University of Calgary

Joyce Percel

  • Doctoral Student
  • Graduate Assistant-Teaching

Education and Background

M.A., Sustainable Urban Development, DePaul University, 2018
GIS Certificate, DePaul University, 2018
B.S., Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2008

I am a doctoral student in the Department of Geography at the University of Calgary. Before moving to Calgary, I lived in Chicago, Illinois and worked in the nonprofit sector. My nonprofit work ranged from developing and running educational programs for youth to creating a neighborhood-level community development initiative. As my interests shifted towards neighborhood change in cities, I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Sustainable Urban Development with a focus on GIS and gentrification. By the end of my Master’s program, my interests grew to include more theoretical questions of racial and digital injustice and how inequity manifests in urban space.


Broadly, my research interests include digital geographies, critical data studies, racial capitalism, critical race theory, urban geography, and the politics of knowledge production. My interests converge at the geographical nature of race and digital technologies in urban space – more specifically, the ways in which various forms of racial difference are (re)produced in data and algorithmic models used by urban administrators to make planning decisions. I am particularly invested in understanding how processes of racialization and algorithmic planning work together to reinforce the racialization of space in cities. My current research asks how historic social mechanisms of racialization have shaped Chicago’s urban space and how aspects of these mechanisms persist within digital technologies in ways that maintain historical racial boundaries and produce capital based on racial difference.

Current Studies

  • Doctoral Student
    Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
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