Department of Geography and Planning

Department of Geography and Planning
Department of Geography and Planning
Head and shoulders photo of Dr. Leela Viswanathan

Leela Viswanathan

Associate Professor, MCIP, RPP
School of Urban and Regional Planning

Leela Viswanathan teaches on topics including social planning, qualitative research methods, approaches to planning with Indigenous Peoples and urban political geography. Her professional expertise in social policy, integrated comprehensive planning approaches, and community development with diverse populations informs both her teaching and her research. She is a Registered Professional Planner in Ontario and a Full Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners.

Dr. Viswanathan is Faculty Coordinator of the National Executive Forum on Public Property. She continues to engage in outreach activities with SURP alumni and building connections with planners and community leaders.


  • B.A. (McGill)
  • M.E.S. Planning (York)
  • Ph.D. (York)


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Dr. Viswanathan’s research emerges at the intersection of planning, equity and diversity. Her ongoing research interests involve theories and practices of: (1) planning with First Nations; (2) planning pedagogy and service learning; and (3) race and cross-cultural relations. She frequently collaborates with community-based and academic researchers to address both technical and adaptive planning problems at local and regional geographic scales. She is Principal Investigator on a multi-year SSHRC-funded collaborative research project examining approaches to planning with Indigenous peoples. See PWIP Research Group. The aim of the research is to enhance Indigenous-municipal relations in the context of land use planning in Southern Ontario and to seek relevant connections and applications to other jurisdictions.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF 419 kB)