Parastou Saberi

Research staff

  • Current position Postdoctoral coordinator and researcher
  • Contact Vrije Universiteit Brussel
    Department of Geography
    Faculty of Sciences
    Building F – Room 4.69
    Pleinlaan 2
    BE-1050 Brussels
  • Phone 02 629 3384
  • E-mail

Parastou’s research sits at the intersection of urban and political geography, critical security studies, and international relations. Currently, she looks at the geopolitical dimensions of urban policies of security and development in Western metropolitan centres. Parastou has done extensive research on area-based policies of social development, housing and policing, along with the rise on hard-Right populism in Toronto, Canada. She has also done work on the relational formation of urbanism and colonial pacification in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in French colonies in North Africa. Her current research examines the relations between urban and security policies in the contexts of the United Kingdom and Belgium, as well as at the EU level. In engaging with the multi-scalar dimensions of development and security politics that have deeply shaped the reality of our urban present, her work is invested in envisioning urban policy as a democratic tool of citizenship, one that is essential for a cosmopolitan urban future. 

Research interests:

  • Racialisation, urban uneven development
  • Urban policy, NGOs and community-based initiatives
  • Urban politics and hard-Right populism
  • Urban security and militarisation
  • Immigration, nationalism, politics of difference and citizenship (Canada)
  • Colonial and neo-colonial urbanism
  • Gentrification, urban design and planning

Key publications

Refereed Journals

2017. Preventing the ‘Paris problem’ in Toronto: The evolution and pitfalls of community policing in ‘immigrant neighbourhoods’. Race & Class, 59(2): 49-69.

2014. From ‘revolution’ to farce? Hard-right populism in the making of Toronto. Studies in Political Economy,93 (Spring): 93-100. (with Stefan Kipfer)


2017. Destroy, build, secure: Readings on pacification (co-edited with Tyler Wall and Will Jackson). Ottawa: Red Quill Books.

Book Chapters

2017. “Humanizing pacification: On the role of urbanism in French colonial pacification strategies”. In Tyler Wall, Parastou Saberi and Will Jackson, eds., Destroy, build, secure: Readings on pacification, pp. 88-106. Ottawa: Red Quill Books.

Review articles

2013. Driven from New Orleans: How nonprofits betray public housing and promote privatization, by John Arena, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012. Historical Materialism, 21(3): 213-228.

Educational Background

2017     Ph.D., Urban Political Theory, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, Toronto, Canada

2006     MA, Sociology, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Canada.

2002     M.Arch, Architecture, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran.

1997     B.Arch, Architecture and Urban Design, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran.

Previous Academic Positions

2015 (Jan) -2016 (Aug)    Course Director, Department of Human Geography, University of Toronto Scarborough, Toronto, Canada.

2014 (Sept-Dec)    Course Director, Department of Geography, Trent University, Peterborough, Canada.

2012-2014      Teaching Assistant (Tutorial Leader), Urban Studies, Department of Social Sciences, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, York University, Toronto, Canada.

2008-2012      Teaching Assistant (Tutorial Leader), Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, Toronto, Canada.

2003-2005      Teaching Assistant, Department of Sociology, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Canada.