Research Projects

Most of our faculty members are directors of research projects that involve graduate students.  Below we list the projects, with more recent projects that are still actively recruiting students listed first.   Prospective student will find this list useful for thinking about the kind of research that they could do, and which faculty members might be their supervisors.   We invite you to contact project directors directly if you would like to know more about the opportunities associated with these projects.

Long-term perspectives on lake ecosystem change with thawing permafrost (NSERC)

Investigate how lakes are changing in response to thawing permafrost in the Taiga Plains and Mackenzie Delta Uplands regions (Northwest Territories), using lake sediment cores as natural archives of long-term environmental change.

Investigator: Jennifer Korosi
Term: 2017-2022

To stay or not to stay:  The geographies of immigrant integration, transnationalism, and return migration intentions among African immigrants in Canada (SSHRC Insight Grant)

This study examines the return intentions of African immigrants in Canada, drawing on the experiences of Ghanaians and Somalis in Toronto and Vancouver.  More pointedly, the project seeks to understand the intersections of African immigrants’ integration, transnationalism, and return intentions, and to predict the background and spatio-temporal attributes of African immigrants who are more likely to return to their home countries.

Investigator: Joseph Mensah
Term: 2017-2022

Urbanization, gender and the global south: a transformative knowledge network.

Situated within the dynamic early 21st century context of urbanization, this project will conduct research and engage in public education and policy enrichment in seven strategically chosen cities (Cairo, Cochabamba, Georgetown (Guyana), Ibadan, Mumbai, Ramallah, and Shanghai) in lower middle-income countries to advance understanding of how the relationship between poverty and inequality is being transformed, focusing in particular on how this is reconstituting gender relations and women’s right to the city.

Investigator: Linda Peake
Term: 2017-2023

Intellectual Migration: The China-Canada-US  Dynamics

Seeks to understand the dynamics underlying global knowledge and human capital flows and the significant role of Canada as a nexus in these flows by exploring who among the highly educated China-born population are likely to migrate, why they migrate, where they migrate to, and specifically, to what extent country-specific migrant attraction, retention, and/or recruitment policies affect their migration, and what policies Canada can pursue to enhance its competitiveness in the global race for talent.

Investigator: Lucia Lo
Term: 2017-2022

Spaces of labour in moments of urban populism

This project is recruiting both MA and PhD students.  Explores labour's response to and role in shaping urban populism in four North American cities and involves students as part of the research team.

Investigator: Steve Tufts
Term: 2015-2021

Political geographies of activism and citizenship

Recruiting mostly PhD students. This project examines the gap between the stated principles of liberal democracy and the reality of exclusion, injustice, exploitation and oppression for individuals and communities whose bodies, practices or ways of inhabiting the world bring them into conflict with their surrounding communities and even the state. The project approaches politics from the perspective of the marginalized, and has a particular interest on studying questions of identity and belonging through creative and artistic expressions.

Investigator: Patricia Wood.

Understanding the Experiences of Chinese International Students in Canada: Pre- and Post-Migration Reflections

This research aims at understanding the various factors and actors facilitating the recruitment of Chinese international students to Canada, as well as documenting the different experiences of such international students after they return to China.

Investigator: Jean Michel Montsion
Term: 2018-2020

Libre-échange, portes d'accès et démocratie municipale. Étude de quatre villes-régions: Halifax, Montréal, Toronto et Vancouver (English Translation: Free Trade, Gateways and Municipal Democracy: Study of Four City-regions: Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver)

This research program focuses on comparing the impacts of infrastructure funding for international transport purposes on municipal democracy in four city-regions in Canada, in order to understand the impact of free trade mentality on the transportation projects and local configurations of power.

Investigators: Dorval Brunelle (UQAM), Claudia De Fuentes (SMU), Peter Hall (SFU), Jean Michel Montsion (York)
Term: 2017-2021

The Impact of Volcanic Ash on the Hydrology of Arctic Landscapes, Iceland.

Evaluates the impact of tephra (dust and volcanic ash) on the hydrologic dynamics of diverse wetland landscapes in Iceland, and the utility of smart sensors in monitoring water levels, soil moisture across a wetland site in southeast Iceland.

Principal Investigator: Kathy Young

Ecology and survival of an endangered species in Canada.

The last major Canadian population of the native cactus Opuntia cespitosa is assessed to determine health, ecology and positive interactions in its Point Pelee community.

Principal Investigator: Taly Drezner

Climate Change Diagnostics.

Climate Change Diagnostics. Identifies the patterns, trends and underlying causes of changing climate and the associated extremes, emphasis on changes in Canada and its Subarctic and Arctic regions. Faculty Contact: Richard Bello; Adjunct Professors Dr. Kaz Higuchi, Amir Shabbar.

Principal Investigator: Rick Bello

Financialization, Sustainability Transitions, and the Bio-economy in Canada and Sweden (2018-2021).

This project focuses on the financing of bio-refineries in Canada and Sweden – the fieldwork sites – as an attempt to understand potential techno-economic barriers to the development of the bio-economy (which is an economy in which plant materials are used as substitutes for fossil fuels). The aim is to examine the implications of financialization to socio-technical and sustainability transitions. It involves collaboration with Dr. Teis Hansen (Lund University, Sweden).

Principal Investigator: Kean Birch

Probing private refugee resettlement in Canada

The research examines the characteristics of place and community create conditions for ongoing refugee setttlement funded and supported by private citizens in Ontario and British Columbia.

Investigator: Jennifer Hyndman
Term: 2017-2021

Queering Canadian suburbs: LGBTQ2S place-making outside of central cities.

Addresses key knowledge gaps regarding the lives, service needs, and place-making practices of suburban Canadian LGBTQ2S (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, and Two-Spirit) populations in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.

Investigator: Alison Bain
Term: 2016-2020

Neoliberal industrialization, the rural periphery, and uneven development in India.

Examines how India's neoliberal-capitalist industrialization causes new forms of class inequality and new forms of geographically uneven development.

Investigator: Raju Das
Term: 2016-2020

Subalterity, public education, and welfare cities: Comparing the experience of displaced migrants in three cities [Havana, Toronto, Kolkata]

Historically traces the geopolitical impacts on cities and schools through questions of conflict and displacement in Havana, Toronto and Kolkata.

Investigator: Ranu Basu
Term: 2015-2020

Canada-Philippines Alternative Transnational Economies

Explores the ways in which non-capitalist economic transactions and practices link Canada and the Philippines through networks forged by transnational migrants. MA and PhD students will benefit from a team of collaborating researchers in Toronto, Vancouver and Manila, and fieldwork opportunities in both countries.

Investigator: Philip Kelly
Term: 2015-2019

Canadian Conservation in Global Context (CCGC): Intersections with Asia and Africa

Examines the politics of Canada's changing conservation landscape and places it in global comparative context with my long term research sites in sub-Saharan Africa and Robin Roth's long term research sites in Southeast Asia.  In addition, the project is examining the between conservation and security and/or militarization.  Graduate York Geography student Participants include:  Colin Sutherland (PhD), Francis Massé (PhD), Megan Youdelis (PhD), Colin O'Neil (MA); Faculty participants include Peter Vandergeest as collaborator.

Agency: SSHRC
Investigator: Libby Lunstrum and Robin Roth

Term: 2013-2019

New Directions in Environmental Governance: Remaking Public and Private authority in Southeast Asian Resource Frontiers.

Explores the effects of new environmental governance mechanisms in Southeast Asia through fieldwork-based research of diverse programs and projects, and involves a network of researchers in Southeast Asia, the Netherlands, and Australia.   York geography student participants include Kim Roberts (PhD), Laura Schoenberger PhD), Kyle Wagner (MA), and Renee McWhirter (MA).

Investigators: (PI): Peter Vandergeest; (Co-investigators): Robin Roth, Melissa Marschke (University of Ottawa); (Collaborators): Chusak Wittayapak (Chiang Mai University), Keith Barney (Australian National University), Simon Bush (Wageningen University), Derek A. Hall (Wilfrid Laurier University), Sing Lyu (Yunnan University)
SSHRC Insight Grant
Term: 2015-2019

Freshwater resources of the Eastern Canadian Arctic: quantity, quality and indicators of ecological change.

Investigators: P.I. W.F. Vincent, University of Quebec
Co-Investigators: Kathy Young and others
Agency: NCE-ArcticNet
Awards: $ 384,240, March 2008
Term: 2011-2014, renewal pending to 2017

High Arctic hydrological, landscape and ecosystem responses to climate change: integrated watershed research and modelling at the Cape Bounty Arctic watershed observatory: Melville Island.

Principal Investigators: Scott Lamoureux and Melissa Lafreniere, Queen’s University
Co-Investigators: Kathy Young and others
Agency: NCE-ArcticNet
Awards: $333,480
Term: 2011-2014, renewal pending to 2017

Major Collaborative Research Initiative, Global Suburbanisms: Governance, Land and Infrastructure in the 21st Century

Investigators: Roger Keil (PI) with Robin Bloch, Lisa Drummond, Pierre Filion, Jill Grant, Shubhra Gururani, Pierre Hamel, Richard Harris, Sonia Hirt, Paul Knox, Ute Lehrer, Zhigang Li, Alan Mabin, Jochen Monstadt, Jan Nijman, Jamie Peck, Nicholas Phelps, Rob Shields, Benjamin Solomon, Fulong Wu, Elvin Wyly, Douglas Young); $2,500,000.
Term: 2010-2017

Water in the city: Community Participation and Water Access in Southeast Asian Cities

Investigators: Lisa Drummond, with Amrita Danieère (UofT, PI)
Agency: SSHRC
Term: 2012-2017