Photo of Jill Wigle

Jill Wigle

Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

Degrees:MSc.Planning (University of Toronto) Ph.D. (University of Toronto)


I studied urban planning and geography at the University of Toronto. After finishing my PhD, I had the good fortune to complete a postdoctoral fellowship at the wonderful Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (Azcapotzalco) in Mexico City. As an urban geographer, I’m broadly interested in housing, planning and urban governance issues and their relationship to precarity and equity. My research focuses on the geographies of “informal” housing and spatial regulation, everyday planning practices, space and gendered livelihoods, and the spatial politics of neighbourhood (barrio) upgrading in Mexico City. This research has explored access to land and housing issues as well as the ways that “formal” planning maps and programs intersect with planning practices to produce “informality” in different territories of the city. At Carleton, I’m cross-appointed to the Institute of Political Economy (IPE) and participate in the Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) Program. I welcome graduate students with overlapping or related research interests. Some students may also be interested in our MA Geography with Specialization in Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

Courses Taught

  • Cities in a Global World (GEOG 3023)
  • Approaches to Geographic Inquiry (GEOG 5000)
  • Regional Field Excursion (GEOG 3030) Mexico City Field Course
  • Environment and Sustainability in the Global South (GEOG 3209)
  • Environmental Colloquium (ENST 3000)
  • People, Places and Environments (GEOG/ENST 1020)

Research Interests

  • The social production of housing and the right to the city
  • Urban planning, spatial regulation, power and precarity
  • Area focus: cities in Canada and Latin America, especially Mexico City/Mexico

Research Projects

  • Research team, AlterHábitat. Producción Social del Hábitat en Áreas Metropolitanas del Norte y el Sur Global: Políticas, Instituciones and Movilización Social, Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, España, 2019-2022.
  • Co-applicant, Mexico City team, Insight Development Grant, Safe Cities, Urban Politics and Social Policy in North American Cities (New York, Toronto, Mexico City), 2016-2019.
  • Co-investigator, Mexico City team, SSHRC-IDRC Partnership Development Grant, Hungry Cities(China, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Mozambique and South Africa), 2014-2019.
  • Principal investigator, Standard Research Grant, SSHRC, Spatial Governance and Informal Settlement in Mexico City, 2011-2015.

Selected Publications

Wigle, Jill and Lorena Zárate.2022. Claiming the right to the city in Mexico City: From lived experience to mobilizing for change, in Patricia Ballamingie and David Szanto (eds.) Showing Theory to Know Theory: Understanding Social Science Concepts through Illustrative Vignettes. Showing Theory Press. Available at:

Wigle, Jill and Lorena Zárate. 2022. The right to the city in Latin America and the Caribbean, in Jesús González-Pérez, Clara Irazábal Zurita and Rubén Lois-González (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Urban Studies in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Wigle, Jill. 2020. Fast-track redevelopment and slow-track regularization: The uneven geographies of spatial regulation in Mexico CityLatin American Perspectives 47 (6): 56-76.

Hungry Cities Partnership Report No. 7: The Urban Food System of Mexico City, Mexico. 2017. Cape Town, South Africa and Waterloo, Canada: African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town and Wilfrid Laurier University/Balsillie School of International Affairs.

Connolly, Priscilla and Jill Wigle. 2017. (Re)constructing Informality and “Doing Regularization”in the Conservation Zone of Mexico CityPlanning Theory and Practice, 18 (2): 183-201.

Wigle, Jill. 2016. De Áreas Verdes a Zonas Grises: Gobernanza del Espacio y Asentamientos Irregulares en Xochimilco, Ciudad de México, in Antonio Azuela (Ed.) La Ciudad y Sus Reglas: Sobre la Huella del Derecho en el Orden Urbano. Mexico City: Instituto de Investigaciones, UNAM and PAOT.

Wigle, Jill. 2014. The “graying” of “green” zones: Spatial governance and irregular settlement in Xochimilco, Mexico City. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. 38(2): 573-589.

Wigle, Jill and Lorena Zárate. 2012. Realizing the Right to the City: From declaration to action? Progressive Planning 193: 35-38.

Wigle, Jill. 2010. The “Xochimilco model” for managing irregular settlements in conservation land in Mexico CityCities 27: 337–347.

Wigle, Jill. 2010. Social Relations, Property and “Peripheral” Informal Settlement: The Case of Ampliación San Marcos, Mexico CityUrban Studies 47(2): 411–436.

Wigle, Jill. 2008. Shelter, Location and Livelihoods: Exploring the Linkages in Mexico City. International Planning Studies 13 (3): 197-222.

Graduate Student Supervision

2018-2020. Lucia Morales Vargas, MA student in Human Geography. Gender Mobility on Guatemala City’s Transmetro: Women’s lived experiences of public transportation.

2019- Monika Imeri, PhD student in Human Geography (co-supervision with Professor David Hugill)

2019- Jessica Sperry, MA student in Human Geography

2018- Lucia Morales Vargas, MA student in Human Geography

2017- Lorna Quiroga, PhD student in Human Geography (co-supervision with Professor Christina Rojas)

2017-2019 Paulina Ascencio Ramos, MA student in Human Geography. Everyday Experiences of Women in Mass-produced Housing in the Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara, Mexico.

2010-2016   Andrea Carrión, PhD, DGES, co-supervised with Professor Derek Smith. The Spatial Restructuring of Resource Regulation. The Gold Mining Enclave of Zaruma and Portovelo, Ecuador (1860-1980). Winner of the 2017 award for best doctoral dissertation, Canadian Association for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CALACS).

2013-2016   Alex Copp,  MA, DGES, From Urban Forests to Neighbourhood Treescapes: An Examination of Power, Actors and Processes in Champlain Park, Ottawa.

2013-2014   Glennys Egan, MA, IPE, co-supervised with Professor Blair Rutherford. ‘Actually-existing’ Neoliberalism in Nairobi, Kenya: Examining Informal Traders’ Negotiations over Access to the Entrepreneurial City.

2010-2013   Chris Bisson, MA, DGES, co-supervised with Professor Patricia Ballamingie. Forests for the People: Resisting Neoliberalism through Permaculture Design.