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Hello from Dean Hovorka

Dean Alice Hovorka

As a community of students, faculty, staff, alumni and collaborators, we are united in a call to action responding to some of the most pressing challenges facing people and the planet.

Welcome to York University’s new Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change!

As a community of students, faculty, staff, alumni and collaborators, we are united in a call to action responding to some of the most pressing challenges facing people and the planet. We believe that transitions to a sustainable and just future require our urgent and collective attention.

Humanity is witnessing the consequences of environmental degradation and social inequities in stark and devastating ways. The climate crisis has plunged us into an era of unprecedented environmental change: rising average temperatures, extreme weather events, melting ice sheets, freshwater shortages, air pollution. Nature’s capacity to provide food, water and security to the population is rapidly eroding. And we are experiencing a global pandemic borne of habitat depletion, unsustainable livestock production and intensified disease transmission from animals to humans. Many of these challenges take root in built landscapes; cities and their hinterlands expose socio-environmental inequities among us expressed as poverty, illness, homelessness, anti-Black racism and gender-based violence.

As a Faculty committed to change, we bring forth bold and diverse thinking, ambitious action and creative solutions to benefit everyone in response to these pressing challenges. Our Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change boasts world-class faculty members who have demonstrated excellence in scholarship and scientific research of understanding of natural, built, and social spaces and dynamics. We are producing cutting-edge research in areas of earth surface science, climatology, biological conservation, environmental policy and planning, ecological economics, critical urban studies, housing, sustainable energy, animal studies, environmental philosophy, cultural production and performance, and more!

Core to our academic mission is mobilizing this knowledge, through our classrooms, collaborations with key stakeholders, and dialogues and decision-making processes, to effect positive change.

Our Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change is especially inspired by and committed to students. We are empowering students with fundamental knowledge, critical thinking skills, hands-on experience and global perspectives throughout our program offerings. Undergraduate students can choose majors in Environmental Arts and Justice, Environmental Science, Global Geography, Sustainable Environmental Management or Urban Studies – they can also mix and match these options through minors or certificates according to their passions and interests. Our programs highlight career readiness as a means through which students can realize their potential as changemakers in the workforce as problem solvers, policymakers, planners and leaders. Graduate students thrive in our degrees in both Environmental Studies and Geography. We offer a supportive and inclusive community in advanced studies of environmental and urban change. And we offer all of this within the robust local context of the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada, as well as, global study and research opportunities, including those at our Las Nubes EcoCampus in Costa Rica.

Join us in York University’s Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change. We look forward to engaging with you and learning about your passions and actions that are changing the world for the better. We look forward to working together for more a sustainable and just future.

Alice Hovorka
Dean, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change