Lorien Nesbitt

Assistant Professor

Research Classification

Research Interests

Environmental justice
urban forestry
Liveable and equitable urban environments
Socio-ecological interactions in cities
climate change
Ecosystem services
Cities

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs

Research Options

I am available and interested in collaborations (e.g. clusters, grants).
I am interested in and conduct interdisciplinary research.
 
 

Recruitment

Doctoral students
Postdoctoral Fellows
2024
I support public scholarship, e.g. through the Public Scholars Initiative, and am available to supervise students and Postdocs interested in collaborating with external partners as part of their research.
I support experiential learning experiences, such as internships and work placements, for my graduate students and Postdocs.
I am open to hosting Visiting International Research Students (non-degree, up to 12 months).
I am interested in supervising students to conduct interdisciplinary research.

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ADVICE AND INSIGHTS FROM UBC FACULTY ON REACHING OUT TO SUPERVISORS

These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a potential thesis supervisor.

Graduate Student Supervision

Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Coping with heat : community perceptions and experiences of urban forests in Metro Vancouver, Canada (2022)

During the 2021 Western North America heat wave, British Columbians experienced unprecedented temperatures and heat-related illnesses and deaths. As more extreme temperatures are anticipated in the future, it is vital to find ways to alleviate urban heat. Urban forests can reduce temperatures via shading and evapotranspiration, thereby contributing to climate resilience and mitigating heat-related health impacts. However, it is not well understood how residents’ preferences and social, economic, and environmental factors impact their use of urban forests to cope with heat. This limits the capacity of municipalities to design urban forests that meet the heat resilience needs of diverse populations. My research contributes to this field of inquiry by (1) presenting a literature review of the emerging intersections between urban forestry, environmental justice, public health, and heat resilience, and (2) exploring how heat vulnerability status and certain environments/activities (i.e., being at home versus participating in recreation outdoors) influence thermal comfort, cooling method use, and perceptions of street tree protection from heat in Metro Vancouver, Canada. In addition, I situate the diverse perceptions and experiences uncovered by my analyses to inform how urban forestry policy can help mitigate, not exacerbate, existing health and environmental inequities. Findings from the narrative literature review highlight the need for cross-disciplinary collaboration between urban forestry and public health policy makers for heat resilience, with a focus on integrating community perspectives into future planning efforts. My findings suggest that trees are an efficient, potentially equitable way to provide heat relief. However, trees cannot solve everything; they are part of a context-dependent, integrated city heat resilience plan that prioritizes environmental and health equity for heat-vulnerable people and neighborhoods.

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Expelled from the garden? Understanding the dynamics of green gentrification in Vancouver, British Columbia (2021)

Green gentrification scholarship has indicated that instances of urban greening intended to rectify inequities, can contribute to or elicit shifts in property values, encouraging speculative commercial and retail investment, disrupting existing socio-spatial relationships, and threatening the housing security of residents. Our research contributes to this emergent field of inquiry by 1) synthesizing the academic literature to produce a conceptual framework for green gentrification, and 2) exploring the motivations, justifications, and planning processes leading to the integration of a 1-acre urban farm within an ongoing large-scale redevelopment in Vancouver, Canada. In addition, we situate the experiences of an urban farm currently operating on the site within the narrative of redevelopment to understand the contradictory position in which urban residents practicing urban greening are sometimes placed — both implicated in and impacted by green gentrification processes. First, our research presents a novel conceptual framework for the study of green gentrification, based on findings from a scoping review and dimensional analysis conducted across green gentrification, urban greening, and related literatures. We identify three principal dimensions of green gentrification as it relates to urban greening — conceptual foundations; design and intent; and socio-spatial change — as well as six related sub-dimensions. Next, we apply this framework to our case site. A suite of qualitative methods informs our case study and offers an in-depth understanding of decision-making leading to the integration of the 1-acre urban farm. Our findings reveal that the proposed 1-acre urban farm affirms a hegemonic, performative notion of sustainability useful in attracting a privileged clientele to the future development. In addition, we highlight the role of the existing farm in inspiring the image of urban agriculture promoted by developers. We note that the farm’s vision, mission, and identity have been co-opted by development agents and used as a branding tool to promote and support the public perception of the redevelopment. Our findings offer insight into novel relationships between urban agriculture, large-scale redevelopment, and green gentrification. What’s more, they contribute to existing discourse concerning the limitations of development processes to account for the risks of green gentrification.

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News Releases

This list shows a selection of news releases by UBC Media Relations over the last 5 years.
 
 

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