[Photo of Dr. Dan Cohen]

Dr. Dan Cohen

Assistant Professor

Department of Geography and Planning


613-533-6000 ext. 74996

Mackintosh-Corry Hall, Room E302

People Directory Affiliation Category

I am a critical urban and economic geographer with a mix of academic and professional experience. I completed a Master of Science in Planning at the University of Toronto and subsequently worked as a planner and researcher in both the private sector and for the City of Toronto. Based on this experience I developed a research interest in how the increasing power of finance and market-based policies are shaping the social systems that people rely upon for the necessities of life. 

After leaving the City of Toronto I returned to academia to undertake a PhD in Geography at the University of British Columbia (UBC). At UBC my dissertation explored how market-based education policies spread throughout the United States and the intersections of these markets with financial speculation and the urban geographies of race. My post-doctoral fellowship at Concordia University extended this research interest into Canada through new subject areas such as impact investing and social finance, a topic I am currently exploring through a project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

B.A. (University of Toronto)
M.Sc. Pl (University of Toronto)
PhD (University of British Columbia)

Links: Critical Geographies of Education Specialty Group

Research Interests

My research interests are focused in urban and economic geography, specifically the role of markets in shaping important urban, social, and economic systems that shape people's everyday lives.
Using a political economic approach, my past and current research projects have critically examined our increasing reliance on market systems of service provision to plan the delivery of public goods. Through doing so, I explore how geographic factors such as place-based political struggles and the circulation of financial capital shape the ways that markets evolve and function. This has included research in several areas such as: (1) new models of social finance and impact investing; (2) schooling markets, student debt, and the role of schooling in shaping urban dynamics; (3) the movement of policy between cities; and, (4) new visions for the use of public finance, including the critical analysis of monetary policy.

Student Supervision
I am interested in work with students with research interests in the critical study of markets/finance, geographies of education, and urban policy and philanthropy from a variety of perspectives (political economy, critical race theory, etc.). I currently have funded projects focusing on Canada’s Social Finance Program, new financial technologies of student debt, and the geographies of central bank COVID-19 responses that students can contribute to.

Current Research Opportunity: Recruiting PhD student to work on ‘Engine of inequality? Central Banks, Economic Crisis, and Uneven Development’ project. Position Summary (pdf, 175kB)

Curriculum Vitae (pdf, 150kB)