Skip to main content
Wendy Burton - headshot

Burton, Wendy


PhD (Geography): Toronto




(416) 979-5000 x 3913


Wendy Burton is Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration. In addition to a PhD in Geography from the University of Toronto, she holds an MA in Public Policy and Administration from Ryerson, and a BA from Harvard, where she studied sociology.

Prior to returning to academia, Wendy had careers in journalism, business and non-profit management. During her journalism years, she was a city hall reporter for The Ottawa Citizen, a labour reporter for The Sudbury Star, and a founding board member and first woman president of the Canadian Association of Journalists. She was later business manager and chief negotiator for a local of The Newspaper Guild, executive director of the Canadian Association of Labour Media, and general manager for a small television company. As a freelance writer, she has written in a variety of genres for government and private sector clients.

For years, Wendy has been active in environmental politics, which has led to her ongoing work on political campaigns for municipal, provincial and federal candidates, often as communications director or campaign manager.

Research Interests:

Wendy is a human geographer, whose interests revolve around urban and political geography:

  • Politics of planning and development
  • Policy development for sustainable city-regions
  • Unique challenges of small cities and suburbs
  • Civil society and social innovation
  • Green space protection and public realm provision
  • Environmental governance

Current Courses:

Dr. Burton currently teaches POL377: Urban Sustainability Policy, a required third-year course in the Environment and Urban Sustainability BA (Hons.) program.

Selected Publications:

Wendy is in the process of revising her PhD dissertation to be published as journal papers and possibly a book. One of those papers, “Raising Social Capital for Green Infrastructure: The Role of Civil Society in Greenspace Protection in the Toronto Region,” was winner of the Best PhD Student Paper award at the 2016 Canadian Association of Geographers Ontario annual meeting.

She has a substantial body of non-academic published articles, annual reports, handbooks, briefs, speeches, marketing materials, historical plaques and one book as a result of her prior careers and her volunteer work. 

Professional Affiliations:

Wendy Burton is a member of the Canadian Association of Geographers, several environmental organizations, and the Oakville Historical Society. She is a member, alumni interviewer and past executive member for the Harvard Club of Toronto. She is a past director of Environmental Defence Canada and of the Oakville Community Foundation. As a volunteer, she served as chair or organizer of conferences for the Toronto Board of Education, Harvard Alumni Association, Canadian Association of Journalists, and Toronto Women in Film & Television.

Spoken Languages: