I am the Canada Research Chair in Urban Change and Social Inclusion and an Associate Professor in the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo in Canada. I am originally from Toronto, and lived in the Netherlands between 2004 and 2017.
My work critically examines today’s urban renaissance and questions the celebration of the contemporary cities by asking: who profits from this remaking of the city? I have written extensively on gentrification, waterfront regeneration and urban redevelopment. My approach is to focus on engaged research, relevant to academic, political and societal debates.
I am particularly interested in how the political-economic context of post-industrial economies and neoliberal governance produces the inequality that we see in today's cities. My research has specifically focused on the production of gentrification and how the process has become celebrated amongst urban leaders in today's major cities.
I am also interested in how gentrificaiton and wider processes of urban change are experienced on a day-to-day level. Using class as a unit of analysis, my work seeks to understand the perceptions and experiences of residents who are not part of the much-celebrated 'urban renaissance.' I am inspired by the growing resistance to processes like gentrification which can be seen in cities around the world. From Detroit to Rotterdam and beyond, grassroots communities, individuals and movements are demonstrating alternative and socially-just ways of doing things. As an engaged scholar, I look for ways to contribute to these struggles.
I am passionate about teaching and believe that contributing to education is essential to being a successful scholar. My research heavily influences my teaching, while at the same time I encourage students to critically examine the world around them and question why things are where they are.