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Damian Collins, PhD

Associate Professor


Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

About Me

I am a human geographer with particular interests in social inclusion, urban development and public health. 

In broad terms, my work explores the public aspects of contemporary social life - specifically public policies, public services and public spaces. I seek to understand why these "public things" are important, and why we collectively devote so much effort to debating them. These debates occur at all scales, from informal conversations through to major constitutional challenges.

Rights claims often play a critical role in shaping public policies, public services and public spaces. I explore the way in which rights are influential in shaping "who gets what where, and how" (Smith D.M., 1974). The right to housing is of central importance in my current SSHRC-funded research on homelessness policy in Canada.

At a more applied level, I am concerned to identify and understand the ways in which public policies, public services and public spaces can support human health and wellbeing. I do this because I believe health is a resource for everyday living that everyone has the right to attain.


My BA and MA (Hons) were in Geography at the University of Auckland

My PhD was in Geography at Simon Fraser University. I worked in the Legal Geography Research Group

Editorial Roles

I am the Editor of Geography Compass Social

I am on the International Editorial Board of Health & Place


Since taking up my position at the University of Alberta in 2008 I have worked in the following research areas:

  • Smoke-free environments
  • Coastal development and recreation
  • Urban homelessness
  • Health-promoting places
  • Sustainable travel