Eugene McCann



Professor, Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University

Chair, Geography Undergraduate Programs

Associate faculty member in SFU Sociology & Anthropology & the SFU Centre for Global Political Economy

Editor, Geography Compass - Urban

Office: RCB 6229; Phone 778.782.4599; Fax: 778.782.5841

Email: emccann [at] sfu [dot] ca

Twitter: @EJMcCann (Not that I tweet much. Mainly I use Twitter to follow more interesting people.)

My Google Scholar profile




I was born and grew up in Lanarkshire, Scotland. I received an undergraduate degree in geography from the University of Glasgow (1991), an M.A. from Miami University, Ohio (1993), and a Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky (1998). I taught in Geography at Texas A&M University (1997-1998), Ohio University (1998-1999), and Ohio State University (1999-2003) before moving to Simon Fraser University in 2003.

Research Interests

My broad research interests revolve around the relationships between urbanization and globalization and focus on policy mobilities, urban politics, urban development, and harm reduction as a policy model. In all this I'm interested in the spatial practices and political strategies of groups involved in producing urban policies.

My primary interest is in how policy actors (broadly defined to include politicians, policy professionals, consultants, and activists, among others) interact globally as they produce, disseminate, and adopt policies. Conceptualizing these 'policy mobilities' entails an investigation of the role of expertise, spatial imaginaries, and numerous apparently mundane practices, such as calculation and communication, in shaping global circuits of policy knowledge. It is also concerned with the varied and often micro-scale spatialities in and through which policies travel – including conference interactions, fact-finding visits, and email communications. Finally, it focuses on the urban political implications of policy transfer, focusing on how policy models are framed, developed, deployed, and struggled over in cities.

My work on harm reduction drug policy is the main lens through which I try to conceptualize policy mobilities. I have a particular interest in activism directed at promoting harm reduction initiatives like needle exchanges and Drug Consumption Rooms in cities. For more information, see here.

I'm also involved in a comparative project on urban agriculture practices, policies, and implications in Vancouver, BC and Portland, OR with Nathan McClintock and Christiana Miewald.


Prospective graduate students

I am interested in hearing from prospective Master's or Ph.D. students. Areas I'm best placed to advise in are, broadly: policy mobilities, urban politics, urban social geography, and urban development. Please feel free to contact me with your idea for a project. For more information on SFU's graduate programs, see here.



I contribute to a larger group of people with similar interests. Our work is at the Imagining Urban Futures website.


2015. Jonas, A. E. G., McCann, E., & Thomas, M. Urban geography: A critical introduction. Wiley-Blackwell.

2014. Paddison, R. & McCann, E. eds. Cities & social change: Encounters with contemporary Urbanism. (Sage).

• Contributors: Ronan Paddison & Eugene McCann (introduction); Regan Koch & Alan Latham; Loretta Lees; Geoff DeVerteuil; Gill Valentine; Monica Degen; Steve Herbert & Tiffany Grobelski; Gordon MacLeod; Robin Kearns & Graham Moon; Erik Swyngedouw & Ian Cook; James DeFilippis & Juan Rivera; Ananya Roy; Eugene McCann & Ronan Paddison (conclusion).

2011. McCann, E. & Ward, K. eds. Mobile urbanism: Cities & policy-making in the global age. (Minnesota).

• Contributors: Allan Cochrane (preface); Eugene McCann & Kevin Ward (introduction); Doreen Massey; Jennifer Robinson; Jamie Peck; Kevin Ward; Eugene McCann; Roger Keil & Harris Ali; Donald McNeill; Kevin Ward & Eugene McCann (conclusion).


Selected papers (The downloadable CV contains a full list)

2015. McCann, E. & Temenos, C. Mobilizing Drug Consumption Rooms: Inter-place networks and harm reduction drug policy. Health & Place, 31, 216-223.

2014. Miewald, C., & McCann, E. Foodscapes and the geographies of poverty: Sustenance, strategy, and politics in an urban neighborhood. Antipode, 46(2), 537-556. [pdf]

2013. McCann, E., A. Roy, & K. Ward. Assembling/Worlding cities. Urban Geography, 581-589. [pdf]

2013. Temenos, C. & E. McCann. Geographies of policy mobilities. Geography Compass, 7(5), 344-357. [pdf]

2013. McCann, E. Policy boosterism, policy mobilities, & the extrospective city. Urban Geography, 34(1), 5-29. [pdf]

2013. McCann, E. & K. Ward. A multi-disciplinary approach to policy transfer research: Geographies, assemblages, mobilities, and mutations. Policy Studies, 34(1), 2-18. [pdf]

2012. Temenos, C. & E. McCann. The local politics of policy mobility: Learning, persuasion, & the production of a municipal sustainability fix. Environment & Planning A. [pdf]

2012. McCann, E. & K Ward. Assembling urbanism: Following policies & 'studying through' the sites & situations of policy-making. Environment & Planning A. [pdf]

2011. McCann, E. Veritable inventions: Cities, policies, & assemblage. Area. [pdf]

2011. Lowry, G. & McCann, E. Asia in the mix: Urban form and global mobilities – Hong Kong, Vancouver, Dubai. In Aihwa Ong and Ananya Roy eds. Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global (Blackwell). [pdf]

2011. McCann, E. Points of reference: Knowledge of elsewhere in the politics of urban drug policy. In McCann, EJ and Ward, K eds. Assembling Urbanism: Mobilizing Knowledge & Shaping Cities in a Global Context. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. [pdf]

2011. McCann, E. Urban policy mobilities and global circuits of knowledge: Toward a research agenda. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. Vol. 101, No. 1, pp. 107-130. [pdf]

2010. Catungal, J.P.C. & McCann, E. Governing sexuality & park space: Acts of regulation in Vancouver, BC. Social & Cultural Geography. Vol.11 No.1, pp.75-94. [pdf]

2010. McCann, E. & Ward, K. Relationality / territoriality: Toward a conceptualization of cities in the world. Geoforum. Vol. 41 No.2, pp.175-184. [pdf]

2008. Proudfoot, J. & McCann, E. At Street-Level: Bureaucratic Practice in the Management of Urban Neighborhood Change. Urban Geography. Vol. 29 No.4, pp.348-370. [pdf]

2008. McCann, E. Expertise, Truth, and Urban Policy Mobilities: Global Circuits of Knowledge in the Development of Vancouver, Canada’s ‘Four Pillar’ Drug Strategy. Environment and Planning A. Vol.40 No.4, pp.885-904. [pdf]

2004. McCann, E. Urban Political Economy Beyond the ‘Global’ City. Urban Studies, Vol.41 No.12 pp.2315-2333. [pdf]

• Reprinted in: Lee, Y.S. and Yeoh, B. eds. 2006. Globalization and the Politics of Forgetting. New York: Routledge, pp.21-39.

2004. McCann, E. ‘Best Places’: Inter-Urban Competition, Quality of Life, and Popular Media Discourse. Urban Studies, Vol.41 No.10 pp.1909-1929. [pdf]

• Revised and updated German translation reprinted in: Belina, B. & Miggelbrink, J. eds. 2009. Hier so, dort anders: Raumbezogene Vergleiche in der Wissenschaft und anderswo. Munster: Westfälisches Dampfboot, pp.132-152.

Selected Awards and Honors

2012. Invited to be Gastprofessor at the Institut für Humangeographie, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Germany, May-July.

2008. Simon Fraser University Excellence in Teaching Award.


Geog. 261. Introduction to Urban Geography.

Geog. 362W. Geography of Urban Built Environments (writing intensive course).

Geog 442. A World of Cities.

Geog 640 (Graduate Seminar. Keeping Pace with Policy Mobilities, taught in Spring 2014). See the syllabus here.


Graduate Advising

Current Advisees

Melora Koepke (Ph.D.). Joined the program in September 2014. Melora is a professional journalist. See her writing here:

Alison McIntosh (M.A.). Joined the program in September 2014. Funded by a SSHRC graduate fellowship.

Past Advisees

Andy Longhurst (M.A., 2015). Policy Frontiers: City-Regional Politics of Poverty and Drug Policy Mobility. Funded by a SSHRC graduate fellowship. Current position: Policy researcher, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Cristina Temenos (Ph.D., 2014). Differential Policy Mobilities: Transnational Advocacy and Harm Reduction Drug Policy. Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow, 'Living in the Mobility Transition' project, Center for Humanities and the Department of History, Northeastern University.

Daniela Aiello (M.A., 2014). Vancouver's Downtown Eastside: An ethnography of restaurateurs and neighbourhood change. Current position: Doctoral student, University of Georgia.

Rini Sumartojo (Ph.D., 2012) Place attachment, ethnocultural identity, and multiculturalism: Indo-Canadian youth violence in Vancouver. Funded by a SSHRC /Metropolis BC grant. Winner, AAG Ethnic Geography Specialty Group’s Best Ph.D. Proposal award, 2006. Current position: Lecturer, Dept. of Geography, University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, BC.

Stephanie Campbell (Ph.D., 2010) Productive consumption of the 'livable' neighbourhood: The case of Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC. Winner, Dean's Convocation Medal for outstanding dissertation. Current positions: Adjunct faculty, Southern New Hampshire University and transcriber and coder, University of Pittsburgh Center for Social and Urban Research.

Nicole Stewart (M.A., 2009) Placing housing policy: Plans, challenges, & advocacy in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Funded by a SSHRC graduate fellowship. Current position: Policy Development Officer, Affordable Housing Office, City of Toronto.

Lynn Saffery (M.A. 2009) The art of citizenship: Myth-making and neighbourhood change. Funded by a SSHRC graduate fellowship. Current position: Curator - Exhibits and Programs, City of Surrey, BC.

Annemarie Bodaar (Ph.D. 2008, Ohio State University) Cities and the ' Multicultural State': Immigration, multi-ethnic neighborhoods, and the socio-spatial negotiation of policy in the Netherlands. Funded by an NSF doctoral dissertation improvement grant. Current position: Housing Policy Advisor, Department of Urban Development, City of The Hague, The Netherlands.

Cristina Temenos (M.A. 2007). Talking Trash: The Politics of Waste Management in Whistler, British Columbia. Current position: Ph.D. candidate, Geography, Simon Fraser University.

Jesse Proudfoot (M.A.2006) At street level: Bureaucrats and the regulation of urban space. Funded by a SSHRC graduate fellowship. Winner, AAG Urban Geography Specialty Group’s Best Masters Thesis award, 2007 and the CAG's Starkey-Robinson Award for best graduate thesis, 2008. Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow, De Paul University, Chicago.

Sarah Starkweather (M.A. 2002, Geography and City and Regional Planning, Ohio State University, co-advised with Jack Nasar) Perceptions of Safety and the Rights to Space: Limitations and Strategic Responses. Winner, AAG Qualitative Research Specialty Group Master’s Paper Award, 2003. Subsequently published as: Starkweather, S. 2007. Gender, perceptions of safety and strategic responses among Ohio university students. Gender, Place and Culture 14(3), pp.355-370. Current position: Professional editor.

Rini Sumartojo(M.A. 2001, Ohio State University) Contesting Place: Anti-Gay and Lesbian Hate Crime in Columbus, Ohio. Subsequently published in Colin Flint (ed.) 2003. Spaces of Hate: Geographies of Discrimination and Intolerance in the U.S.A. (Routledge). Current position: Lecturer, Dept. of Geography, University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, BC.

Joanna Machin (M.A. 2001, Ohio State University). Beyond the Backyard: The Geo-Strategies of Activist Networks. Current position: Senior Research Officer, Institute for Volunteering Research, London, England.


Post-Doctoral Fellows

David Hugill (2016-2017) will spend his SSHRC-funded post-doctoral fellowship with me, starting in January.

Tom Baker (2014-2015) spent a year developing his work on policy mobilities and housing first strategies. His postdoctoral work was funded by my SSHRC Insight Grant. Current position: Lecturer, University of Auckland.

Marit Rosol (2007-2008) worked on her project, Governing cities through community: The example of the CityPlan Community Visions Program, Vancouver, Canada. Her postdoctoral fellowship was funded by the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (German Academic Exchange Service). Current position: Assistant Professor, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Miscellaneous Documents

Presentation to Vancouver Mayor & City Council on the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan (March 2014)

In 2014 I was invited to participate in the University of Manchester's Summer Institute in Urban Studies. Here's a video of the event.

Author FAQs for Geography Compass - Urban





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