Lisa M. Bornstein

Associate Professor, School of Urban Planning

Associate Member, Institute for Health and Social Policy, Faculty of Medicine

Associate Member, Dept. of Social Studies of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine

Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley
M.R.P., Cornell University
B.Sc., University of California at Berkeley

Office: Macdonald-Harrington Building, Room 406


Professional and research interests

International planning, economic development, environmental policy and planning, and institutions and governance.

For prospective doctoral students, priority topics for research (2020-24):

  • deliberative processes around 'sustainable development plans' -- current projects examine climate change adaptation and resiliency in Latin America and the Caribbean; neighbourhood/borough/municipal plans in Quebec (regarding flooding, energy networks, large-scale projects, or overall neighbourhood development); and comparative studies of deliberation and impacts of urban policy more generally
  • critical perspectives on equity, justice and resiliency in the face of crises (environmental, conflict, economic);
  • mental health (psychosis) and the city
  • pedagogy for the planning profession (with a focus on reflective practice, learning by doing, trans-disciplinarity, engaged scholarship,and field courses)

See hyperlinks in publications below.

Recent Major Projects

Intersectoral network on flooding in Quebec/Réseau Inondations intersectoriel du Québec (RIISQ),  Co-investigator, Scientific committee member, Axis (5) co-director), FRQ, PI: P. Gachon. See:

Controverses théoriques et pratiques liées à la vulnérabilité, la résilience et la reconstruction durable. Co-investigator. FRQSC. PI: G. Lizarralde. See:

Climate Change Adaptation in Informal Settings: Understanding and Reinforcing Bottom-Up Initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean. Co-investigator. Canadian International Development Research Centre. PI: G. Lizarralde, L. Bornstein, D. Labbe & I. Thomas. See:

Analyse théorique et empirique de la vulnérabilité et de la résilience des milieux de vie. Co-investigator. SSHRC Insight Grant. PI: G. Lizarralde. See, for example of activities:

Des réseaux de chaleur de 4e génération au cœur des quartiers durables. Co-researcher. Institut de l’énergie Trottier. PI: M. Kummert. See: (video in French and English) and

The built environment and mental health: Case study of a neighbourhood in transition. Institut de recherche en histoire de l'architecture. PI: I. Gold.

Making mega-projects work for communities. Principal investigator. SSHRC Community-University Research Alliance. Project website.

Education in the professions for reflective capabilities. Principal investigator (with R. Fischler). McGill Centre for Teaching and Learning.


Ph.D. Dissertation

Flexible Production in the Unstable State: Employment, Linkages, and the Brazilian Information Technology Industry.


Recent media and public outreach

Holmes Paez and Lisa Bornstein at COP25's Capacity Building Hub, Madrid, 9 December 2019. Youtube clip here:

Oeuvre durable online debates on disaster risks and related planning/recovery issues. See 


Selected publications and conference presentations

Lizarralde, G., H. Paéz, A. Lopez,* O. Lopez, B. Herazo, L. Muñoz, L. Bornstein, K. Gould, “We said, they said: Disconnected narratives in disaster risk reduction in Colombia,” Journal of Disaster Prevention and Management. Forthcoming.

Sayanvala F, L. Bornstein, S. Choudhury, J. Shah, D. Weinstock, I. Gold, “Cities, psychosis, and social defeat.” Ch 19 Kirmayer L et al. (eds). Culture, Mind, and Brain: Emerging Concepts, Methods, Applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.

Cardosi, G., G. Lizarralde, S. Kibue, L. Bornstein “Multilevel informality: Migration, spatial organization & control in the Toi market in Kibera, Nairobi,” pp. 105-20 in A. Asgary, ed. Resettlement Challenges for Displaced Populations and Refugees. Springer, 2018.

Alvarado*, R. & L. Bornstein. 2018. Assessing the effectiveness of water and sanitation sector governance networks in developing countries: A policy analysis framework. International Journal of Sustainable Development & Planning 13(3), 382-393.

Steinmetz-Wood, M., R. Wasfi, G. Parker*, L. Bornstein, Y. Kestens & J. Caron. 2017. Is gentrification all bad? Positive association between gentrification and individual’s perceived neighborhood collective efficacy in Montreal, Canada. International Journal of Health Geographics 16(4), 1-8. Online:

Heffez, A. & L. Bornstein. 2016. Youth Fusion's Urban Environment project: Increasing youth participation in urban planning through place-based environmental education. Children, Youth and Environments 26(2), 110-127.

Avni*, N., N. Alfasi & L. Bornstein. 2016. City profile: Beersheba. Cities 53, 18-29.

Lazarovic*, R., D. Paton* & L. Bornstein. 2015. Approaches to workforce housing in London and Chicago: From targeted sectors to income-based eligibility. Housing Studies 31(6), 651-671.

Lizarralde, G., A. Valladares*, A. Olivera, L. Bornstein, K. Gould & J. Duyne Barenstein. 2015. Towards strategic resilience: the Cuban model to vulnerability reduction and reconstruction. Disasters 39(s1), S76-S95.

Bornstein, L. & K. Leetmaa*. 2015. Moving beyond indignation: stakeholder tactics, legal tools and community benefits in large-scale redevelopment projects. Oñati Socio-Legal Series 5(1), 29-50.

Bornstein, L., G. Lizarralde, K. Gould, & C. Davidson. 2013. Framing responses to post-earthquake Haiti: how representations of disasters, reconstruction and human settlements shapes resilience. International Journal of Disaster Resilience and the Built Environment 4(1), 43-57.

Aubin*, R. & L. Bornstein. 2012. Montréal’s municipal guidelines for participation and public hearings: assessing context, process and outcomes. Canadian Journal of Urban Research 21(1), 106-131.

Bornstein, L. 2010. Mega-projects, city-building and community benefits. City, Culture and Society 1(4), 199-206.

Prince, J., J. Jaeger, and P. Gauthier. (Eds.) [L. Bornstein, supervising academic]. (2009). Montréal at the crossroads: superhighways, the Turcot, and the environment. Montréal: Black Rose Books.

Bornstein, L. 2006. Systems of accountability, webs of deceit? South African NGOs’ experience with monitoring and evaluation. Development 49(2), 52-61.

Brown, D. and L. Bornstein. 2006. Whither Managua? Evolution of a city’s morphology. Presentation given at the 42nd Annual ISoCaRP International Congress, Istanbul. Published in the Conference Proceedings.

Bornstein, L. (2004). City fragments and displaced plans in war-torn Mozambique. In P. Somma and N. Wilkinson (eds.), War in the city (pp. 125-45). Newcastle: Urban International Press.

Bornstein, L. (2004). Evaluations, strategic planning, and log-frames: donor-imposed straitjackets on local NGOs? Brighton: ID21 Research Highlights. Online:

Bornstein, L. (2004). Building peace, fostering conflict: aid in Mozambique in the 1990s. Presentation given at the Annual Conference of the International Studies Association, Montréal.


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