Susannah Bunce

Susannah Bunce
Assistant Professor
(416) 287-7296


My research centres on investigating the role of sustainability in the context of planning, development, and redevelopment practices at the scale of the urban community and neighbourhood. My research examines the structural interests and motives for the adoption of sustainability principles in urban community and neighbourhood-based practices and explores the everyday practices of discursive construction, planning implementation at the neighbourhood and community scale, and strategies for socio-environmental justice and change.

I am currently completing a three-year research project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, that is a comparative study of urban community land trusts in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. The research contributes to an understanding of sustainability through the exploration of a community-based land use and development model, social justice through affordable housing provision and equitable public governance of land, and environmental and public land preservation through community-based land management. My other areas of research interest are: the governance of urban planning, development and re-development initiatives, such as urban waterfront areas, and the establishment of community-university partnerships, based upon my involvement developing a community-campus partnership between UTSC and the Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park neighbourhood in eastern Scarborough.

Research Interests: 

  • Urban Planning

  • Urban Waterfront redevelopment

  • Community-based Participatory Planning and Development

  • Urban Sustainability and Urban Political Ecology

Teaching Interests: 

I emphasize class participation and discussion as a teaching approach and specialize in experiential learning and service learning. I teach a C level course in service learning (CITC02) where students learn about community-based planning and development in a local Scarborough neighbourhood through service placements with non-profit organizations and service agencies.


Fall Term:
GGRA35: Great Scarborough Mash Up: People, Place, Community, Experience
JPG1518: Sustainability and Urban Communities (Graduate - St. George campus)

Winter Term:
CITB03: Social Planning and Community Development
CITC02: Learning in Community Service


Awards and Grants: 

  • 2009-2014, Principal Investigator - Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Standard Research Grant "Planning for Urban
    Community Land Trusts"  - $49, 717

  • 2013-, Co-Applicant – Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant, “Crossing Boundaries: Encounters with Urban Wildlife in the Greater Toronto Area” (Principal Investigator - Dr. Susan Ruddick, University of Toronto), $179,590

  • 2013-, Co-Applicant – Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant, “Public-Private Partnerships in Urban Governance” (Principal Investigator – Dr. Mariana Valverde, University of Toronto), $98,000



Book:  Sustainability Policy, Planning, and Gentrification in Cities - Forthcoming (2016) Routledge.

Bunce, S. (2016). Pursuing Urban Commons: Politics and Alliances in Community Land Trust Activism in East London   Antipode  48(1), 134-150.

Bunce, S. & Allahwala, A. (2013). Community-University Partnerships: Building Collaboration and Reciprocity Between Campus and Community. Journal of Geography, 112(2).

Allahwala, A. & Bunce, S. (2013) Introduction to Symposium Issue: Building and Sustaining Reciprocal Community-University Partnerships in Marginalized Urban Areas: Challenges and Opportunities for Higher Education in Geography. Journal of Geography.

Bunce, S. (2011). Public-Private Sector Alliances in Sustainable Waterfront Revitalization: Policy, planning, and design in the West Don Lands, in Desfor, G. and Laidley, J. (eds.) Re-shaping Toronto’s Waterfront. University of Toronto Press: Toronto, 287-304.

Daswani, G., Bunce, S., & Cummings, M. (2011). Citizenship and Urban Space: Intersections of Housing, Services, Identity and Belonging for Newcomers in Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park CERIS: The Metropolis Centre - Working Paper No. 86.

Bunce, S. (2009). Developing Sustainability: Sustainability policy and gentrification on Toronto’s waterfront Local Environment. International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, 14 (7), 651-667

Moore, S. & Bunce, S. (2009). Delivering Sustainable Buildings and Communities: Eclipsing social concerns through private sector-led urban regeneration and development. Local Environment: International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, 14(7), 601-606

Bunce, S. & Desfor, G. (2007). Guest Editorial: Introduction to Political Ecologies of Urban Waterfront Transformations Cities. The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning, 24(4), 251-258

Cowen, D. & Bunce, S. (2006). Competitive Cities and Secure Nations: Conflict and convergence in urban waterfront agendas after 9/11. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 30(2), 427-439

Bunce, S. (2004). The Emergence of ‘Smart Growth’ Intensification in Toronto: Environment and economy in the new Official Plan. Local Environment: An International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, 9(2), 177-191


  • Research Associate - Cities Centre, University of Toronto

  • Research Associate - CERIS: The Metropolis Centre

  • Association of American Geographers

  • Canadian Association of Geographers

  • PANDO: Sustainable Communities Network


B.A.(Hon.) University of Guelph – 1994
M.E.S.(PL.) York University – 1999
Ph.D. York University – 2008