Doctoral citations from our most recent PhD alumni

Man at False Creek, in t-shirt and baseball cap

Dr. Paul Akaabre

Dr. Akaabre studied traditional leasehold tenure in Ghana and found that the leasehold model is not equitable and secure, and in consequence, undermines investment in housing improvements and redevelopment. His study led to the development of a "famivest 80-20" model, aimed at securing improved tenure and financing housing redevelopment in cities.

A woman with sunglasses atop her head, in a grassy walkway

Dr. Lauren Brown, 2022

Dr. Brown explored the practices and policies surrounding homeless shelters in the U.S. and the ways different levels of policy are understood, constructed, and navigated in people's day-to-day lives. This research challenges how urban governments are managing homelessness, and the resultant stigmatization and criminalization of poverty.

Dr. Mayers, in Vancouver cityscape

Dr. Rebecca Mayers, 2022

Dr. Mayers examined the structural and societal systems that preclude equity-seeking groups from accessing safe environments and services that promote sustainable, healthy living. The purpose of her doctoral research was to examine the process in which decisions are made to propose more equitable city bicycling networks.

Dr. Stone, in hedge-filled courtyard

Dr. Jeremy Stone, 2022

Dr. Stone demonstrates the nature of gentrification as a disaster for low-income communities, and how Hurricane Katrina cascaded into a subsequent disaster of gentrification for the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans. The dissertation includes a co-produced advocacy film to support voting for anti-gentrification candidates in New Orleans.

Dr. Douglas, leaning on a motorcycle

Dr. Eric Douglas, 2021

Dr. Douglas surveyed over 900 residents in the Greater Vancouver Regional District and conducted 15 in-depth interviews to try to find out. Read his thesis at and learn how high-quality public space might improve residents' sense of community in high-density neighbourhoods.

Lili, in bush-laden courtyard

Dr. Lili Shulman, 2021

Built form, health, housing, and demographic indicators are explored in Dr. Shulman's research. While results point to gentrification, they do not indicate displacement of low-income households. Findings are particularly important to policymakers and planners in facilitating a discussion about accessibility and social inequality.

Dr. Adhikari, astride a bicycle

Dr. Binay Adhikari, 2021

Dr. Adhikari examined synergy between pedestrian design features and neighbourhood walkability to explain physical activity in children, teens, and older adults. His findings can be used to design cities with better pedestrian environments by retrofitting existing urban infrastructure and harnessing neighbourhood walkability for health benefits.

Dr. Miro, outside red structure

Dr. Jacopo Miro, 2020

Dr. Miro explored how place helps to mitigate and reinforce socio-economic divides. He found that new patterns of urban disadvantage in the suburbs are the result of both push and pull factors, and that for a growing number of low-income newcomers, a move to the suburbs presents both challenges and opportunities.

Dr. King-Scobie, outside by window-sill

Dr. Cher King-Scobie, 2020

Dr. King-Scobie studied how Canadian cities manage floods and recover from flood disasters. Her research developed new data, analysis, and tools to support municipal planning in balancing the protection of functioning rivers while protecting cities from floods.

Dr. Patrick, on park trail

Dr. Lyana Patrick, 2019

Dr. Patrick explored what urban Indigenous community planning looks like at the intersection of health and justice. She found that frontline workers in one organization create spaces of belonging for Indigenous peoples through relational practices that emphasize personal accountability, integrity, trust, and the importance of culture and ceremony.

Dr. Yumagulova, among flowering bushes

Dr. Lilia Yumagulova, 2019

Dr. Yumagulova examined how cities and regions can build their resilience to disasters and climate change using the Metro Vancouver region as her case study. Her research shows the importance of collaboration and learning to ensure coordinated, multi-level governance of risk. 

Dr. Ugarte, among flowering bushes

Dr. Magdalena Ugarte, 2019

Dr. Ugarte examined the evolution of Indigenous policy in Chile, and how it has enabled Indigenous dispossession and ignored Indigenous legal orders. Her research suggests that the tensions between the state and Indigenous peoples today are the visible face of different legal orders clashing, making a call for planners to engage in legal pluralism.

Dr. Barr, against stone wall

Dr. Victoria Barr, 2016

Dr. Barr examined how community planners and public health professionals are working together to improve health and foster social equity within BC communities. Her work focused on the best ways to support collaboration among diverse fields. This research is useful to policymakers seeking to build healthier and more vibrant communities for all. 

Dr. Machler, by window facing urban block

Dr. Leonard Machler, 2016

Dr. Machler investigated whether people who lived in areas of Metro Vancouver that have a greater variety of housing types were more likely to settle in their preferred neighbourhoods. This research is important for policymakers who seek to combat the housing affordability problems of our region. 

Dr. Feng against white backdrop

Dr. Lisi Feng, 2015

Dr. Feng studied migrant groups striving to integrate into Canadian society. She found that the different integration experiences of mainland Chinese in Vancouver is shaped by both public policies in China and Vancouver. This contributes to our understanding of integration as diverse pathways rather than a unified process with a definitive outcome.

Dr. Wong, in front of ornate open wall fixture

Dr. Siu Wai Wong, 2015

Dr. Wong studied local governance reforms which were introduced in China to advance urbanization. She found that the reforms resulted in state building rather than state power decentralization. This refines our understanding of how and why China has maintained rapid urban growth despite land disputes and social tensions in different localities. 

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