Dr. Penny Gurstein is Professor and Director of the School of Community and Regional Planning and the Centre for Human Settlements at UBC. She specializes in the socio-cultural aspects of community planning with particular emphasis on those who are the most marginalized in planning processes. Her research focuses on developing strategies and interventions that encourage diversity, equity and urban sustainability in the planning and design of communities.
Her current research is investigating strategies for affordable homeownership and rental housing both internationally and in Canada. She is currently Principal Investigator of the Future of Public Housing Project http://www.futureofpublichousing.scarp.ubc.ca/ focusing on publically-assisted housing, and co-Principal Investigator of Housing Justice http://housingjustice.ca/ , a Peter Wall Solutions Initiative project, focusing on housing access and affordability. Recent books include: Learning Civil Societies: Shifting Contexts for Democratic Planning and Governance (with L. Angeles, 2007, U. of Toronto Press); and Wired to the World, Chained to the Home: Telework in Daily Life (2001, UBC Press). She has also worked on capacity building projects in developing countries focusing on gender and youth development issues most notably in Brazil and has considerable experience working with community groups in the greater Vancouver region.
Past research projects focused on youth engagement and "the hard to house." Other projects include two major studies funded by SSHRC. One, funded by SSHRC INE (Initiative on the New Economy) investigated the impact of e-work on companies and communities, in Canada and internationally (www.chs.ubc.ca/emergence/). The other, funded by SSHRC MCRI (Major Collaborative Research Initiative) looked at the impact of government reduction of social services on single parent families on income assistance http://includingallchildren.educ.ubc.ca/work-research/child-project/). She is Co-Chair of the Pacific Housing Research Network and a registered member of the Canadian Institute of Planners. She is the 2016 recipient of the YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Education, Training and Development.