Nathan McClintock, PhD
Toulan School of Urban Studies & Planning
Portland State University
P.O. Box 751-USP
Portland, OR 97207 USA
Office: 350E Urban Center
Tel: +1 503 725 4064
Hello and welcome to my research website! I'm an urban geographer and Associate Professor of Urban Studies & Planning at Portland State University. Engaging with urban political ecology, critical urbanism, and food systems planning, my research broadly examines the relationship between urbanization, agri-food systems, and the environment. Currently, my primary focus is on urban agriculture and social justice in North American cities. For more on my research, click here.
I received my PhD in Geography at UC Berkeley in 2011, where my dissertation work focused on urban agriculture, soil contamination, and uneven development in the flatlands of Oakland, California. My MS (2004) research at NCSU’s Center for Environmental Farming Systems focused on nutrient cycling in sustainable farming systems in the North Carolina Piedmont and Senegal's Peanut Basin. I've been involved in food systems work for more than two decades now, wearing a variety of hats along the way (researcher, trainer, Peace Corps volunteer, journalist, farm manager), with experience in the US and internationally (Canada, Mali, Senegal, Haiti, Mexico, Brazil, Nepal, Bangladesh, France, Ireland). I continue to engage with a number of community partners through my teaching and research.
Ultimately, I discovered the city through agriculture. The more time I spent in the field, the clearer it became that pathways to a more just and sustainable food system are rarely technical in nature. More often they are social, entangled in power structures mediated by a suite of interconnected factors: political economy, race, class, gender, among others. Studying urban agriculture opened my eyes to these relations, to the social and material processes shaping urban space and urban life, to the flows and frictions of people and capital, to social movements, policy, and planning that have little to do with food systems at first blush, but everything to do with what makes or breaks struggles for social and environmental justice in the city. Indeed, it is these struggles and the contexts in which they arise that have become my central focus. Urban gardens, in the end, were my gateway to something both much bigger and deeper...
At PSU, I'm Co-Director of PSU's Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems, as well as affiliated faculty in the Department of Geography and the Department of Sociology. I serve on the board of the Urban Geography Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers, and am also a member of the Canadian Association of Geographers, RC21, and the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association.