Who builds whose city

alternative traditions of transgressive city-making tactics

The proposed research aims to understand the “outsider” and non-sanctioned spatial practices of marginalized and alternative groups that are often overlooked by, and remain invisible within, the histories and theories of urban planning.

This research focuses on informal urban spatial practices, traditions, and tactics with specific attention on how marginalized and alternative groups operate around, rather than in direct compliance with, the mainstream and authoritative professional structures of urban planning and architecture. An historical-theoretical approach applies critical and radical readings of socio-cultural appropriations and occupations of space drawing from feminist, diaspora, and subculture theory.

Key fields of research: Jewish thought, feminist and queer studies, subculture, counterculture, tactical urbanism, participatory urbanism, right to the city, social justice, power, postmodernism, punk, LGBTQ, sk8

This research is conducted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Ad. Hoc. Ph.D. in Planning, Policy, and Design at McGill University School of Urban Planning and is supported through the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship.


The REB-I reviewed and approved this project by delegated review in accordance with the requirements of the McGill University Policy on the Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Human Participants and the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct For Research Involving Humans.

Questions or concerns about this research may be directed to myself (Sarah Gelbard | sarah.gelbard@mail.mcgill.ca) or to my faculty supervisors or the McGill research ethics administrator (contact details below).

REB File # 295-1217

Supervisor: Raphael Fischler (raphael.fischler@umontreal.ca)
Co-supervisor: Lisa Bornstein (lisa.bornstein@mcgill.ca)

Deanna Collin
Research Ethics Administrator  / Administratrice en éthique de recherche
deanna.collin@mcgill.ca  |514-398-6193