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Chair's Welcome Message

Dr. Claus Rinner, Professor and Chair


Welcome to the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Ryerson University. We are located in the downtown core of Toronto, one of the World’s most diverse cities. Please explore our knowledgeable people, broad range of programs of study, and exciting research activities.

The Department of Geography and Environmental Studies has been at the forefront of Ryerson’s development from a technical training institute to a comprehensive public university. Our BA in Geographic Analysis was the first stand-alone degree granted at the university, starting as a BAA in Applied Geography in the early 1970s. Our MSA in Spatial Analysis was the first Department-based graduate degree offered by Ryerson,... [Read more]

News & Announcements

RyersonGeo at the Ontario Universities Fair

23 Sep 2016 - Dear high school students, parents, and friends, if you are attending the Ontario Universities Fair this weekend, please stop by our department's programs in the Faculty of Arts booth. As you speak with our knowledgeable and friendly faculty, staff, and student ambassadors, you may find a "cue card" in the Ryerson admissions handbook. For ease of access, here are the direct links included on the cards.  

BA in Geographic Analysis:
- Fun,
- Jobs,
- Testimonials,
- Spotlight,

BA in Environment and Urban Sustainability:
- Testimonials,
- Spotlight,

Meanwhile, the Department's Twitter feed @RyersonGeo is buzzing with information on faculty and student research, jobs in Geography, and the ongoing student field trip to Europe!  

Mapping accessibility of legal aid across Ontario

24 Aug 2016 - Dr. Eric Vaz's work was profiled in Ryerson University's July/August Research & Innovation Newsletter at With undergraduate and graduate students in his Lab for Geocomputation and in collaboration with Ric Young, founder of The Social Projects Studio and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Social Innovation at Ryerson University, Dr. Vaz is developing an online map to highlight unequal access to legal aid across the Province of Ontario.

Toronto Police Chief Announces Open Data Competition in Collaboration with the Department

TPS officers talking with Geography students

19 July 2016 - Toronto Police Services Board chair Andy Pringle, Toronto's Chief of Police Mark Saunders, and staff of the Service's data analytics and business intelligence unit visited the DMZ to make an announcement about an open data competition to contribute to the Service's new open data strategy. The Chief acknowledged the ongoing collaboration with the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, which includes hosting student course projects and internships. A recent consulting report by Geographic Analysis students contributed directly to the Service's Transformational Task Force Interim Report.

More details on the announcement can be found in a news release at and through the Department's Twitter feed.  

Saying Farewell to Faculty Members

15 July 2016 - We said farewell today to four dear colleagues and friends, who are moving on to exciting new ventures: Dr. Doug Banting is retiring after serving as the Department's Physical Geography and GIS expert for more than three decades; Dr. Victoria Fast was appointed as Assistant Professor in Urban GIS at the University of Calgary; Dr. Chris Greene obtained a position as Instructor in the Environmental Science Program at Dalhousie University in Halifax; and Dr. Peter Kedron moves on to an Assistant Professor position in Oklahoma State University's Geography department. We wish our departing faculty the very best in their new career and life stages!

Government & Non-Profit Cooperation in Emergency Management

27 June 2016 - Dr. Sara Edge, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography & Environmental Studies specializing in collaborative governance of environment and public health, moderated a panel discussion entitled "FROM THE ASHES: Government & Non-Profit Cooperation in Emergency Management". Against the backdrop of the Fort McMurray wildfire, emergency management and policy experts discussed lessons to be learned in Ontario from other jurisdictions.  

Congratulations and Farewell to 88 New Alumni

7 June 2016 - Today, we celebrated Spring Convocation with 47 Environment and Urban Sustainability graduate, 34 Geographic Analysis graduates, and 7 Master of Spatial Analysis graduates.

A summary of the day in photos and short messages is available at

After convocation, five graduates were interviewed about their experience in the Geographic Analysis program; the video is posted at and on our page for prospective students at

More Awards for RyersonGeo Faculty

4 May 2016 - Dr. Claus Rinner won two awards at the URISA Ontario BeSpatial conference. His poster with Dr. Claire Oswald on "3D Printed Geographies - Techniques and Examples" received the MApps People's Choice Awards - Best Map. And the MCDA4ArcMap tool that Dr. Rinner developed with visiting research student Steffan Voss won the Best Challenge Award - 2016 Innovation in GIS (Gold).

The complete list of awards with photos and a link to the poster is available at

The version of the poster that was displayed at the conference had two actual 3D prints attached to it, which may have contributed to its popularity!  

Urban Resilience in Canada

1 May 2016 - Dr. Richard Shaker, along with a small team of faculty and students, published a report synthesizing "research priorities and best practices for climate resilience in cities." Funded by Dr. Shaker's Knowledge Synthesis Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the report tackles conflicting definitions of resilience and summarizes an ever-changing body of recent research. The team, which included BA in Environment and Urban Sustainability students Shenley Alkins and Victoria Papp, considered the social aspects of resilience along with the resilience of critical infrastructure and focused on the challenges faced by cities.

The full report is available for download at

Innovation Award for Discovery Walks Mobile Web App

7 Apr 2016 - Congratulations to Dr. Andrew Millward and his former BA and MSA student William Davis on winning a 2016 Innovation Award from Parks & Recreation Ontario for the Discovery Walks mobile Web app, The award was presented to a team that included Robert Richardson, Manager of Partnership Development, representing the City of Toronto's Parks, Forestry & Recreation division. This project was initiated through William's 2013/14 Master of Spatial Analysis research. The current app was redeveloped with funding from MasterCard Canada.

Cluster of research publications

Microsoft Word - Oswald and Carey_ENVPOL-D-15-02127_revised manuscript

31 Mar 2016 - This month, faculty members and graduate students published five peer-reviewed articles about their research:  

  • K. Wayne Forsythe, Chris H. Marvin, Christine J. Valancius, James P. Watt, Joseph M. Aversa, Stephen J. Swales, Daniel J. Jakubek and
    Richard R. Shaker (2016) Geovisualization of mercury contamination in Lake St. Clair sediments. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 4(1):19,
  • Jamal Jokar Arsanjani, Amin Tayyebi and Eric Vaz (2016) GlobeLand30 as an alternative fine-scale global land cover map: Challenges, possibilities, and implications for developing countries. Habitat International. Available online: 2 March 2016,
Source: Valencia & Wang (2016)

Social Innovator and Changemaker - Our 2016 Dennis Mock Awardee

29 Mar 2016 - Congratulations to graduating EUS student Jennifer Fischer on receiving a Dennis Mock Leadership Award! In the award citation, Jen is described as the personification of a social innovator. She was the Sustainability Liaison for the Faculty of Arts, contributing to the first-ever Arts Eco Action Plan. She also was instrumental in the O'Keefe Laneway Rejuvenation project. Within Ryerson's SocialVentures Zone, Jen founded Soul Roots, an initiative to grow high-yield crops in street farms in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood. Jen also co-founded Microbe Hub and acquired social innovation funding from RECODE at Ryerson for this composting system that has engaged student volunteers, staff, and faculty in diverting a significant portion of waste on campus. Jen serves as volunteer, presenter, mentor, organizer, and ambassador for a variety of activities that build towards her vision of environmental sustainability and urban agriculture.  

Ryerson Geography & Environmental Studies at AAG 2016

29 Mar 2016 - About half of the department's faculty and researchers are travelling to San Francisco this week to present their work at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG). A list of abstracts with links is provided at A strong presence in the area of business geography is combined with research on the urban forest, population health, migration & settlement, local food, renewable energy, and sustainability science. Best wishes to all at #AAG2016.  

Geography students, alumni help track the spread of Zika virus

Blue Dot

16 Mar 2016 - Imagine a 4th-year internship placement with global impact. At BlueDot, Geography undergraduate and graduate students are working as data engineers, GIS analysts, and cartographers to support real-time infectious disease research and response. Ryerson Geographers are increasingly sought for careers in public health data analytics.

Two BA in Geographic Analysis students, a Master of Spatial Analysis student, and a graduate of both programs were interviewed by Ryerson Today about their experiential learning based at St. Michael’s Hospital’s Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute. Read the full story at

Ontario Minister of the Environment inspires students in the classroom

11 Mar 2016 - The Honourable Glen Murray, Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, was invited to a conversation with the graduating class of our BA in Environment and Urban Sustainability. The unique event allowed students to hear from, and interact with, a veteran cabinet member and leader of Ontario's climate change action.

The discussion took place in Dr. Claire Oswald's and Dr. Dave Atkinson's Senior Projects course, EUS801, and focused on sustainable city building. Students were "buzzing with inspiration", in the words of program director Dr. Andrew Millward. A summary of the event in the form of tweets from students and faculty can be found at

Runner-up at Ryerson's 3-minute thesis competition

3 Mar 2016 - Congratulations to Julie Robertson, who finished in 2nd place at Ryerson's "3MT", a competition that challenges graduate students to present their thesis research to a general audience in under three minutes. Julie is a graduate of our BA in Geographic Analysis and a Master's student in Environmental Applied Science and Management, supervised by Dr. Dave (@RU_PolarSEAL) Atkinson. Her research is about representing Inuit knowledge of caribou movement in geographic information systems (GIS), an exercise in fitting dynamic and subjective observations into a rigid data structure for monitoring and conservation.

Geography students help York Region reduce emissions

1 Mar 2016 - Two teams based in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies were among six teams of students from regional universities participating in the first-ever case competition organized by York Region's Environmental Services Department. The Region aimed to tap into students' creative thinking around the aspirational goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2051. Students were encouraged to present innovative policy recommendations to make the Region's operations more sustainable.  

The participating teams consisted of students from our BA in Environment and Urban Sustainability and Master of Spatial Analysis, coached by Prof. Andrew Millward, and from the interdisciplinary MASc and PhD in Environmental Applied Science and Management, coached by Prof. Claire Oswald. Congratulations to both teams on their professional presentations at York Region headquarters at the conclusion of an intense 6-day preparation period!  

Waterfront Toronto expert cafe

EUS801 Waterfront Toronto Expert Cafe

12 Feb 2016 - Ryerson Geography professors Dr. Claire Oswald and Dr. Dave Atkinson today hosted an experiential learning event for their senior project class EUS801 in the BA in Environment & Urban Sustainability program. Groups of students discussed their policy and visioning research for a sustainable Toronto water front revitalization with a group of environmental and planning experts from different stakeholder organizations. More photos can be found at Thank you to students, organizers, and guests for their commitment to real-world, community-focused learning and teaching!  

And the Living City Leader Scholarship 2015 goes to...

31 Dec 2015 - Congratulations, Sarah Brigel! The 4th-year Environment and Urban Sustainability (EUS) student received a competitive $1,500 award to help further her studies and career. The Living City Leader Scholarship awards are presented by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority to students who demonstrate the values of the Living City and epitomize the ideals of sustainability in their communities. Sarah engages with communities to promote happy and healthy people, clean environments, and a sustainable future. She is passionate about achieving this vision through urban agriculture initiatives, which help to increase local food security. Sarah aims to contribute to developing local, sustainable food systems that have the power to benefit communities on so many levels.  

Award-winning faculty


15 Dec 2015 - Pre-release: Geography faculty Dr. Harald Bauder and Dr. Claus Rinner will be presented two of Ryerson's research recognitions.

Dr. Bauder was selected for the 2016 Sarwan Sahota Ryerson Distinguished Scholar Award for his outstanding cumulative contributions to knowledge in the fields of immigration, settlement, and integration of newcomers. Dr. Bauder  recently published two co-edited books entitled "Immigrant Experiences in North America" (May 2015) and "Migration Policy and Practice: Interventions and Solutions" (Sept 2015).

Dr. Rinner won one of two Deans' Scholarly, Research and Creative Activity Awards for the Faculty of Arts for his outstanding achievements in research in geographic information science in the 2014/15 academic year. Dr. Rinner is the co-author of the book "Multicriteria Decision Analysis in Geographic Information Science" (Feb 2015).

In addition, both awardees have published numerous articles and hold external research funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, respectively. 

GIS Day 2015 a success


18 Nov 2015 - Ryerson students, faculty, staff, and the local community were invited to explore and celebrate Geographic Information Systems (GIS) research and applications on GIS Day 2015. Keynote presentations outlined the pervasive use of geospatial data analysis and mapping in business, municipal government, and environmental applications. Research posters, software demos, and course projects further illustrated the benefits of GIS across all sectors of society.

Notable GIS Day exhibits included the Neptis Foundation's regional geoweb tool (in development with contributions from alumni); Prof April Lindgren's research project and map of news poverty across Canada (developed at the Ryerson Journalism Research Centre with contributions from Geography students); the Digital Media Experience lab's augmented-reality sandbox; 23 Master of Spatial Analysis geovisualization projects from the course SA8905, Cartography and Geovisualization; and select undergraduate, graduate, and faculty research and course posters.

To the left is a set of snapshots taken by @RUDeanOfArts Dr. Jean-Paul Boudreau. A full account of the social media coverage of GIS Day 2015 at Ryerson can be found at The event was co-organized by @RyersonGeo and the Ryerson University Library and Archives' Geospatial Map and Data Centre.  

Double Gold for Geography and Environmental Studies


14 & 15 Oct 2015 - The Department proudly announces two (2) Ryerson Gold Medal winners among its graduating students! Dr. Victoria Fast, our first student ever to defend a PhD thesis, received the Gold Medal for the Yeates School of Graduate Studies. And Mr. Daniel Liadsky, graduate of the Master of Spatial Analysis, received the Gold Medal for the Faculty of Arts.  

The photo shows Daniel between President Levy and Chancellor Bloomberg. A news release describes Daniel's decision to take the Master of Spatial Analysis to develop his technical skills at the intersection of geography and statistics for the non-profit sector. Daniel's major research paper on "Exploring Toronto's Foodscapes: Measuring The Food Environment and Healthy Eating Behaviours" was supervised by Dr. Brian Ceh.  

First PhD graduates @RyersonGeo

14 Oct 2015 - The Department of Geography and Environmental Studies has its first two PhD graduates! At Fall 2015 convocation, Dr. Victoria Fast and Dr. Christopher Greene celebrated the completion of their doctoral degrees in the interdisciplinary Environmental Applied Science and Management program.

Dr. Fast's thesis on "Participatory Mapping of Food Assets Using Volunteered Geographic Information Systems" was supervised by Dr. Claus Rinner. Dr. Greene's thesis on "Integrating Sustainability Subsystems in the Management of Urban Forests" was supervised by Dr. Andrew Millward.  

The photos show Dr. Fast with Provost Lachemi after the ceremony, and Dr. Greene in the Department hallway. Congratulations, Chris and Victoria!  

Map exhibition by Geographic Analysis and MSA alumni

DxM Exhibit Invitation

7 Oct 2015 - Please mark your calendars for "Geographies of Urban Form", an exhibition by @RyersonGeo alumni William Davis and Michael Markieta in the Ryerson Image Centre (RIC), Oct 14 to Nov 8, 2015.The show consists of 12 striking prints of the road networks of select global cities. William and Michael are graduates of our BA in Geographic Analysis. As students in our Master of Spatial Analysis (MSA), they experimented with novel forms of visualization at the intersection of geospatial data analysis and design. That is when they developed the competitive bid for the exhibition in the RIC's Student Gallery. The gallery's public fall reception is on Oct 21, 6-8pm. Regular hours and more details can be found at  

This weekend at the Ontario Universities Fair (OUF)

27 Sept 2015 - Some 20 students, staff, and faculty of the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies will be at the Ryerson booth at the Ontario Universities Fair (OUF) September 25-27. We will answer your questions about the Bachelor programs in Environment & Urban Sustainability (EUS) and Geographic Analysis (GA), as well as the Department's graduate and continuing education degrees.

If you are just back home from the OUF and can't find your @RyersonGeo cue card, please visit the following sites in addition to exploring our homepage:

Dr. Harald Bauder, recipient of Royal Society of Canada award

Dr. Harald Bauder, Department of Geography

Congratulations to Dr. Harald Bauder, Professor @RyersonGeo and founding Academic Director of the Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement (RCIS). Dr. Bauder is receiving the 2015 Konrad Adenauer Research Award from the Royal Society of Canada. He is one of "12 eminent Canadian scholars and researchers ... recognized for their outstanding achievements in research and scholarship". The announcement of the Society's 2015 awards can be found at A background story on Dr. Bauder's research and its relation to the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis was published in Ryerson Today at  

Social innovation made @RyersonGeo

26 Aug 2015 - Geography at Ryerson has been a leading innovator on campus since the Department's inception in the 1970s. Now, three social innovation projects led by Dr. Andrew Millward, Dr. Claire Oswald, and Dr. Richard Shaker are among just eight funded RECODE faculty projects University-wide. In addition, two of the seven social enterprise projects posted at Ryerson's SocialVenturesZone are led by the Department's Environment and Urban Sustainability students. Read about the details in Dr. Rinner's blog post about "Geography at Ryerson – Your Social Innovation Powerhouse".  

Two tenure-track faculty positions available

Screenshot of faculty job ad

The Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Ryerson University is seeking applications for two (2) tenure-track faculty positions in the area of environmental geography and urban sustainability. Please consult the PDF posting or the online posting for details, and apply online. We are excited to find two new colleagues to share in the continuing growth and diversification of our research and programs of study. The review of applications will begin on November 1, 2015.  

Alumna to open 2015 "Ex" as general manager

Virginia Lundy

In 1983, a Ryerson student named Virginia Ludy took an internship as part of the Applied Geography program at the Canadian National Exhibition. Thirty-two years later, Virginia Ludy is taking over as the CNE’s first female general manager. As the 2015 edition of the Toronto summer staple approaches, she reflects on how much a traditional event can change over three decades. [Read more at Ryerson News & Events]