[Photo of Dr. David L.A. Gordon]

Dr. David Gordon

Professor, FCIP, RPP, AICP, P.Eng.

School of Urban and Regional Planning

Department of Geography and Planning


613-533-6000 ext. 77063

Mackintosh-Corry Hall, Room D327

People Directory Affiliation Category

David Gordon teaches planning history, community design, and urban development at Queen's. He has also taught at the University of Toronto, McGill, Toronto Metropolitan University, Riga, Western Australia, Harvard, MIT, and at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. Before becoming a professor, David was a professional planner for over 15 years, as director of an urban design firm and project manager for a Toronto waterfront agency. He is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners and has shared their National Award of Distinction four times.

David has written widely on urban planning, including the books Planning Twentieth Century Capital Cities (2009; Chinese ed. 2011), Town and Crown: An illustrated history of Canada's capital (2015), and Planning Canadian Communities (2021 with Gerald Hodge and Pamela Shaw). His latest research includes histories of Canadian community planning and comparison of Australian, American, and Canadian suburbs.

Dave was SURP Director from 2008-18; Faculty Coordinator of the National Executive Forum on Public Property for 15 years; and is a founding director of the Council for Canadian Urbanism, where he chairs the Research Committee. He is the principal editor of the journal, Canadian Planning and Policy. The National Capital Commission recently appointed him to its Advisory Committee on Planning, Design, and Realty. Dave also enjoys celebrating the achievements of SURP alumni across Canada, and helping to plan the redevelopment of the Queen's campus.

David was born in Ottawa and grew up in Montreal, New Brunswick, and Europe. He lives in Upper Canada's oldest neighbourhood, and is active in community environmental and social service organizations. Dave can often be seen cycling around downtown Kingston with his daughter.


  • B.Sc., M.PL. (Queen's)
  • MBA, D.Des. (Harvard)
  • FCIP, RPP, AICP, P.Eng


Research Interests:

My current major research field, planning history, uses longitudinal studies of planning practice to answer questions about implementation. The main site is Canada's national capital region, which is the focus of the country's longest sustained urban planning effort. The capital city research program was supported by three SSHRC grants and a Fulbright fellowship. The results are reported in a book, many refereed articles and a research website. This research stream culminated in another book, Town and Crown: An illustrated history of Canada's capital.

A second research focus is planning Canadian suburbs. This area has been addressed in several book chapters, The Canadian Suburbs Atlas, articles in the Journal of the American Planning Association, Urban History Review, Journal of Architectural and Planning Research and Journal of Urban Design. The project is supported by two SSHRC grants to examine the histories, proportions and policy implications of Canadian suburbs.  The research was extended for comparison with Australian suburbs at UWA's Institute for Advanced Studies and American suburbs at MIT’s Center for Advanced Urbanism.

Teaching and Supervision:

Professor Gordon teaches theories and professional practice with illustrated lectures, case studies, role playing, computer simulations and design workshops. He has been nominated twice for the university’s highest teaching award. Recent courses include:

  • GPHY 230 Introduction to Urban and Regional Planning
  • GPHY 332 Cities and Planning for Sustainable Development
  • SURP 805 Negotiation and Dispute Resolution
  • SURP 814 Foundations of Current Planning
  • SURP 817 An Intellectual History  of Planning
  • SURP 824 Urban Planning Project Workshop
  • SURP 840 Land Use Planning

Dr. Gordon has supervised over 130 graduate students to completion of their degrees. He is currently seeking Master’s students interested in studentification, Canadian planning histories and community design. Opportunities for doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows will be advertised when funding is available.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF 505kB)