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Department of Geography

Economic Geography

Economic geography is a vibrant, eclectic, and a theoretically and methodologically pluralist discipline. It has no single core, or prescribed approach, and increasingly its boundaries blur with other subfields. Economic geographers at the Department of Geography at UBC personify the discipline’s diversity and openness. Current foci of research include:

  • studies of various resource commodities such as lumber, minerals and water, and the varied production networks, forms of formal and informal regulation, and patterns of control and ownership that bear upon them;
  • explorations of multiple forms of globalization (the international movement of goods, capital, people, and ideas), transnationalization, and the often-accompanying practices of neoliberalization
  • investigations of regional and local development, which is not only economic, but social, political and environmental, and carried out by faculty in such sites as Thailand, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, Brazil, the United States, Guatemala, and Mexico;
  • analyses of urban economies, including the restructuring of financial, housing and labour markets, the emergence of creative industry clusters, and new forms of civic governance;
  • contextual historical studies of the intellectual development of Anglophone economic geography as a discipline especially from the Second World War; and
  • critical reviews of the discipline’s methods, theories, and philosophical assumptions.

Faculty working on Economic Geography

Karen Bakker Karen Bakker, Professor
Political economy

B.A.Sc., McMaster University; D. Phil (1999) Oxford University

"I work at the intersection of economic and environmental geography. My primary research interests span political economy, political ecology, environmental studies, development studies, and resource and environmental management. I conduct research in both the 'developing' and 'developed' world, and consequently have an interest in debates over postcolonialism and development. My theoretical interests currently focus on the debate over the use of markets and market instruments in environmental management (the 'neoliberal nature' debate). My primary research focus for the past few years has been on water governance in the context of neoliberalism (water privatization, decentralization of water management). I am also developing new research projects on the geography of food, and on resilience. I would particularly welcome students working in these latter two areas."


Dr. Bakker holds the Canada Research Chair in Political Ecology.


Website: www.geog.ubc.ca/~bakker

Website: www.watergovernance.ca

Email Contact: karen.bakker@geog.ubc.ca

Office Phone: 604-822-6702

Room Number: GEOG 142

Trevor Barnes Trevor Barnes, Professor
Resource economies, new media, disciplinary history

B.Sc.-Econ., University College London; M.A., Ph.D. (1983), University of Minnesota

"I have three main research projects. The first is investigating Vancouver's new economy and its effects on the city. I am undertaking this project in collaboration with Tom Hutton, School of Planning UBC. We have examined the video game industry, as well as architecture, and plan also to investigate the film and TV, and fashion industries. The second is a history of American geography from the Second World War through the Cold War. The project stems from an earlier one concerned with geography's quantitative revolution. It became clear that the roots of that revolution lay in Cold War, and earlier, Second World War, social scientific methods, aims, and above all money. The research is primarily archival. The last is a continuing interest in forest economies, primarily BC's, but also those in the Antipodes."


Website: www.geog.ubc.ca/~tbarnes

Email Contact: trevor.barnes@geog.ubc.ca

Office Phone: 604-822-5804

Room Number: GEOG 140C

David Edgington David Edgington, Professor
International trade and direct foreign investment

B.Sc., London; M.Sc., University of Edinburgh; M. Urban Planning, University of Melbourne; Ph.D. (1986), Monash University

"My current research focuses on aspects of economic geography in the Pacific Rim, including Japanese trade and investment patterns in East Asia, urban and regional change in Japan, Japanese tourism in Canada, and multicultural planning in cities of Pacific Rim countries. One major project has been examining the rebuilding of Kobe after the 1995 Hanshin Earthquake. This has been carried out with a Japan Foundation Grant and in the context of changing urban governance systems in Japan. Another study looks at Japanese electronics firms and their production networks in the Greater China Circle. This is funded by the SSHRC and is being carried out in conjunction with Dr. Roger Hayter (SFU) and graduate students. Through my PhD student, Tom Woodsworth I am becoming interested in environmental challenges in China and the problems surrounding e-waste. In Vancouver, I have a project studying how local governments in the Vancouver region have taken responsibility for including non-mainstream populations in the preparation and amendment of local plans as well as local social services."


Website: blogs.ubc.ca/dedgington

Email Contact: david.edgington@ubc.ca

Office Phone: 604-822-5612

Room Number: GEOG 215C

Jim Glassman Jim Glassman, Professor
Industrial transformation

B.A., St. Olaf College; Ph.D. (1990, 1999), University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

"I am currently carrying out research, funded by a grant from the Hampton Fund, on the formation of regional business networks in East and Southeast Asia during the Cold War period, focusing especially on firms from the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand."


Website: blogs.ubc.ca/glassman

Email Contact: jim.glassman@geog.ubc.ca

Office Phone: 604-822-1892

Room Number: GEOG 140B

Jamie Peck Jamie Peck, Professor
Political economy, heterodox economics, institutionalism

B.A. Honours, University of Manchester; Ph.D. (1988), University of Manchester

"I work, in the style of institutional political economy, on a range of issues relating to economic geography, urban restructuring, and state transformation. Much of my research is concerned with the ways in which ostensibly global processesfor example, forms of market-oriented governance (a.k.a. neoliberalization)are (re)remade through local sites and grounded practices. Ongoing projects include: (a) outsourcing expertise, a study of offshoring practices as a managerial technology; (b) policies without borders, tracing vectors of fast policy in globalizing urban governance and social welfare; and (c) remaking the Vancouver model, a critical analysis of the city's evolving development agenda."


Dr. Peck holds the Canada Research Chair in Urban and Regional Political Economy.


Honours: Academician in the Social Sciences; Guggenheim Fellow; Harkness Fellow

Website: www.geog.ubc.ca/~peck

Email Contact: jamie.peck@geog.ubc.ca

Office Phone: 604-822-0894

Room Number: GEOG 134


Department of Geography - Faculty of Arts - The University of British Columbia
1984 West Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2, Phone: 604-822-2663 Fax: 604-822-6150
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