Faculty of Environmental Studies


Rahder, Barbara (Sabbatical)

Rahder, Barbara
BSc (Psychology) - Portland State
PhD (Urban and Regional Planning) - Toronto

Areas of Academic Interest

  • Urban planning history, theory, and education
  • Access to affordable housing, community services, and public space
  • Social sustainability, diversity, equity and justice
  • Women and planning
  • Participatory research and planning
  • Planning in Sri Lanka

My research focuses on issues of equity and access within urban communities. My early research examined class-based segregation, exploring the dynamics that reproduce class differences within neighbourhoods, and analyzing the origins of this segregation in nineteenth century Toronto. This understanding of social reproduction led me to work with varied communities and organizations to address issues of inequity in housing and social services. I've worked with women's groups, immigrant groups, Aboriginal groups, public housing tenants, and a host of governmental and non-governmental organizations, among others. Recent research extended into the realm of urban public space more broadly to explore issues of social sustainability and diversity in three Canadian cities: Montreal, Toronto, and Calgary. My research methods aim to be feminist and participatory in order to allow research participants to explore and express their own diverse and nuanced experiences in their own words.

My current teaching concentrates in two areas: planning theory and environmental epistemologies. For planning theory, I emphasize understanding ideas and concepts within a social historical framework, taking note of the specific time and place in which these theories emerged, and then assessing the implications of their concepts and underlying values for planning practice. I’ve taught this course at the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka, as well as at FES. Environmental epistemologies are explored in the PhD Research Seminar with specific readings selected to reflect the interests of the newest cohort of PhD students.

Major research projects

Social Sustainability, Diversity and Public Space in Three Canadian Cities
(SSHRC Standard Research Grant with Co-Investigators: Ranu Basu, Liette Gilbert, Susan L. McGrath and Patricia K. Wood, 2006-2009)

Select prizes and awards

  • Fellow, Canadian Institute of Planners, 2004
  • Nominated, Chester Rapkin Award for the best paper in the Journal of Planning Education & Research Vol. 18, 1999

Select publications

2013 “Other Ways of Knowing Your Place: Gender and Justice in the Work of Social Sustainability” with Heather Maclean in Canadian Journal of Urban Research. Vol.22, No.1, pp. 145-166.

2013 “The Exclusionary Politics of Creative Communities: The Case of Kensington Market Pedestrian Sundays” with Heather Maclean in Canadian Journal of Urban Research. Vol.22, No.1, pp. 90-110.

2013 “Creative Class Conflict in Kensington Market, Toronto” with Heather Maclean in Bhumi: The Planning Research Journal. Special Issue of Selected Papers from the FARU International Research Symposium 2012, pp. 28-40.

2010 "When Rationality is Unreasonable: Planning Theory in Sri Lanka", Bhumi, The Planning Research Journal, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 1-10.

2009 “Invisible Sisters: Women and Environmental Justice in Canada.” In J. Agyeman, P. Cole, R. Haluza-DeLay, and P. O’Riley (eds.) Speaking for Ourselves: Environmental Justice in Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press. pp. 81-96.

2004 "The uncertain city: Making space(s) for difference." with Richard Milgrom in Canadian Planning and Policy—Amenagement et politique le Canada. Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 27-45.

2004 "Where is feminism in planning going: Appropriation or transformation?" with Carol Altilia in Planning Theory. Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 107-116.

2003 "An Environmental Framework for Women’s Health," with Rebecca Peterson in Head, Heart and Hand: Partnerships for Women's Health in Canadian Environments. Toronto: National Network on Environments and Women's Health. pp. 7-48.

2002 Just Doing It: Popular Collective Action in the Americas. (ed. with Gene Desfor and Deborah Barndt). Montreal: Black Rose Books. 193 pp.

2000 "Pedagogy under duress: Teaching planning theory as history," Journal of the International Planning History Society, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 27-32.

1999 "Victims no longer: Participatory planning with a diversity of women at risk of abuse," Journal of Planning Education and Research, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 221-232.

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