School of Cities / News

Regional Studies Association honours Karen Chapple with award in recognition of lifetime achievement in the field  

Headshot of Karen Chapple

On Monday, July 31st the Regional Studies Association (RSA) awarded the Sir Peter Hall Award to Karen Chapple, the Director of the School of Cities and a professor in U of T’s Department of Geography & Planning. The award is given for lifetime achievements in the field of regional studies, including publications, teaching, original research, and influence on public life. Professor Chapple joins group of notable winners, including Michael Storper, Ann Markusen, Susan Fainstein, Saskia Sassen, and U of T’s President and renowned urban geographer Meric Gertler, who was awarded it in 2020. 

In accepting the award via an online ceremony, Karen Chapple said: “I’m deeply honoured and humbled to receive this award. For many of us, RSA is an ideal intellectual home because it’s open to many disciplines, methodologies, regions, and spatial scales […] As I receive this award, I want to express gratitude to Sir Peter Hall for his foresight and wisdom in forming the organization – he has been a personal model for many of us.”  

The RSA was founded in the U.K. in 1965. Sir Peter Hall, a prolific and influential urbanist and geographer, was a founding member of the association, and its inaugural President. The RSA believes that “regions are a key spatial scale for examining the nature and impacts of political, economic, social and environmental change and innovation.” The organization pursues its aims through publishing journals, organizing conferences, granting funding and awards, and building networks. 

Karen Chapple was named as the Director of School of Cities in 2020. As well as teaching in the University’s Department of Geography & Planning, she is also Professor Emerita of City & Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, where she served as department chair and held the Carmel P. Friesen Chair in Urban Studies. 

Chapple studies inequalities in the planning, development, and governance of regions in the Americas, with a focus on economic development and housing. Her recent books include Planning Sustainable Cities and Regions: Towards More Equitable Development (Routledge, 2015), which won the John Friedmann Book Award from the American Collegiate Schools of Planning; Transit-Oriented Displacement or Community Dividends? Understanding the Effects of Smarter Growth on Communities (with Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, MIT Press, 2019); and Fragile Governance and Local Economic Development: Theory and Evidence from Peripheral Regions in Latin America (with Sergio Montero, Routledge, 2018). She has published recently on a broad array of subjects, including the use of big data to predict gentrification, the fiscalization of land use, urban displacement, competition in the electric vehicle industry, job creation on industrial land, and accessory dwelling units as a smart growth policy.