Jayne Engle

Jayne Engle is active in research, teaching, and practice. She has experience as a participatory researcher, community development practitioner, urbanist, experimentalist, author, and ecosystem builder in fields of social and civic innovation and infrastructure. She’s Adjunct Professor at McGill and teaches Participatory Research Methods (School of Urban Planning) and a case study course on Participatory Canada (Max Bell School of Public Policy). From 2014-2022 Jayne worked in philanthropy–most recently as Cities Director at McConnell Foundation where she built collaborative initiatives, including Cities for People and Civic-Indigenous 7.0. Learning from these collaborations led to writing the book Sacred Civics: Building Seven Generation Cities (2022), for which Jayne is lead co-editor and co-author. Prior to philanthropy, she worked in city planning and policy in the US, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean. Her experience spans a Peace Corps tour of duty in the post-Soviet regime, to urban revitalization in US cities, to European Union projects that improved transnational learning and co-creation of urban landscapes to address rapidly shifting demographics. Her PhD research involved fieldwork in post-disaster Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, where she carried out participatory research with community-driven approaches to understand social change processes. Jayne holds a PhD in Urban Planning, Policy & Design from McGill University. 

Jayne’s positionality: A descendant of settlers from Europe, I grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania on unceded traditional homelands of the Susquehannock Peoples. My family’s custom of welcoming people seeking refuge from conflict zones and difficult home environments shaped my worldview. I have lived and worked in a diversity of contexts and countries, including places of deep societal transition and multiculturalism, often engaging at the intersection of transformative community development, participatory urban planning, and social and civic infrastructure building. I now live with my two children on the island of Tiohtià:ke, also called Montreal. Core to my worldview are participatory values of social and environmental justice and reconciliation between Indigenous and all peoples, and with the land, and through time. As a community-engaged scholar and practitioner, I’m committed to urban system transformations for the long term that are radically inclusive, decolonizing and ennobling.  

Course offered:

Complexity Seminar: Participatory Canada as Social Infrastructure



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