faculty of environmental studies

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Ongoing research projects

Reconciling Canada: Non-Aboriginal Discourses and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Investigator(s):
Co-Investigator(s):

Tom Clark, University of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

Agency:
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
Term:
2010 (Extended/Renewal: 2011-2013)
Description:

The research explores non-Aboriginal attitudes towards Canadian reconciliation agenda in an international-comparative perspective. It argues that reconciliation as both public policy and social goal is highly dependent on a much greater consciousness of the ideological processes of non-Aboriginal communities in Canada. Moreover, a key to understanding reconciliation as both public policy and social goal is to explore public discourse within a moment of concern or obligation (Wikimedia Commons file photo).

Mainstreaming the Ontario Renewable Energy Program within the Municipal and Private Sectors
Investigator(s):
Co-Investigator(s):

Farid Bensebaa, Tyler Hamilton, and Peter Love

Agency:
SSHRC
Term:
2011-2012
Description:

The project aims to support the application of sustainable energy policies and technologies in the development of the renewable energy market in Ontario. The activity is also aimed at expanding public knowledge about existing renewable energy programs and training graduate students on knowledge mobilization techniques focused on sustainable energy issues.

Taking Action II: Fostering Aboriginal Leadership in HIV Prevention Using Arts-Based Methods
Investigator(s):

Sarah Flicker and Jessica Yee (Native Youth Sexual Health Network)

Collaborators:

June Larkin & Jean Paul Restoule (UofT), Claudia Mitchell (McGill), Randy Jackson (Canadian Aboriginal Aids Network), and Tracey Prentice (UofOttawa)

Agency:
Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR)
Term:
2008-2010 (Extension/Renewal: 2011-2014)
Description:

Taking Action II is a national project that aims to explore how Aboriginal youth are becoming HIV leaders in their communities and to understand HIV in the context of communities, culture and colonization. The initial research aimed to build aboriginal youth capacity in the areas of HIV prevention knowledge and resource development to address HIV issues in their local communities. It also examined the efficacy of engaging aboriginal youth in HIV prevention leadership using arts-based approaches).

Sharing Research Findings in the Canadian Arctic: Assessing the Integration of Inuit Knowledge in Policy Communications about Climate Change Related Food Insecurity
Co-Investigator(s):

Rachel Hirsch and Martin Bunch

Agency:
SSHRC
Term:
2011-2012
Description:

The research explores how integration of various types of knowledge – indigenous, local, government, scientific – facilitates or constrains communications about food insecurity decision making. The project will help link completed research, policies currently in place and being developed, and actual practices of communities all aimed at promoting ecological and human well-being in the face of changing environment.

Suburban Identities in the Global City Between Competition and Cooperation: Toronto and Frankfurt
Investigator(s):
Co-Applicant(s):
Agency:
SSHRC
Term:
2011-2014
Description:

This research project brings together academics from York University in Toronto and from Goethe University in Frankfurt to examine how supportive policy environments in commercial and residential land development, security and transportation infrastructure are created in decentralized mid-size suburban municipalities in the Frankfurt and Toronto regions. The research will study how these municipalities react to the challenges of belonging geographically and functionally to a global city region (Wikimedia Commons file photo).

Assessing the Relationship between Internal Ferrous Iron Loading and Cyanobacteria Bloom Formation in Lake Winnipeg
Investigator(s):
Agency:
Environment Canada (EC) Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund
Term:
2010-2011
Description:

The research aims to quantify internal loading rates of iron and phosphorus by measuring iron and phosphorus release from sediment cores collected at several stations throughout the study sites. The project will provide insights on the conditions that directly lead to bloom formation and will enhance research and monitoring capacity to assist in policy decision making at local and provincial levels (Wikimedia Commons file photo).

Quantification of the Internal Phosphorus Load in Lake Simcoe to Improve Phosphorus Budgets
Investigator(s):
Agency:
Environment Canada
Term:
2010-2011
Description:

The project assembles historical data, including oxygen and temperature profiles, External phosphorus and water loads, to calculate, compare and determine contribution to water total phosphorus concentration (Wikimedia Commons file photo)

Ontario EcoSchools
Investigator(s):
Collaborators:

Ontario District School Boards

Agency:
Ontario Ministry of Education and Ontario Ministry of Environment
Term:
2011-2012
Description:

As part of the government’s strategic commitment to environmental education, the funding will be used to build capacity for environmental education and action in Ontario schools such as curriculum development, certification programs, upgrading French language resources, web development and outreach activities across the province.

Community-Based Environmental Education and Mobilization in Marginalized Urban Communities for Equitable Watershed Governance
Investigator(s):
Collaborators:

Doorsteps Neighbourhood Services

Agency:
SSHRC
Term:
2011-2012
Description:

The project will employ a participatory methodology focusing on urban watershed issues and challenges as identified by community members. The methods and materials developed in community-run workshops, and environmental and civic engagement initiatives with adults and seniors in neighborhoods near York will be disseminated nationally and internationally via community organizations’ websites as well as academic and professional publications.

Green Words, Green Worlds: Environmental Literatures and Politics in Canada
Investigator(s):
Collaborators:

Ella Soper-Jones and Joshua Russell

Agency:
SSHRC
Term:
2011-2012
Description:

This is a public forum, conference, and workshop sponsored by the Sustainable Writing Laboratory (SWL) to be held on October 21-23, 2011 at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto. The conference-workshop aims to consider what politicizing the environmental aesthetic might mean in the context of public culture, politics, and the environmental imagination by Canadian writers and scholars on the subject of Canadian literatures.

Exurbia and its impact on environment and politics in the Lake Simcoe Watershed
Investigator(s):
Agency:
SSHRC
Term:
2011-2012
Description:

The study explores the impact of exurbia within the Lake Simcoe watershed. It takes a comprehensive look at the process of exurbanization and its impact on environment and politics in the area. Drawing on traditions from urban and regional planning, cultural geography, landscape ecology and political ecology, it considers the governance and land use planning context, landscape analysis including ecology, and analysis of residents’ attitudes towards local nature and the global environment.

Tracking Polar Bear Foraging Success in the Canadian Arctic
Investigator(s):
Agency:
Kenneth Molson Foundation/York University Foundation
Term:
2011-2012
Description:

The project will monitor trends in foraging as well as nutritional conditions of polar bears in the Canadian Arctic. (Wikimedia Commons file photo).

Canadian Polar Bear Body Condition
Investigator(s):
Agency:
Environment Canada
Term:
2011-2012
Description:

The project will monitor trends in the nutritional condition of polar bears in the Canadian Arctic and will examine the relationships between body condition and ongoing environmental change.

Building Substantive Transparency: Electoral Process, Oil Revenue and Democratic Governance in the Niger Delta of Nigeria and Gulf of Guinea
Investigator(s):

Anna Zalik and Ike Okonta

Collaborators:

New Centre for Social Research and Social Action Integrated Development Centre, Nigeria

Agency:
SSHRC
Term:
2011-2014
Description:

The central goal of the research is to examine the implications of initiatives seeking substantive transparency for democratic leadership shared prosperity and energy security in Nigeria and globally. Grounded in the literature and conceptual approaches to the political economy of oil, and democratization and development, the research will identify prospects for innovative synergies between these different transparency initiatives to promote a more coherent regulatory framework and increased public access to information (Wikimedia Commons photo file).

Improving Accessibility of Research Ethics Boards for Community-Based Research in Canada
Investigator(s):

Sarah Flicker, Robb Travers (Laurier), Stephanie Ann Nixon (UofT), Jacqueline Gahagan (Dalhousie), Catherine Anne Worthington (UCalgary), Louise Binder (CTAC), Adrian Guta, UofT, and Mike Wilson (OHTN)

Agency:
CIHR
Term:
2008-2011
Description:

The research aims to provide a platform that advocates for a dual focus on community and individual rights in community-based research (CBR) that respects multiple ethical norms and traditions. Reviews of current Research Ethics Board (REB) practices are conducted in Canada to explore common HIV/AIDS related CBR ethical dilemmas and to develop and pilot test an assessment tool for CBR ethics review.

Memory, Urban Violence and Performance in Jamaica
Investigator(s):
Agency:
SSHRC
Term:
2008-2011
Description:

The research aims to document ways in which communities perform their responses to violence in practices of remembering and forgetting. It will also review these performances against official responses to national inquiries and media reports, as well as analyze the relationship between performed practices of remembering and forgetting in the reproduction of urban violence

From Rubble to Refuge: Ecological Restoration and the Aggregate Product Cycle in Toronto, Canada
Investigator(s):
Collaborators:
Agency:
SSHRC
Term:
2008-2012
Description:

The research aims to advance knowledge and understanding of the relationship between urban industrialization and environment naturalization in the GTA. It uses the aggregate product cycle as a case study to explore the reconstitution of the urban landscape and the ways aesthetic conceptualizations of urban space affect conversion of industrial sites into ecological habitats.

Environmental Assessment Processes of Canadian Frontier Oil and Gas
Co-Investigator(s):

Gail FraserAnna Zalik and Angela Carter (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

Agency:
SSHRC
Term:
2009-2012
Description:

The project aims to create a pan-Canadian network for communities to share information and experiences about oil and gas developments and to provide analysis to inform environmental policy at the provincial and federal levels. The mentoring of graduate students involved in the project will serve to train the next generation of critical Canadian oil scholars.

Global Suburbanisms: Governance, Land, and Infrastructure in the 21st century
Investigator(s):

Roger Keil (York),  Ute Lehrer (York), Lisa Drummond (York),  Shubhra Gururani (York),   Douglas Young (York), Fulong Wu (Cardiff),  Jill Grant (Dalhousie),  Richard Harris, (McMaster),  Zhigang Li (Sun Yat-sen University),  Jochen Monstadt (Technische Universitat Darmstadt),  Jamie Peck (UBC),  Elvin Wyly (UBC),  Pierre Hamel (University of Montreal),  Nick Phelps (University College London),  Rob Shields (University of Alberta),  Jan Nijman (University of Miami),  Solomon Benjamin (National Institute of Advanced Studies),  Pierre Filion (University of Waterloo),  Alan Mabin (University of Witwatersrand),  Robin Bloch (University of Wolverhampton),  Sonia Hirt (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University),  and Paul Knox (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)

Co-Investigator(s):

Liette Gilbert (York),  Stefan Kipfer (York), Laam Hae (York), Karl Schmid (York), Julie-Anne Boudreau, (Institut national de la recherche scientifique - INRS),  Anne Rademacher (New York University),  Christian Schmid (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich),  Ludger Basten (Technische Universitat Dortmund),  Matthias Bernt (Universitat Leipzig),  Dirk Heinrichs (Universitat Leipzig),  Byron Miller (UCalgary),  George Owusu (University of Ghana),  David Wilson (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign),  Richard Milgrom (University of Manitoba),  Per Gunnar Roe (University of Oslo),  Caroline Andrew (UOttawa),  Deborah Cowen (UofT), Phuc To (UofT),  Alan Walks (UofT),  Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly (University of Victoria),  Mark Whitehead (University of Wales, Aberystwyth),  and Alison Todes (University of Witwatersrand).

Agency:
SSHRC
Term:
2010-2017
Description:

Based on the experience of Canadian suburbanization, but ranging from North America’s wealthy gated communities to Europe’s high-rise-dominated suburbs, the exploding outskirts of Indian and Chinese cities to the slums and squatter settlements of Africa and Latin America, this project is the first to systematically take stock of worldwide suburban developments while analyzing their governance models, land use, infrastructure and suburban everyday life.

Environmental Stewardship and Product Branding - Modeling GWP Reductions Associated with Sub-Watershed - Wide Transition to Organic Farming
Investigator(s):
Agency:
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC) subgrant)
Term:
2010-2012
Description:

This project is a co-application with NSAC for AAFC’s Organic Science Cluster research program. Rod and Martin are collaborating on a project on environmental stewardship and product branding to model global warming potential reductions associated with watershed transition to organic farming.

Effects of Experimental Sulfate Additions on Nutrient Cycling, Cyanobacterial Abundunce and Mercury Methylation Lake 227, Experimental Lakes Area
Investigator(s):
Agency:
NSERC
Term:
2009-2012
Description:

The research aims to assess the effect of sulphate levels on several impacts associated with excessive fertilization of lakes. The study is conducted in a remote, fishless lake in northwestern Ontario’s Experimental Lakes Area. Sulphate is believed to play a key role in regulating various microbial processes in North American lakes and differences in sulphate concentrations may explain variance among individual lakes.

Predicting the Influence of Mixing Hydrodynamics and Food Web Structure on Spatial Variability of Phosphorous Concentrations in Lake Simcoe
Investigator(s):
Agency:
Environment Canada (EC)/Ontario Ministry of Environment (ENE)
Term:
2009-2012
Description:

The project applies lessons learned in developing the Estuary and Lake Computer Model (ELCOM) hydrodynamic 3D model and Computational Aquatic Ecosystem Dynamics (CAEDYM) biological/biogeochemical models for Lakes Erie and Ontario to Lake Simcoe. It examines the effects of climate change, biological community structure and phosphorus concentrations on oxygen depletion offshore and macrophyte growth and fish habitat inshore.

York-MOE Partnership on Lake Simcoe
Investigator(s):
Agency:
NSERC
Term:
2009-2014
Description:

The project aims to develop and enhance understanding of the ecological issues pertaining to Lake Simcoe to protect, improve or restore the elements that contribute to the ecological health of its watershed, including water quality, hydrology, heritage, and hydrologic features and functions. (Wikimedia Commons file photo)

Particulate Organic Carbon (POC) Formation and Phosphorus/Iron Supply Ratios Along pH and Trophic Gradients in Lakes
Investigator(s):
Agency:
SSHRC
Term:
2001-2013
Description:

This is an extended research project on particulate organic carbon formation and production of labile iron in boreal streams to a broader range of lake and stream types along trophic and pH gradients. The project is intended to provide critical biogeochemical information that is directly relevant to climate change scientists, freshwater ecologists and environmental managers (Wikimedia Commons file photo).

Strengthening the Role of Civil Society in Water Sector Governance Towards Climate Change Adaptation in African Cities: Durban, Maputo and Nairobi
Investigator(s):
Collaborators:

University of Kwazulu-Natal, University of Nairobi, Eduardo Mondlane University, Community Development Foundation, IUCN Mozambique, Jubilee South Africa.

Agency:
International Development Research Centre (IDRC) - Climate Change Adaptation in Africa
Term:
2010-2013
Description:

This CCAA research and capacity development program links civil society organizations, universities, local governments, students, and low-income community groups in the search for governance structures that enable civil society groups to play an active part in urban water governance and urban water policy making. The project will open up opportunity for learning and capacity building of civil society organizations in the three cities to address climate change vulnerabilities in urban Africa.

Predicting the Influence of Mixing Hydrodynamics and Food Web Structure on Spatial Variability of Phosphorous Concentrations in Lake Simcoe
Investigator(s):
Agency:
Environment Canada (EC)/Ontario Ministry of Environment (ENE)
Term:
2009-2012
Description:

The project applies lessons learned in developing the Estuary and Lake Computer Model (ELCOM) hydrodynamic 3D model and Computational Aquatic Ecosystem Dynamics (CAEDYM) biological/biogeochemical models for Lakes Erie and Ontario to Lake Simcoe. It examines the effects of climate change, biological community structure and phosphorus concentrations on oxygen depletion offshore and macrophyte growth and fish habitat inshore.

Strengthening the Role of Civil Society in Water Sector Governance Towards Climate Change Adaptation in African Cities: Durban, Maputo and Nairobi
Investigator(s):
Collaborators:

University of Kwazulu-Natal, University of Nairobi, Eduardo Mondlane University, Community Development Foundation, IUCN Mozambique, Jubilee South Africa.

Agency:
International Development Research Centre (IDRC) - Climate Change Adaptation in Africa
Term:
2010-2013
Description:

This CCAA research and capacity development program links civil society organizations, universities, local governments, students, and low-income community groups in the search for governance structures that enable civil society groups to play an active part in urban water governance and urban water policy making. The project will open up opportunity for learning and capacity building of civil society organizations in the three cities to address climate change vulnerabilities in urban Africa.

Modeling Forest Fires and Area Burned for Sustainable Forest Management
Investigator(s):
Agency:
NSERC
Term:
2008-2012
Description:

The research aims to provide an improved understanding of fire activity under climate change and fire suspension as well as to contribute to a more informed decision making-processes for sustainable development in forest management.

Social Sustainability, Diversity, and Public Space in Three Canadian Cities
Co-Investigator(s):

Barbara Rahder (Principal Investigator), Liette Gilbert, Ranu Basu, Susan McGrath, and Patricia Wood (Co-Applicants)

Agency:
SSHRC
Term:
2006-2010 (Extended: 2011)
Description:

The project uses participatory research to examine how well urban public spaces are actually meeting the needs of diverse communities in Canada, and how planning for social sustainability and diversity might better address the needs of a diverse urban populace. The project involves diverse low-income communities in Montreal, Toronto, and Calgary in exploring their experiences and perceptions of public space, mapping the opportunities and barriers they encounter within the city, and articulating what needs to change to promote a more equitable and sustainable urban future.

Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Sustainability and Culture
Investigator(s):
Agency:
Canada Research Chairs
Term:
2004-2014
Description:

The CRC aims to develop an interdisciplinary approach to sustainability and culture – investigating relations between environmental literature and environmental politics. The research emphasizes writing as an analytical realm and research tool to explore environmental cultures and conflicts – probing humanities’ contribution to sustainability and role of literary activity in promoting and extending the environmental public sphere.

Predator-Prey Interactions in Dynamic Arctic Ecosystems
Investigator(s):
Agency:
NSERC
Term:
2008-2013
Description:

The research aims to identify the natural and anthropogenic factors that influence predator foraging over multiple temporal and spatial scales. It will produce improved and innovative methods for studying the foraging habits of free-ranging predators (i.e., polar bears, wolves and wolverines).

Normative Application for Ecological Economics and the Tools for Its Assessment
Investigator(s):
Agency:
SSHRC-McGill subgrant
Term:
2010-2012
Description:

The research examines the relationship between complexity and ethics within the general framework of the moral foundations of ecological economics. The project will update and extend the macroeconomic model LowGrow, including re-specification and/or re-estimation of equations with a capacity to represent Canada’s ‘fair’ share of planetary boundaries, disaggregation of investment, and explicit representation of the financial sector.

Environmental Assessment Processes of Canadian Frontier Oil and Gas
Investigator(s):

Gail FraserAnna Zalik and Angela Carter (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

Agency:
SSHRC
Term:
2009-2012
Description:

The project aims to create a pan-Canadian network for communities to share information and experiences about oil and gas developments and to provide analysis to inform environmental policy at the provincial and federal levels. The mentoring of graduate students involved in the project will serve to train the next generation of critical Canadian oil scholars.