This year’s Intersections programming is organized by six research clusters in our department: Critical Planning, Labour and Economic Geographies, Political Ecology, Political Spaces, Physical Geography, and Transportation. Find below a brief description of each cluster’s interests for the year.
The Critical Planning Research Cluster seeks to enrich planning scholarship by engaging with, and learning from, radical planning practitioners and activists. We will pursue this work primarily by bringing together scholars and activists/practitioners to discuss urgent planning and urban issues. In so doing, we intend to focus especially on critical perspectives and planning strategies that are marginalized in mainstream discourse, in order to elaborate innovative approaches in the pursuit of social justice and the right to the city.
Some themes include: financialization, decolonization, transit and housing/land.
LABOUR AND ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHIES
The Labour and Economic Geographies (LEG) Research Cluster seeks to understand how people and places are affected by economic transformations. Over the last several decades, the global economy has undergone shifts from rural to urban, labour to capital, and resources to innovation, amongst others. These trends have made the world much wealthier overall but has left many people and places behind, greatly exacerbating income inequality in the process. This research cluster is interested in enhancing our comprehension of both theory and practice by bringing together practitioners, activists, and scholars. Members of this research cluster have expressed overlapping interests in: the role of unions in the modern economy, workers in the developing world, innovation and knowledge clusters, and the rise of the platform economy.
The political ecology research cluster brings together scholars interested in exploring and debating critical perspectives on the human-nature relationship including approaches rooted in political ecology, biopolitics, indigenous philosophy, anti-racist philosophy, decolonialism and more-than-human approaches. Our group will engage in collective readings, sharing published and pre-publicaton papers, circulating new works of interest, hosting speakers and all other activities that the group feels supports our scholarship and critical enquiry.
The Political Spaces research cluster investigates the contested and uneven politics of our human and more-than-human geographies. Members of the cluster are interested in a range of topics regarding the politics of space and the spaces of the political, including classic concerns of political geography such as borders, geopolitics, empire and territory, along with contemporary debates regarding the politics of scale, settler colonialism, race and racism, and feminist, queer and trans geographies. The research projects and interests of members are often connected to the work of communities and social movements and the forms of space they produce and contest.
The Physical Geography Research Cluster focuses on an integrative approach to understanding the earth’s biotic and abiotic systems, including their spatial dynamics and the ways they are altered by human action over time. Members of the cluster are interested in a range of topics including but not limited to climatology, biogeography, hydrology, geomorphology, agroecology, contaminants, paleoenvironments, bioenergy, biogeochemical modelling, and terrestrial remote sensing.
The Transportation Research Cluster focusses on applied and theoretical aspects of transportation supply, demand, and infrastructure planning across multiple urban/rural contexts and spatial scales. We have overlapping interests in governance and decision making, active travel and health, social and economic impacts of travel, affordability and equity, and environmental costs. Many of the cluster members also develop and apply novel quantitative research methods involving spatial analysis and GIS. This year our cluster is focusing our activities on invited speakers, community building roundtables, and social events.