This project was a joint initiative of the University of Toronto (Global Cities Institute) and the University of Sao Paulo (Institute of International Relations), As cities – especially global cities – take on more and more important powers and functions, they begin to operate at levels of government and geography that transcend the local context in which they are embedded. These initiatives and programs are often called “paradiplomacy”. The project funded two meetings in each city to compare the cities in terms of governance, their general role as subnational governments in international relations, and the kinds of initiatives they have been taking which transcend or overlap with their local functions.
See GCI’s report on events in Toronto in April 2015 here, more information on the University of Toronto-University of São Paulo research partnerships here, and an article mentioning the UofT-USP project here.
Community-Engaged Learning in Graduate Education
This research explored the impact of the graduate-level community-engaged learning (CEL). The research had the objective to investigate the impact of the CEL experience on the knowledge and skills (both theoretical and applied) of graduate students and to examine the impact of the work of graduate service learning on students within the relevant communities. The research explored how CEL may be deepened in graduate education.
Implementing Progressive Planning in Brazil: Understanding the Gap between Rhetoric and Practice
My dissertation research explored the implementation of the Statute of the City, a 2001 national law that explicitly recognizes the right to the city. It also mandates institutionalized participation in planning and aims to promote social justice through a range of legal, urban and fiscal instruments that may be used by cities within the context of their master plans to regulate urban land and property markets based on the principle of the social function of property, seeking to deter land speculation and to establish the separation between the right to property and the potential for construction on vacant land. In my research, four intertwining themes explore how power relations and civil society organization influence the capacity to implement more participatory and socially just planning. While a gap exists between the rhetoric of the Statute and local practice, my findings suggest that the changes made as a result of the new planning directives of the Statute need to be seen as a long-term process. Indeed, the Statute is extraordinary in the Brazilian context, given high levels of poverty and socio-spatial inequality, violence and the aftermath of twenty years of dictatorship.
To read my dissertation, click here. To see a presentation on this research, click here.
Food security, urban agriculture and housing
Through work at Toronto Community Housing and later at Canadian Policy Research Networks, I explored links between food security and housing, with a particular focus on community food security, an alternative approach for dealing with food insecurity that applies participatory community development strategies.
To read Towards Food Security Policy for Canada’s Social Housing Sector, click here.
To read the Toronto Community Housing Community Gardening Manual, click here. To see the Resource Guide, click here.
Through work at UN-Habitat’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (ROLAC) in Rio de Janeiro, I produced an evaluation tool to measure the Millennium Development Goals for community-based organizations working in self-built housing. This tool included indicators to raise awareness on the MDGs and to promote debate on the social production of habitat and local development.