faculty of environmental studies

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Foster, Jennifer J

Foster, Jennifer J

Associate Professor
Urban Ecologies Certificate Coordinator
BA Hons (Cultural Studies) - Trent
PhD (Environmental Studies) - York

Areas of Academic Interest

  • Urban environmental justice
  • Habitat creation and novel ecologies
  • Post-industrial urban space
  • Political ecology and cultural politics of representation
  • Urban environmental aesthetics
  • Contemporary arts as planning discourse

I am interested in the ways that ecological systems permeate cities, the ways that human perceptions, beliefs, values and preferences of diverse landscape actors are expressed through ecological decisions, and the effects of cities on non-human urban inhabitants. My research on urban habitat creation and ecological restoration focuses on the interplay between social and biophysical dynamics in deindustrialized spaces. This includes the theory and practice of environmental planning and design, with particular attention to the constitution of post-industrial urban landscapes such as former pits and quarries, dumps, factories and rail lines. Central themes of this work are urban ecology, environmental justice and environmental aesthetics.

My current research focuses on urban landscape form and processes across cities such as Toronto, Paris, New York and Milwaukee. I investigate how industrial legacies are interpreted and expressed ecologically, particularly in terms of how these spaces are imagined, constructed, inhabited and distributed.

Major research projects

From rubble to refuge: Ecological restoration and the aggregate product cycle in Toronto, Canada - SSHRC Standard Research Grant

A short history of Land: An exhibition on possible futures- SSHRC Research Creation Grant (with Janine Marchessault and Chloe Brushwood Rose)|

LandlSlide: Possible Futures: http://www.landslide-possiblefutures.com/

Other positions/affiliations

  • Board Member, Society for Ecological Restoration Ontaro
  • Co-Chair, Access and Public Education Committee, York University - TD Community Engagement Centre

Select publications

Foster, Jennifer. (2012). "York University: Sustainability leadership and challenges at a large post-secondary institution”. in McKeown, Rosalyn and Victor Nolet (eds). Schooling for Sustainable Development in Canada and the United States (New York: Springer).

Foster, Jennifer. (2011). "Off track, in nature: Constructing ecology on old rail lines in Paris and New York". Nature and Culture 5(3): 316-337.

Foster, Jennifer. (2010). “What are the ethics of attracting wildlife to contaminated land?”. Society for Ecological Restoration Ontario 2010 Native Plants Guide.

Foster, Jennifer. 2010. “Landscape continuity: Ecology, power and social order in environmental planning”. Planning Theory and Practice 11(2): 167-186.

Foster, Jennifer. 2008. “Environmental aesthetics, ecological action and social justice”. In Bondi, Liz, Laura Cameron, Joyce Davidson and Mick Smith (eds). Emotion, Place and Culture (Aldershot: Ashgate Press). pp. 97 – 114.

Foster, Jennifer. 2007. “Toronto’s Leslie Street Spit: Aesthetics and the ecology of marginal land”. Environmental Philosophy Volume 4, No. 1&2: 117-133.

Foster, Jennifer. “The Don Valley Brickworks: Whose Restoration? Whose Space?”. The Journal of Urban Design. Volume 10 (3): 331-352.

Sandberg, Anders and Jennifer Foster. 2005. "Challenging Lawn and Order: Environmental Politics of Lawn Care Reform in Canada". Environmental Politics. 14(4): 478-494.

Foster, Jennifer. 2005. "Exurban Ecological Restoration and Social Exclusion" Proceedings of the 2004 International Conference of Critical Geographers.

Foster, Jennifer and L. Anders Sandberg. 2004. "Friends or foe? Invasive species and public space in Toronto, Canada". Geographical Review. 94(2):178-198.

Foster, Jennifer. 2003. "The Natural Ambiguity of Native Species". UnderCurrents. 13: 6-9.

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