Urban Systems Program Directory

Professor Sarah Moser
Sarah Moser

Director, Urban Systems Program

My research examines how national, religious, and ethnic identities shape cities in Southeast Asia and the Muslim world more broadly. I am fascinated by the transnational circulation of identity, architecture, and urban policy and how cities in the global south are looking elsewhere in the global south rather than to ‘the west’ for inspiration.  My current work investigates the global phenomenon of new master-planned cities (in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America) as national economic strategies and the role they play in nation-building. I am also interested in supra-national religious and ethnic identities and how they are manifested in urban form and used to serve secular nation-building purposes. In particular, I examine emerging pan-Islamic identity, the ‘Arabization’ of Muslim identity, and the effect these broad trends are having on urban areas.

Courses taught: GEOG 325 New Master-Planned Cities, GEOG 494 Urban Field Studies, GEOG 525 Asian Cities in the 21st Century




Prof. Benjamin Forest

Benjamin Forest


I study the geographical nature of identity and identifications, and I am especially concerned with the political representation and construction of race, ethnicity, and nationality. My current research examines the political representation of ethnic minority groups, the use of monuments and memorials for (re)constructing post-Soviet national identities, and various issues of electoral geography, political parties, and governance.

Courses taught: GEOG 217 Cities in the Modern World, GEOG 316 Political Geography, GEOG 417 Urban Geography, GEOG 511 Advanced Political Geography



Prof. Raja Sengupta
Raja Sengupta


My research projects follow three distinct but complementary paths that fall under the broad umbrella of GIScience: agent-based models, spatial tools to measure anthropogenic impacts, and methodological improvements to existing GIScience tools.  Within GIScience, the use of agent-based models (ABMs) for modelling complex biological and social systems is a new and emerging topic of enquiry.  Further, the use of GIS and modeling to understand the impact of anthropogenic disturbance on ecosystems, and thereby direct policy, is an emerging area of enquiry.  Within this broad area of research, my goal has been to develop GIS-based analysis and tools that spatially link disturbances with outcomes at the landscape level, with a view to informing policy-making.  Finally, a third research trajectory focuses on improving existing methods, or creating new algorithms, to solve problems encountered with GIS in its current temporally static, two dimensional, database centric-form.


Courses taught: GEOG 201 Introductory Geo-Information Science, GEOG 307 Socioeconomic Applications of GIS




Prof. Sebastien Breau
Sebastien Breau

At the core of my research is a drive to understand recent geographies of inequality and, in particular, how these geographies may be linked to globalization. I extend our knowledge of these concerns through theoretical and empirical research that focuses on the dynamics of firms in manufacturing industries, North American labour markets and international trade relationships.

More specifically, my research program is shaped around two key foci: (i) studying and interpreting the linkages between international trade, foreign investment and regional economic development and (ii) identifying and analyzing spatial patterns of inequality, as well as understanding what causes underlie these patterns.

Courses taught: GEOG 216 Geography of the World Economy, GEOG 311 Economic Geography, GEOG 351             Quantitative Methods



Prof. Jon Unruh
Jon Unruh

My research, applied and policy work over the past 20 years has focused on the human geography of war affected countries. My particular interest is the recovery of war-affected land and property rights systems. Past work has dealt with Islamic, traditional, legal and warlord approaches to land rights in war-torn scenarios. My experience includes work in war-affected countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, and I occasionally work with the United Nations, donors and a variety of governments to rebuild land and property rights systems after war.

Courses taught: GEOG 210 Global Places and Peoples


Kevin Manaugh

Urban regions are faced with a multitude of challenges, how decision-makers balance, prioritize and trade-off various—often-conflicting—environmental, economic, and social equity goals is a central concern of my research. I predominately examine this through transport systems and how various personal, institutional, and government decision-making processes affect growth and development of urban areas.

Courses taught: GEOG 315 Urban Transportation Geography, GEOG 494 Urban Field Studies


Professor Margaret Kalacska
Margaret Kalacska

My research focuses on the application of remote sensing (satellite and airborne imagery) to environmental and forensic questions. I am particularly interested in historical land use change as documented by early Earth Observation data as well as airborne hyperspectral imagery and high resolution UAV videography.

Courses taught: GEOG 201 Introductory Geo-Information


Prof. Oliver Coomes
Oliver Coomes

I work on issues related to environment and development in tropical forests and forest communities of Latin America, including peasant livelihoods, forest resource use, the forest-poverty nexus, land cover change, adaptation to environmental change, and agrobiodiversity.

Courses taught: GEOG 216 Geography of the World Economy


Professor Natalie Oswin
Natalie Oswin

I study the geographies of sexuality, drawing particularly on queer and postcolonial theories to understand the workings of heteronormativity in various sites. I have conducted field research in Singapore and South Africa and have engaged in conceptual work on the notion of queer geographies, the sexual politics of global urbanism, and the politics of mobility in global cities. I am currently completing a book manuscript on sexual citizenship in Singapore while also beginning research into the expansion of gay-friendly policies in cities worldwide and planning research into foster care and adoption in Canada.

Courses taught: GEOG 217 Cities in the Modern World, GEOG 507 Advanced Social Geography


Prof. Brian Robinson
Brian Robinson

I look at how people meet their needs through use of ecosystems and resources, and the role this plays in development in poorer regions of the world. My research interests began as an early desire to experience other cultures and ways of living, and wanting a better understanding of how people are tied to the environment. Just after college I joined the US Peace Corps and moved to China, and since then have been working on these kinds of development issues.

My research methods draw from ecology, environmental and development economics, development geography, and geographic information sciences. Using an institutional and economic lens, I try to measure and demonstrate the interactions between livelihoods, the natural environment and the institutions that govern them.

Courses taught: GEOG 210 Global Places and Peoples


Ian Strachan
Ian Strachan

Field-based micrometeorological research centered on the ways in which human-induced management and modification of ecosystems influence surface-atmosphere interactions.

Courses taught: GEOG 221 Environment and Health


Prof. Nancy Ross
Nancy Ross

In almost every society throughout the world, health is graded by social position. The poor have worse health than the middle who, in turn, fair less well than the wealthy. My research is focused on how this social gradient is produced and re-produced and how we might alter physical and social environmental conditions to reduce health inequalities.

Courses taught: GEOG 221 Environment and Health


Professor Mylene Riva
Mylene Riva

I am a health geographer and population health researcher. My research is concerned with the social and environmental determinants of Indigenous Peoples’ health and well-being. I am involved in conducting population health surveys and population health intervention research projects to assess and monitor the impacts of policies, programs, and projects formulated outside the health sector on the health of Indigenous Peoples and communities, with a focus on housing programs and policies, and mining development projects.

Courses taught: GEOG 303 Health Geography


Professor Bernhard Lehner
Bernhard Lehner  

My main research theme is large-scale hydrology and hydrography. I analyze the terrestrial water cycle of large river basins, continents, or the entire globe and investigate the effects of climate and global environmental change on regional water resources and hydrologic regimes, including floods and droughts. A particular interest of mine is on blending hydrology with practical applications in freshwater biodiversity conservation, including environmental flow assessments, river habitat classifications, assessing the effects of dams on downstream flow conditions, and aquatic ecosystem services. Hydrological models, global data sets, as well as GIS & Remote Sensing techniques are main components of my research projects. In particular, I am contributing to the improvement and generation of high-quality datasets (e.g. river networks, basins, lakes, wetlands) to eliminate some of the most common restrictions for global hydrological modeling.

Courses taught: GEOG 306 Raster Geo-Information Science


Amy Twigge-Molecey
Amy Twigge-Molecey

Dr. Twigge-Molecey has been a lecturer in the Department of Geography, Planning and the Environment at Concordia University since 2009 and became an Affiliate Assistant Professor in 2016. She completed a BA from McGill University in 2001, with a major in Women's Studies and a minor in International Development Studies. In 2006, she completed a Masters of Urban Planning at McGill University. She was awarded her PhD in Urban Studies in 2013 from the Institut nationale de la recherche scientifique - Centre urbanisation, culture et société (INRS-UCS).

Courses taught: GEOG 331 Urban Social Geography


Prof. Sarah Turner
Sarah Turner

Upland ethnic minorities in peninsula Southeast Asia and southwest China; Hanoi small-scale traders and street vendors; Eastern Indonesia entrepreneurs; livelihood studies; everyday politics and resistance; commodity chain approaches; agrarian change.

Courses taught: GEOG 310 Development Livelihoods, GEOG 381 Geographic Thought and Practice, GEOG 409 Geographies of Developing Asia, GEOG 509 Qualitative Research Methods, GEOG 331 Urban Social Geography


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