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Research News

The Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change brings together geographers, physical scientists, social scientists, humanities researchers and artists whose innovative research seeks to advance sustainability and social justice. Using field-based science, policy analysis, critical social theory, planning skills, geomatics, and cultural and arts-based approaches, our researchers drive action to address the world’s environmental and urban challenges.

Researchers talking at a conference

By the Numbers


Faculty researchers


Research projects  in 2020


Countries engaged in EUC research


In Research funding

Research Spotlights

Minding Sanctuary: Potential for multispecies justice through care-full wildlife tourism

Siobhan Speiran by Siobhan Speiran, Ph.D. As a wild animal geographer and welfare scholar, I am thrilled to find an academic home amongst the vibrant EUC community as a postdoctoral visitor. I continue collaborating with Professor Alice Hovorka (my Ph.D.

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Telling the stories of climate, farm distress, inequality and justice

Sainath talks about climate, farm distress, inequality and justice at EUC. From March 4-8 renowned journalist and author P Sainath visited EUC for a week as a scholar-in-residence. He delivered a Climate Seminar about climate, farm distress, inequality and justice

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Geopolitics of mining and dispossession: Brazil and Canada

Thaís Henriques Dias This January, Thaís Henriques Dias, doctoral researcher in Sociology and Law at Fluminense Federal University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, started her 10-month visiting scholarship at York. EUC work-study student, Xinyu Mei, interviewed her on her plans for

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EUC Research Update

EUC Research Update

Welcome to the March 2024 edition of the EUC Research Update - bringing you highlights from research activities at York's Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change.


Research Accolades

The International Ecological Footprint Learning Lab: Training, research and novel applications led by Peter Victor as principal investigator, with Eric Miller, Katie KishTarmo Remmel, Brynhildur Davíðsdóttir (University of Iceland) and David Lin (Global Footprint Network) as co-directors have won a $2.5M SSHRC Partnership Grant. Martin Bunch, Peter Mulvihill, Peter Timmerman, Sheila Colla, Gregory Thiemann, Jennifer Korosi, Lina Brand-Correa, and Adeyemi Olusola are co-applicants/collaborators. The partnership draws on the strengths of York University, University of Iceland, British Columbia Institute of Technology, and the Global Footprint Network, that will create novel research applications and teaching expertise on ecological economics and systems modelling. The project will train a generation of interdisciplinary students and postdoctoral fellows over 7 years to effectively engage with issues at the intersection of sustainability and justice challenges. It will also strengthen the relationship between the Ecological Footprint Initiative, the Footprint Data Foundation, and the Global Footprint Network as well as forge a vibrant international Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity (EFB) research network.

Cole Swanson
Cole Swanson

Cole Swanson, PhD student in Environmental Studies, has been awarded a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship for his research on the use of material-based art to explore the dynamic ecology of a bird colony with a stigmatized reputation, the double-crested cormorants (Nannopterum auritum). Working against dangerous imaginaries on cormorants fueled by religious, settler-colonial, and extractivist histories and politics, Swanson examines life in the colony to illuminate the entanglements between avian, human and more-than-human worlds.

Hillary Birch, PhD candidate, is a recipient of an IDRC doctoral research award. 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. It 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. It 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.

Hillary Birch
Hillary Birch
Ria Jhoanna Ducusin
Ria Jhoanna Ducusin

Ria Jhoanna Ducusin, PhD candidate, also received an IDRC doctoral research award. 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.

Laurence Butet-Roch, PhD candidate in Environmental Studies, received a Susan Mann Dissertation Award for her research studying visual narratives of environmental contamination and systemic environmental racism. Her doctoral research considers how to visually bear witness to environmental injustices, especially industrial contamination, without further rendering certain communities and habitats expendable and pollutable. A photographer, photo editor, writer and art educator, Butet-Roch contributes to Aperture, The British Journal of Photography, National Geographic, Photolife, Point of View, Polka Magazine, The New York Times Lens Blog, The New Yorker Photo Booth, among others.

Laurence Butet-Roch
Laurence Butet-Roch
Rachel Pellegrino
Rachel Pellegrino

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. She graduated summa cum laude with an Honours Bachelor of Arts (HBA) in Geography with her undergraduate research that tracks catastrophic drainage due to permafrost thaw in a lake at western Canadian Arctic.  She is now pursuing Master of Science (MSc) in Geography.

EUC Research & the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

EUC Research for Sustainable Development

The UN SDGs provide a framework for urgent action in seventeen areas that are critical to ensure peace and prosperity for people and the planet. York University has embedded a commitment to the SDGs into its academic planning, and EUC is at the forefront of research on many of the SDGs.