M.Arch., Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism, Carleton University (Ottawa ON, Canada)
Thesis: "Wanderer's Sojourn into Dwelling: Citing diasporic consciousness and the other with/in the architexture of home"

B.A.S., Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism, Carleton University (Ottawa ON, Canada)


Research Interests

Who builds whose city? Alternative traditions of transgressive city-making tactics

My research aims to understand the “outsider” and non-sanctioned spatial practices of marginalized and alternative groups with specific attention on how these groups operate around, rather than in direct compliance with, the authoritative professional structures of urban planning and architecture. Informed by feminist, diaspora, and subculture theories, my historical-theoretical approach applies critical and radical readings of appropriations and occupations of space by skate, punk and LGBTQ groups. I draw links between those urban groups whose place-making is preceded by a need to make space in the often unwelcoming and incompatible mainstream spaces of dominant culture and official plans. I hope this research speaks with those for whom the right to the city is often a fight.

Key fields of research: diaspora and jewish studies, feminist and queer studies, subculture, counterpublics, radical planning, philosophy of the city, messy methodologies, tactical urbanism, punk, skateboarding, LGBTQ




American Association of Geographers (specialty groups: Cultural Geography / Ethics, Justice, and Human Rights / Sexuality and Space / Urban Geography)

Canadian Society for Jewish Studies, board member

Heritage Ottawa

McGill Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies

Philosophy of the City Research Group

Spacing, Ottawa editor



Peer-reviewed contributions

2013. Gelbard, S. "Wandering Dwellings: Diasporic Architectures." In Diasporic Choices (R. Seredynska-Abou Eid, ed.). Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press.

2013. Blanchard, Alexandre P, et al. 2013. "Visualization and Phospholipid Identification (VaLID): online integrated search engine capable of identifying and visualizing glycerophospholipids with given mass." Bioinformatics 29 (2), 284-285. [link]


Conference presentations (select)

Gelbard, S. (upcoming). “‘Fuck gentrification’ is the new ‘fuck the man’: the desirability of undesirable punk space.” Submitted to: 1st International Conference of Anarchist Geographies and Geographers, Reggio Emilia. 

Gelbard, S. (upcoming). “Making space for messy urbanisms: In and out of the public eye.” presented at European Geographies of Sexualities, Barcelona.

Gelbard, S. (upcoming). “Schlemihls and squatters: Undesirable people and places in the city.” presented at Canadian Society of Jewish Studies. Montreal QC.

Gelbard, S. 2017. “Fuck the man: punk space and feminist counter-resistance.” presented at AAG Annual Meeting. Boston MA.

Gelbard, S. 2017. “Boycotting the Queers: Punk space and/or safe space in Ottawa.” presented at McGill Queer Research Colloquium. Montreal QC.

Gelbard, S. 2016. “Schlemihls and buffoons: the spatial-political margins of punks and pariahs in the city.” presented at Philosophy of the City. San Francisco CA.

Gelbard, S. 2016. “Messy Methodologies: Proposing radical alternatives to the formal research plan.” presented at Radical Planning: Spaces of Struggle. Portland OR.

Gelbard, S. 2016. "Sacred Zoning: Spatial Demarcations in Jewish Thought." Presented at Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Calgary AB.

Gelbard, S. 2016. "A queer queer street: Reading Ottawa's Le/The Village." Presented at McGill Queer Research Colloquium, Montreal QC.

Gelbard, S. 2016. "SK8: Urban innovation and governance in the spatial and social design of skateparks." Presented at American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting, San Francisco CA.

Gelbard, S. 2015. "Marginal Vernaculars and Place-making Tactics." Presented at Unsettling Heritage: Critical/Creative Conservation, Ottawa ON.

Gelbard, S. 2012. "Diasporic architectures." Presented at Diasporas: Exploring Critical Issues, Oxford, UK.

Gelbard, S. 2010. "Return to a Foreign Home." Presented at Homelands: Diasporas Return, Oslo, Norway.


Other contributions (select)

Gelbard, S. 2016. "Better public consultation needed for LeBreton Flats." CBC Radio: Ottawa Morning, 8 February.

Gelbard, S. 2015. “Brutalist architecture in Ottawa.” CBC Radio: In Town and Out, 17 January.

Gelbard, S. 2015. "Tactical Brutalism." Council for Canadian Urbanism summit Pecha Kucha. Ottawa ON.

Gelbard, S. 2015. "Ottawa the Brutal." Spacing. Summer 2015.

Gelbard, S. 2015. "Design Citizens: professional-grassroots urban tactics." Spacing, Cities for People. 21 January 2015.

Gelbard, S. 2015. “UrbSanity: Brutal heritage.” Spacing Ottawa, Jan 16.

Gelbard, S. 2014. "Practice Space." TEDxElginSt, Ottawa ON.

Gelbard, S. 2014. "The Library as Space" (panel discussion). LANCR. Ottawa ON.

Gelbard, S. 2014. "Inhabiting Gentrifications" (panel discussion). Ottawa Architecture Week. Ottawa ON.

Gelbard, S. 2013. “UrbSanity: Concrete social—an urban skate park at McNabb.” Centretown Buzz, Nov 15.

Gelbard, S. 2009. "Imagining and Practicing a Real Architecture." Award Magazine, April 2009.


Selected awards and fellowships 

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (2016-2019)

AAG Urban Geography Specialty Group Student Travel Award (2016)

Canada Council for the Arts. Architecture: Grants to individuals and firms (2015)

Graduate Excellence Fellowship (2015-2016)

Schulich Fellowship (2014-2015)

Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Student Medal (2008)


Conference organizing committees

Spaces of Struggle 2017: a mini-conference in radical planning, Denver CO.

CSJS annual conference 2017, Montreal QC.



View full CV.



sarah.gelbard [at] (Send an email to Sarah Gelbard)

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