Alumni Profiles

Darcy McCord 

For Darcy, his time in the Urban Studies Program was a big part of what enabled him to make the transition to both a more professionally oriented career path and to the type of small-town lifestyle he aspired to. Darcy did a bachelor’s degree in Canadian studies, which, like urban studies, is an interdisciplinary field. After moving to Vancouver from his home province of Ontario, he spent several years working in bike stores. He eventually applied that interest in, and knowledge of, the cycling industry to his master’s thesis, in which he investigated how independent bicycle dealers stay competitive in the context of a global production network.

Darcy now works as a development planner for the City of Whitehorse. He moved there with his wife on a trial basis because they were both attracted to the affordable housing and outdoor recreation scene that city offered. Darcy also knew that Whitehorse was a government town and so might offer good professional opportunities. And he was right. He secured an internship with the city after moving there in 2014, which subsequently led to other city jobs and his current position. “I think I’m doing a much more varied scope of work than I’d be doing, even with the same title, in Vancouver,” he said. “Whitehorse has a small-town feel - you get to know everyone - and I think you also have better prospects for professional advancement.”

Part of the appeal of the Urban Studies Program for Darcy was its small size. “It felt like a lot of engagement with the professors and that they were genuinely interested in my research and the research all the students were doing. And you get to know your classmates really well,” he said. “It was really valuable for helping me hone my critical thinking and analysis skills.”