Introducing Assistant Professors Holly Caggiano and Kuni Kamizaki

A woman sitting at a bistro table, and a man in a blue T-shirt
We are proud to now announce that Dr. Holly Caggiano and Dr. Kuni Kamizaki have both accepted offers as SCARP faculty, and will be joining us later this 2023!

These new faces join us at a time of exciting new growth and transformation for SCARP. More than just increasing our number of instructors, the School has set out to find, bring, and benefit from experts in some of the key questions that concern planning today. We’ve already had the privilege of welcoming Professor Kelly Clifton, an internationally-recognised expert on transport and land use interactions and has become our J. Armand Bombardier Foundation endowed Chair in Regional Transportation Planning.

Now, it is equally a privilege to welcome these experts in their respective fields and the insights and benefits they bring to the School and the larger community.

Holly Caggiano

holly, sitting at bistro table smiling
SCARP’s new Assistant Professor in Planning (Climate Justice and Environmental Planning)

Dr. Holly Caggiano received her PhD in Planning & Public Policy from Rutgers’ Bloustein School, after which she was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton’s Andlinger Center for Energy & Environment in the Behavioral Science for Policy Lab.

More about her new position

With this new faculty position, SCARP ventured to bring in someone with particular expertise in the field of climate justice and environmental planning, broadly defined. 

More about Holly Caggiano

Caggiano notes she’s the first person in her immediate family to graduate college. She also tells us she loves creative writing, reading speculative fiction, walking around new places, and her two cats.

Finally, she explains that, in her life and work, she aims to center joy, care, and mutuality.

Though we face overwhelming global challenges, I believe we can envision a better future and build it collectively, starting in our own communities.

As she elaborated in a recent Grist article:

When we seem to lose opportunities for transformative policy over and over again, hopelessness can creep in. Many of us are angry, alarmed, worried, grieving, and even feeling betrayed as fossil interests weaponize our desire for change by shifting responsibility for reducing our collective carbon footprint to consumers. My work has reassured me, however, that small is still beautiful, and that acting at a local scale can improve both climate outcomes and create vibrant communities. It is not time to abandon hope.

Holly, smiling on an e-bike my the coast
Some of Dr. Caggiano’s Research Insights

Caggiano’s research explores social dimensions of the renewable energy transition in the US and Canada. She is interested in how diverse stakeholder groups form coalitions to advocate for environmental change. This work connects patterns across decision-making scales, exploring the ways individual decision-making influences collective action and how collective action disrupts existing relations of power. 

Drawing from her interdisciplinary social science background, Caggiano’s work critically evaluates both top-down and bottom-up approaches that aim to advance equitable climate change mitigation & adaptation efforts.

Her dissertation research explored social-behavioral drivers of household resource consumption at the food-energy-water nexus.

Her Teaching

Dr. Caggiano has previously taught classes on consumerism and sustainability, as well as on population, resources, and the environment.

Kuni Kamizaki

Kuni, in blue T-shirt
SCARP’s new Assistant Professor in Planning (Housing)

Dr. Kuni Kamizaki is an interdisciplinary urban planning researcher with over 10 years of professional experience in housing and affordable housing, social planning and social policy, community economic development, and engaged research.

More about his new position

With this new faculty position, SCARP ventured to bring in a true expert in the field of housing, broadly defined.

Housing is essential to our every life, and yet it is a source of social justice and displacement.

Kamizaki is joining a School with close ties to the community, with opportunities for insight and partnership in benefit to the larger BC community and beyond.

More about Kuni Kamizaki

Born and raised in Japan, and trained as a planner in Canada, Dr. Kamizaki now commits himself to addressing issues of social injustice and anti-BIPOC racism. He believes activist scholarship through engaged research and actionable questions is indispensable to planning. He says that, as a recent immigrant, he takes to heart the importance of mentoring and institution building for creating an inclusive and reflective learning environment, often creating training and mentoring opportunities for students from BIPOC and other underrepresented groups.

He previously taught at the University of Toronto’s Department of Geography and Planning. He brings with him expertise in housing systems in Canada and Japan, planning experience in community-led housing solutions, and a proven track record of high impact engaged research.

Some accomplishments and ideas for the future

In his professional role regarding social planning and community economic development in what he describes as a highly marginalized neighbourhood under gentrification pressures, Dr. Kamizaki developed ground-breaking initiatives including the establishment of Toronto’s first grassroots CLT, the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust (PNLT), which has become an inspirational model of community planning and engagements for other neighbourhoods.

He plans to build new partnerships with social and housing policy makers and community groups, while deepening existing connections with CLTs in Vancouver. He also plans to bring opportunities for collaboration with Toronto-based and national organizations including the Canadian Network of CLTs and international partners from Tokyo.

Some of Dr. Kamizaki's Research Insights
A crowd of people in a classroom, holding up matching flags with trees
Kuni Kamizaki's Parkdale Neighbourhood Plan launch

Kuni Kamizaki’s research adopts a multi-scalar approach to urban transformation, issues of displacement and housing insecurity, and community-led alternatives for social and racial justice. His overall goals are to harness planning research for pragmatic, transformative change with direct accountability to communities and movements.

Just some strands of his research include:

  • A Tokyo-based examination of planning responses to unprecedented population shrinkage and aging, with a focus on emerging forms of inequalities in the post-growth context
  • The potential of community land trusts (CLTs) to challenge displacement and pursue housing justice
  • Community engaged research to explore anti-racist and decolonial approaches to the CLT and land stewardship in Toronto’s Chinatown
  • How Tokyo’s speculative urbanization generates social costs that are borne by peripheries
His teaching

Dr. Kamizaki’s teaching stresses the role of theory in planning practice and research, inspiring students to build normative and ethical orientations beyond statutory planning. He also teaches practical methods for equity-based practices such as participatory action research, facilitation, and grant writing.

In his teaching, he prioritises building community-university partnerships with organizations working with marginalized and racialized communities, centering equity and underrepresented voices in planning and urban studies curricula while enabling community partners to shape university-based research to build community power.

Kamizaki also produced a workshop on anti-oppression approaches to planning research, to equip students with an equity lens for their research.

Now is the time, more than ever, for plannning to play a key role; and planning educators and researchers can collaborate with those at the forefront of action for change. One way to pursue this, I believe, is engaged research and teaching with ethical responsibility and accountability to the communities that we work with.

We believe Dr. Caggiano’s and Dr. Kamizaki’s work deepens SCARP’s existing strengths and its international reputation for engaged scholarship and planning in partnership. Their lens on the crucial pursuits of climate justice and housing equity will be transformative for the School, and we all look forward to benefiting from their experience, ideas, and impressive momentum.

Dr. Kamizaki joins us as of July 2023, and Dr. Caggiano as of August 2023.
We look forward to welcoming both as they arrive!
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