faculty of environmental studies

You are here

Wekerle, Gerda R

Wekerle, Gerda R

Professor
BA (Sociology) - York
MA, PhD (Sociology) - Northwestern

Areas of Academic Interest

  • Growth, urbanization, sprawl and nature
  • Public policy, local government and local politics
  • Social movements
  • Urban agriculture
  • Gender and the neoliberal city

A predominant theme in my research, writing, teaching and community activism has been the ways in which ordinary people experience the city, their active engagement in city building, and their movements for social justice. Most recently, colleagues and I have been studying the ways in which citizen movements and planners in exurbia (on the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Greenbelt in southern Ontario) attempt to preserve nature in the face of sprawl and a pervasive growth ethic. We've involved a large number of graduate students in this project that examines citizen planning, environmentalism, constructions of nature, land trusts, regional and eco-systems planning, and the policy narratives and processes that shape land use change. My courses on introduction to planning and local government draw upon this work. Past research focused on high-rise housing, condominiums, gentrification, neighbourhood change and crime prevention through environmental design.

Gender and cities has been a long term interest. Currently, I'm working on a collection on gender and the neoliberal city. Past research (often with women's community organizations) focused on gender planning and housing, women's urban activism, violence against women and safe cities, and gender and transportation. I was a co-founder of the magazine Women and Environments which is housed in FES.

My interests in urban nature are reflected in the research, community work and teaching that I do on urban agriculture and community gardens. A two-year exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum, Growing Cultures: Immigrants and their Gardens, was based on research with a Toronto photographer. I am active in local community garden and food networks.

My own background and interests have been interdisciplinary, linking academic research and practice. I like to work closely with students, helping them to define their strengths and identify their passions. Students are encouraged to develop original research, to work collaboratively, and to become engaged in professional and academic communities through conference presentations and publications.

Major research projects

SSHRC Standard Grant, "Unlikely Allies: Citizen Planning and Environmentalism on the Oak Ridges Moraine" (with L. Anders Sandberg and Liette Gilbert)

Other positions/affiliations

  • Appointed to Graduate Programs in Women's Studies, Sociology and Geography, York University
  • Member, Community Advisory Board, Black Creek Urban Farm, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and City of Toronto
  • Member, Local Advisory Committee, Avenues Study, Avenue Road, City of Toronto Planning Department

Select prizes and awards

  • Constance Hamilton Award (fostering women's equity), City of Toronto, 1996

Select publications

Gender Planning and Feminist Geography

Teresa V. Abbruzzese and G.R. Wekerle. 2011. "Gendered Spaces of Activism in Exurbia: Politicizing an Ethics of Care from the Household to the Region". Frontiers: A Women's Studies Journal, 32, 2, pp. 186-231.

Wekerle, G. R. 2009. Gender and the Neoliberal City: Urban Restructuring, Social Exclusion and Democratic Participation, in H. Hiller (ed) Urban Sociology in Canada. Toronto: Oxford University Press.


Leslie Kern and G.R. Wekerle. 2008. Gendered Spaces of Redevelopment, Gendered Politics of City Building, in Judith DeSena (ed) Gender in an Urban World, Bingley UK: Emerald/JAI Press.


Wekerle, G. R. 2005. Women and the Neo-liberal City: Invisible Genders and the Politics of Place in W. Harcourt and A. Escobar (eds) Women and the Politics of Place. Kumarian Press


Wekerle, G. R. 2005. Gender and the Global City: Urban Restructuring, Social Exclusion and Claims for Justice in H. Hiller (ed) Urban Sociology in Canada. Toronto: Oxford University Press


Wekerle, G. R. and B. Rutherford, 2004. The Mobility of Capital and the Immobility of Female Labor: Responses to Economic Restructuring in L. Servon and S. Fainstein (eds) Gender Planning and Policy. (New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers University Press) (reprint).


Wekerle, G. R.
2004. Framing Feminist Claims for Urban Citizenship, in L. Staeheli, M. Kofman and L. Peake (eds), Mapping Gender, Making Politics: Feminist Perspectives on Political Geography, NY: Routledge.


Wekerle, G.R. 2000. Women's Rights to the City: Gendered Spaces of a Pluralistic Citizenship, in E. Isin (ed) Rights to the City . London : Routledge.


Wekerle, G. R.
2000. From Eyes on the Street to Safe Cities, Places, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 44-49. “De la coveillance à la ville sûre,” Les Annales de la Recherche Urbaine, 83-84, pp. 164-169, September (translation of “From eyes on the street to safe cities”)


Wekerle, G. R.
1999 .Gender Planning as Insurgent Citizenship: Stories from Toronto, Plurimondi,1,2, 105-26.


Wekerle, G. R.
1999. Gleichstellung der Geschlechter im öffentlichen Verkehr. (“Gender equity in public transit”) In A. Flade and M. Limbourg (eds.), Frauen und Männer in der mobilen Gesellschaft (Women and Men in a Mobile Society). Frankfurt: Leske and Budrich, Opladen, pp. 13-32.


Wekerle, G. R.
1998. Women Changing Cities.” Keynote address Proceedings of Eurofem: Women in Human Settlements, Hämeenlinna, Finland, pp. 25-35.


Wekerle, G. R.
1997 .“Putting Women’s Needs on the Transportation Planning Agenda.” In Women Planning for Change Conference Proceedings. New York City: New York Chapter, American Planning Association, pp. 71-73.


P. Evans and G.R. Wekerle, 1997. (eds). Women and the Canadian Welfare State. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.


G.R. Wekerle
, 1997. The Shift to the Market: Gender and Housing Disadvantage, in P. Evans and G. R. Wekerle (eds)Women and the Canadian Welfare State. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.


P. Evans and G.R. Wekerle, 1997. The Shifting Terrain of Women’s Welfare: Theory, Discourse and Activism, in P. Evans and G. R. Wekerle (eds) Women and the Canadian Welfare State, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.


Wekerle, G.R. and Peake, L . 1996 "New Social Movements and Women's Urban Activism" in Caulfield, J. and L. Peake (eds.) City Lives and City Forms: Critical Perspectives on Canadian Urbanism, University of Toronto Press .


S. Novac and G.R. Wekerle 1996. Square Peg in Round (W)hole: Women’s Communities in Housing Co-operatives. In A. Heskin and J. Leavitt (eds.), The Hidden History of Housing Cooperatives. Davis, CA: University of California Cooperative Extension.


G.R. Wekerle.
1996. Reframing Urban Sustainability: Women’s Movement Organizing and the Local State.” In R. Keil, G.R. Wekerle and D.V.J. Bell (eds.), Local Places in the Age of the Global City. Montreal: Black Rose Books, pp. 137-145.


G. R. Wekerle . 1994. Urban Planning: Making it Work for Women.”n R. Roach Pierson and M.Cohen(eds.), Canadian Women’s Issues, Volume 2: Bold Visions. Toronto: James Lorimer and Company.


G.R. Wekerle
.1993. Responding to Diversity: Housing Developed by and for Women.” In H. Dandekar (ed.), Shelter, Women and Development: First and Third World Perspectives. Ann Arbor, Michigan: George Wahr Publishers.


G. R. Wekerle
.1993. Responding to Diversity: Housing Developed by and for Women, Canadian Journal ofUrban Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 95-113, December.


G. R. Wekerle.
1991. Planning Safer Parks for Women: Developing a New Agenda for Open Space Policy in the City of Toronto, Landscape Architectural Review, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 5-6, July.


G.R. Wekerle
and S. Novac. 1991. Gender and Housing in Toronto. Equal Opportunity Division, City of Toronto.


G.R. Wekerle
with B. Muirhead. 1991. Canadian Women’s Housing Projects. Ottawa: CMHC, March.


B. Rutherford and G. R. Wekerle. 1989. Single Parents in the Suburbs: Journey-to-work and Access to Transportation,” Journal of Specialized Transportation Planning and Practice, Vol. III, No. 3, Summer.


G. R. Wekerle
and S. Novac. 1989 . Developing Two Women’s Housing Cooperatives. In K. Franck and S. Ahrentzen (eds.), New Households, New Housing. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

G. R. Wekerle and B. Rutherford. 1989.The Mobility of Capital and the Immobility of Female Labour: Responses to Economic Restructuring. In J. Wolch and M. Dear (eds.), The Power of Geography: How Territory Shapes Social Life. London: Unwin and Hyman.


G.R Wekerle
.1989. From Refuge to Service Center: Neighbourhoods that Support Women. In W. van Vliet (ed.), Women, Housing and Community. Aldershot, England: Gower Publishing.


G. R. Wekerle.
1988. Women’s Housing Projects in Eight Canadian Cities. Ottawa: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 191 pp.


B. Rutherford and G.R. Wekerle. 1988. Equity Issues in Women’s Accessibility to Employment: Transportation, Location, and Policy. Toronto: Institute of Women and Work and City of Toronto, Equal Opportunity Division, Management Services Department, 82 pp.


G. R. Wekerle
. 1988. Canadian Women’s Housing Cooperatives: Case Studies in Physical and Social Innovations. In C. Andrew and B. Moore-Milroy (eds.), Life Spaces: Gender, Household, Employment .Vancouver: UBC Press.


B. Rutherford and G. R. Wekerle .1988. Captive Rider, Captive labor: Spatial Constraints and Women’s Employment, Urban Geography, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 116-137.


G.R. Wekerle
and B. Rutherford. 1987. Employed Women in the Suburbs: Transportation Disadvantage in a Car-centered Environment,” Alternatives: Perspectives on Society, Technology, and Environment, Vol. 14, No. 3/4, pp. 49-54.


G.R. Wekerle.
1985. From Refuge to Service Center: Neighbor­hoods that Support Women,” Sociologi­cal Focus, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 79-95, April.


G. R. Wekerle.
1984. A Woman’s Place is in the City,” Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 11-20.


G.R. Wekerle.
1981.Women in the Urban Environment. In C.R. Stimpson et al. (eds.), Women and the American City. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Wekerle, G. R.,
R. Peterson and D. Morley (eds), 1980. New Space for Women. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.


Wekerle, G. R.
1979 .A Woman’s Place is in the City. Land Policy Roundtable Basic Concepts Series, No. 102. Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.


R. Peterson, G. R. Wekerle and D. Morley. 1978. Women and Environments: An Overview of an Emerging Field,” Environment and Behavior, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp. 511-534, December.


Political Ecology, Landscape and Socio-Nature


R.Macrae, J. Nasr, J. Kuhns, L. Baker, R. Christianson, M. Danyluk, A. Snider, P.Kaill-Vinish, M. Michalak, J.Oswald, S. Patel and G.R. Wekerle. "2012. Could Toronto provide 10% of its fresh vegetable requirements from its own boundaries?" Part II, Policy Supports and Program Design. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. Online Publication, February.

G.R. Wekerle, L. A. Sandberg and L. Gilbert. In press. Regional Resistances in an Exurban Region: Intersections of the Politics of Place and the Politics of Scale” in Rianne Mahon and Roger Keil (eds) Leviathan Undone? A Political Economy of Scale, Vancouver: UBC Press.


G. R. Wekerle
, L. A. Sandberg and L. Gilbert . In press. Taking a Stand in Exurbia: Environmental Movements to Preserve Nature and Resist Sprawl” in Laurie Adkin ,(ed) Environmental Conflicts and Democracy in Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press.


Liette Gilbert, L. Anders Sandberg and G. R. Wekerle. In press. Building Bioregional Citizenship: The Case of the Oak Ridges Moraine, Ontario, Canada”, Local Environment.

L. Anders Sandberg and G.R. Wekerle. 2010. "Reaping Nature's Dividends: The Neolilberalization and Gentrification of Nature on the Oak Ridges Morraine". Journal of Environmental Planning and Policy, January.


Shannon Logan and G.R. Wekerle. 2008. Neoliberalizing Environmental Governance? Land Trusts, Private Conservation and Nature on the Oak Ridges Moraine? Geoforum, 39, 6, pp. 2097-2108.


L. Gilbert, L. A. Sandberg and G. R. Wekerle, 2008.Through the Bioregional Prism: Building Home and Conserving Nature in the Greater Toronto Region in Alejandro Celie, Graciela Martinez-Zalce and Miriam Alfie eds. Norte America: Construccion de Espacios Regionales. Mexico City: Eon Ediciones, UAM-Azcapotzalco.


G. R. Wekerle
, L. A. Sandberg, L. Gilbert and M. Binstock. 2007. Nature as the Cornerstone Of Growth: Regional and Ecosystems Planning in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Canadian Journal Of Urban Research, Canadian Planning and Policy issue, 16, 1, supplement, 20-38.


2000-2002 . Gerda R. Wekerle (with Vincenzo Pietropaolo and curated by Elizabeth McLuhan for Multicultural History Society). Exhibit. Growing Cultures: Immigrants and Their Gardens. Heritage Gallery of Royal Ontario Museum.


D.V.J. Bell, R. Keil and G.R. Wekerle. 1994. (eds.) Human Society and the Natural World: Perspectives on Sustainable Futures. North York: Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University.


Urban Spaces, Housing, Urban Planning and Cities


A.McDonough and G.R. Wekerle. 2011. "Integrating Cultural Planning and Urban Planning: The Challenges of Implementation". Canadian Journal of Urban Research Supplement, 20,1, pp. 27-51.

G. R. Wekerle and T. V. Abbruzzese. 2010. Producing Regionalism: Regional Movements, Ecosystems and Equity in a Fast and Slow Growth Region, Geojournal, 75, 6, pp. 58-594.


G.R. Wekerle
2008. The Chill Factor: Land Use Conflicts and Resistance to Growth in the Toronto Region” Plan Canada, 48.3, September-October, 14-17.


G.R. Wekerle.
2008 . Planning for Safety in Cities, in Jill Grant (ed) Reader on Canadian Planning: Linking Practice with Theory. Toronto: Thomson/Nelson, pp. 220-221.


G. Desfor, R. Keil, S.Kipfer and G. R. Wekerle. 2006. From Surf to Turf: No Limits to Growth in Toronto?” Studies in Political Economy, 77, 131-55.


L. Gilbert, G.R. Wekerle and L. A. Sandberg. 2005. Local Responses to Development Pressures: Conflictual Politics of Sprawl and Environmental Conservation” Cahiers de Geographie du Quebec, 49,138, 377-92


G.R. Wekerle
and P. S. B. Jackson R 2005. Urbanizing the Security Agenda: Anti-Terrorism, Urban Sprawl and Social Movements, City, 9, 1, 34-49.


G.R. Wekerle
2004. “Professional Identities and Boundary Maintenance” in Tom Angotti and Ann Forsyth (eds)Progressive Planning Reader. New York: Planners Network, pp. 26-27.


Desfor, G., Keil, R. S. Kipfer, and G. R. Wekerle 2004 Grenzloses Wachsen: Zukunftsplanung der Konkurrienden Stadt in Toronto (Growing Out of Bounds: Planning the Future of the Competitive City in Toronto) in D. Schubert (ed)Wachsende Stadt. Opladen: Leske und Budrich.


Wekerle, G. R. 2004 Gender Planning in Public Transit: Political Process, Changing Discourse and Practice in L. Servon and S. Fainstein (eds)Gender Planning and Policy. New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers University Press


Wekerle, G. R.
2004 “Food justice movements: policy, planning and networks”, Journal of Planning Education and Research, 23, 4: 378-86.

G. R. Wekerle and C Whitzman. 2003. Safe Cities. Japanese Translation. Tokyo: Japan Urban Security Institute.


Wekerle, G. R. 2002 Community Gardening and Urban Agriculture: What's Missing From Toronto's Official Plan? The Ontario Planning Journal, 17 (4): 25-26


Wekerle, G. R. 2002. Resisting Sprawl: Environmental Challenges and Sustainable Regional Planning. Proceedings of Leading Edge, Niagara Escarpment Commisson Conference. CD-ROM.


Wekerle, G. R. 2001. Planning for Urban Agriculture in Suburban Development in Canada Urban Agriculture Magazine, July, 4, 36-37.


Wekerle, G. R. 2000. Civil Society: A Challenge to Planners Planners Network Journal, July/August, no.142, 3, 16-17.


Wekerle, G. R. 2000. From Eyes on the Street to Safe Cities, Places 13 (1): 44-49.


Wekerle, G. R. 2000. Multicultural Gardens: Changing the Landscape of the City. International Symposium Urban Agriculture and Horticulture: the Linkage with Urban Planning, Domaene Dahlem, Berlin, July 07-09 TRIALOG-Association for Research into Housing, Planning and Building in the Developing World


G.R. Wekerle
and C. Whitzman. 1995. Safe Cities: Guidelines for Planning Design and Management. New York: John Wiley.


G.R. Wekerle.
1996.Planning for Safety in Cities, Plan Canada, pp. 2-5, March.


G.R. Wekerle
and C. Whizman. 1996. “Controlling Urban Crime: What Can Cities Do?,” Plan Canada, 5 pp. March.


Keil, R., G. Wekerle and D. Bell (eds) 1996. Local Places in the Age of the Global City. Montreal: Black Rose J. Simon and G.R. Wekerle. 1987. Responses to Austerity: The Miniaturization of the Urban Neighbourhood. In W. van Vliet et al. (eds.), Housing and Neighbourhoods: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions from North America and Europe. Greenwood Press.


J. Simon and G. R. Wekerle. 1986. Development of the new urban neighborhood, Plan Canada, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 46-51, April.


G.R. Wekerle
. 1981. Urban planning: making it work for women, Town Planning Quarterly, Vol. 62, pp. 8-10, March.


G.R. Wekerle,
R. Dragicevic, R. Jordan, I. Kszyk and M. Sorenson. 1980. Contradictions in Ownership, Participation and Control: Condominium Housing. In C. Ungerson and V. Karn (eds.), The Consumer Experience of Housing: Cross National Perspectives. Farnborough, England: Gower Publishing Company, pp. 170-191.


G. R. Wekerle.
1977. Residential Choice and Housing Satisfaction in a Singles High-rise Complex. In D.J. Conway (ed.), Human Response to Tall Buildings. Stroudsburg, PA: Dowden, Hutchinson, Ross, pp. 230-239.


G.R. Wekerle.
1976. Vertical Village: Social Contacts in a Singles Highrise Complex Sociological Focus, Vol. 9, pp. 299-315, August.


G.R. Wekerle.
L. Lapointe, S. Lander and A. Gardner. 1976. Neighbourhood Change in the SouthwestJunction. Ottawa: Ministry of State for Urban Affairs.


G.R. Wekerle,
G. Binet, G. Kozak, H. Pickering and S. Lander). 1976. Neighbourhood Change in South Riverdale. Ottawa: Ministry of State for Urban Affairs.


G.R. Wekerle,
M. Whitaker and S. Wilder. 1974. The White-painting Process: Middle Class Succession and Working Class Neighbours.” In New From Old: A Pilot Study of Housing Rehabilitation and Neighbourhood Change. Toronto: Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation.


G.R. Wekerle
and E.T. Hall. 1972. Highrise Living: Can the Same Design Serve Young and Old?”, Ekistics, Vol. 33, pp. 186-191, March.

Current courses

Search current courses