connects to big questions around environmental and urban change.
Session 1 with Peter Victor and Sam Bliss, moderated by Anna Zalik, discussed the origins of degrowth, the controversies around its name, the advances in recognition of degrowth in academia, grassroots initiatives and political debates, and the directions of future research. View livestream here.
Session 3 on the topic Degrowth and the city: Urbanization and planning for degrowth with Jin Xue, Federico Sevini, moderated by Luisa Sotomayor will be held on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, 11am-12nn. Register here.
An official screening of Turning Tides: Sustainability Measures for Shark Conservation, a film and major paper by MES graduate Vivian Guido, was held this December at the Nat Taylor Cinema exploring the progress of Sustainable Development Goal #14: Life Below Water. Using sharks as an indicator for ocean health, Turning Tides is a documentary that informs and influences viewers on how climate change impacts the environment of sharks, while also affecting the health of global oceans and communities. The film was officially selected to be shown at several events throughout COP28: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Other Recent Events
EUC and York hosted the 2023 Conference of the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics (CANSEE) The conference profiled research from EUC faculty and graduates and students. This included keynote presentations from Peter Victor (The life and legacy of Herman Daly) and Eric Miller (Engaging communities in Ecological Economics); workshops from: Ellie Perkins (Climate justice: Building socio-economic equity for climate action) and Peter Timmerman (The imminance of intimate implosions: Thinking the finite in a finite world); research presentations from: PhD graduate Balikisu Osman (Diversity and sequential pattern of farming households’ responses to climate-induced food insecurities in northern Ghana), MES graduate Peri Dworatzek (Ecosystem service payments as a climate solution, and another research presentation on Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity accounts for rural communities in Ontario), MES graduate Sila Basturk (Analysis of the quality of the green bonds for climate action), MES students Kelly Gingrich, Elaine Howarth and Anna Stratton, and Shahed Shafazand (What does Truth and Reconciliation teach us about degrowth in settler societies?), and BES student Kaitlin Pal (Applications of Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity to Saugeen).
The PhD Environmental Studies Student Association (PhESSA) recently held a Research Day that engaged the exciting and provocative work of ES PhD students. The event, titled “On Fire,” aimed to celebrate the work of ES PhD students working for social and environmental justice, while bringing them together with faculty members and larger communities of scholarship, activism and practice. A special presentation on UnMapping An Afronautic Journey was made by PhD graduate Camille Turner with a panel of respondents curated by PhD student Natalie Wood.
November 13-19 was Transgender Awareness Week and in honour of Transgender Day of Remembrance and Trans Awareness Week, the Maloca Community Gardens, in partnership with the EUC Equity Committee, held a gathering with the theme Queering Place to creatively and critically explore and understand the roots of queer identity and ecology. Queering Place is a tactile land-based and digital art installation that began as part of ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art that weaves plants, medicines, and digital story to create inclusive community gathering space that welcomes and nurtures Queer, Trans, 2Spirit people and allies guided by Indigenous teachings of these places and territories.
November 14 was GIS Day in Canada. In observation of the event, EUC celebrated the occasion by highlighting the impact of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and geomatics in the world.
Speakers from EUC were Tarmo Remmel, Justin Podur and Adeyemi Olusola, alongside other York faculty and students. The event provided valuable insights into the role of GIS in various fields, including land mapping, electric cargo cycles, and marine navigation.
Mahtot Gebresselassie recently made a presentation on Accessibility of Third-Party Transit Apps and Transit Agencies’ Role at the Scholars' Hub @ Home. The presentation focused on whether transit agencies that provide data to app developers require developers to comply with access/disability legislation. For more information, read Mahtot's The Conversation article Transportation apps can help people with disabilities navigate public transit but accessibility lags behind and Wheelchair Users’ Perspective on Transportation Service Hailed Through Uber and Lyft Apps.
Valerie Preston's Building Migrant Resilience in Cities in partnership with the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership (OLIP) recently held a panel discussion on Housing challenges for international migrants at the Université du Québec en Outaouais. The panel examined the challenges facing migrants, evaluated current policies for international migrants, and proposed recommendations on what needs to be done in terms of research and policy. Preston et al. also presented a paper on Transforming Settlement and Integration Services during a Pandemic at the Prairie Political Science Association's Annual Meeting in September and another paper on Social Resilience and Migrants in Ontario Cities: Lessons from the Pandemic for the IGU Thematic Conference in Mexico City in August. The project recently conducted conference webinars on the Ups and Downs of Immigration Status.
EUC in the Media
Sheila Colla along with Lorraine Johnson have been interviewed in a podcast on A Northern Gardener's Guide To Native Plants And Pollinators.
In this podcast, Colla and Johnson talked about the book's discussion of native plants and how they interact with the local ecologies for pollinators and birds.
Deborah McGregor was featured in Global News on the topic Eco-grief: How the climate crisis is impacting our mental health. She noted that there has been a lot of talk about the impacts of the climate crisis in recent years. She states that “They’re probably not calling it eco-grief because it’s just grief, it’s loss, it’s intergenerational trauma. It’s trauma to the natural world itself.” Talking with her family about the future, they frame the climate crisis and eco-grief through an Indigenous lens, that is, in stories passed on through generations.
PhD Human Geography student, Romeo Joe Quintero, penned an article titled Canada’s refugee pilot programs risk making refugees prove their worth in The Conversation. Quintero argues that Canada’s Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP) program, which is intended to settle skilled refugees to fill urgent Canadian labour shortages, risks commodifying refugees and humanitarianism.
Mark Winfield also penned an article titled Are freeloading premiers undermining Canada’s climate strategy? in The Conversation. He noted that Canada is now confronted with a very different federal-provincial landscape on climate change. Ottawa’s decision to respond to concerns about the impact of the federal carbon pricing system on heating costs for households relying on fuel oil, primarily in Atlantic Canada, has devolved into a wider debate on the role of carbon pricing in Canadian climate policy. He proposed that a better model for the federal government is to continue to refine and carry through on its climate policies while tying the support for clean industrial strategies the provinces have welcomed as well as foster constructive provincial engagement on climate change.
The EUC Research Update is compiled by the Research Office at EUC: Associate Dean Research, Graduate & Global Affairs Philip Kelly, Research Officer Rhoda Reyes, and Work-Study Students Xinyu Mei and Lorraine Wong. Thanks to Paul Tran for the web design and development.
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Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change (EUC)
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