York PhD grad awarded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Post-Doctoral Fellowship

rows of suburban houses

Jessica Parish, a master’s and PhD graduate of Political Science at York University, is a recipient of the European Union’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Postdoctoral Fellowship. 

Jessica Parish

The Fellowship is presented by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 competition and will support Parish’s project titled, “Towards a Just Climate Future? Urban sustainability, financialization, and the global housing crisis.” The two-year Fellowship, with a budget of more than 220,000 euros, will allow Parish to assess the social and gendered effects of pension funding investment in green housing infrastructure in Canada and the United Kingdom.  

Nearly 12,000 proposals from researchers around the world were assessed in the competition. Parish was one of 1,638 scholars to receive an award. Commencing in March 2022, this project will be based at the Centre for Urban Research on Austerity (CURA) at De Montfort University (DMU) in Leicester, U.K., under the mentorship of Julia Shaw, professor of law and social justice, and director of the Centre for Law, Justice and Society. 

“I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the research community at the Centre for Urban Research on Austerity at DMU in 2022,” says Parish. “This Fellowship will allow me to extend my previous research on issues of environmental justice and environmental gentrification to look at the important question of whether and how institutional investments can address climate objectives while advancing the internationally recognized human rights to safe, adequate and affordable housing. I’m so grateful for the support I received from the York community and Dr. Murray and the City Institute in particular.” 

Karen Murray, associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at York University, supervised Parish’s PhD dissertation on environmental gentrification in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood in 2017. At the time, Parish was nominated for the York University Faculty of Graduate Studies dissertation prize and was awarded the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship.  

“The graduate program in political science at York University is known for its critical, innovative and pathbreaking research,” says Murray. “Dr. Parish’s latest research is very much an extension of the quality and importance of the research undertaken by graduate students in the program. They are providing intellectual and socially engaged leadership by posing relevant and bold questions to find answers to build a better world.”  

The central research question Parish’s project will answer is: What are the social and gendered effects of pension-backed investments in green housing infrastructure on households and communities? 

Parish’s project also observes how COVID-19 has served as a reminder of the urgency of the housing crisis. While there have been some encouraging shifts in policy – temporary eviction bans and the use of hotels to shelter the homeless – overall, from a housing perspective, the response to the economic fallout of the pandemic has been disappointing. At the same time, there is a growing transnational right to housing movement whose work fighting against evictions and financialization and for forms of public and collective ownership reminds us that it doesn’t have to be this way. 

“I feel so privileged to have the support of the MSCA Fellowship,” says Parish. “It will provide me with the financial and intellectual resources and networks to advance my research on these issues at this critical historical juncture.”  

Further information about the project can be found here.