University of Calgary

Byron Miller

  • Professor
  • +1 (403) 220-7321

Current Research:

Byron Miller’s recent work focuses on the spatial constitution of social movements, urban governance and governmentality, neighbourhood change and inequality, the politics of urban and regional sustainability, and the social and environmental implications of smart cities. He is the author of Geography and Social Movements (2000) on the University of Minnesota Press, co-editor (with Walter Nicholls and Justin Beaumont) of Spaces of Contention: Spatialities and Social Movements (2013) on Ashgate (re-issued on Routledge in 2016), and co-editor (with Andrew Jonas, Kevin Ward, and David Wilson) of the Handbook on the Spaces of Urban Politics (2018) on Routledge.



Byron Miller received his Ph.D. (Geography) from the University of Minnesota in 1995, M.A. (Geography) from Arizona State University in 1984, and B.Sc. (Geography) from The Pennsylvania State University in 1978.  He worked as an urban planner for the city of Scottsdale, Arizona, in the early 1980s, spent three years living and studying in Freiburg, Germany, in the late 1980s, and taught at the University of Cincinnati (1993-2000) before taking his current position at the University of Calgary as Coordinator of the Urban Studies Program. In Calgary he teaches courses on urbanization and urban planning, urban social geography, urban politics and governance, globalization, and field courses on urban sustainability in Europe as well as a seminar on the history and philosophy of geography.  In 2000 Miller was a summer fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He has served as a board member of the Urban Geography Specialty Group (1999-2001) and the European Geography Specialty Group (2009-2011) of the American Association of Geographers, as an editorial board member of Geography Compass (2008-present) and Spaces and Flows (2012-present), and as a board member of Sustainable Calgary (2008-present). He has also served on numerous City of Calgary planning committees including the Downtown Urban Structure Plan committee, the ImagineCalgary Urban Governance Working Group, the ImagineCalgary Steering Committee, and the Community Representation Framework Task Force (2016-2018).  He was one of two citizens appointed by Calgary City Council to serve on the Plan-It Implementation Committee (2009-2010), addressing the implementation of Calgary’s new 60 year Master Development and Transportation Plan (“Plan-It”). He can be contacted at:

Selected Publications


2000  Geography and Social Movements: Comparing Antinuclear Activism in the Boston Area, volume 12 in the Social Movements, Protest, and Contention series, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 235 pages.


2013 Spaces of Contention: Spatialities of Social Movements (co-edited with Walter Nicholls and Justin Beaumont), Alderschot: Ashgate, 310 pages.  (re-issued in 2016 by Routledge)


2018 Handbook on the Spaces of Urban Politics (co-edited with Kevin Ward, Andrew Jonas, and David Wilson), Routledge, 623 pages.



Articles, Book Chapters, Reviews, Technical Reports

2021 “Worlding and Provincialising Smart Cities: From Individual Case Studies to a Global Comparative Research Agenda,” (1st author, with Kevin Ward, Ryan Burns, Victoria Fast, and Anthony Levenda), Urban Studies, 58(3), 655-673.

2021 “Smart Cities: Between Worlding and Provincialising,” (authors, in order: Ryan Burns, Victoria Fast, Anthony Levenda, Byron Miller), Urban Studies, 58(3), 461-470.

2020 “Urban Sustainability and Counter-Sustainability: Spatial Contradictions and Conflicts in Policy and Governance in the Freiburg and Calgary Metropolitan Regions,” (1st author, with Samuel Mössner), Urban Studies.     (short-listed for best article of 2020)

2020 “Rethinking “Public” Participation in the Smart City,” (authors, in order: Anthony Levenda, Noel Keough, Melanie Rock and Byron Miller), The Canadian Geographer, 64(3), 344-358.  

2019 “Citizen Social Science for More Integrative and Effective Climate Action: A Science-Policy Perspective,” (authors, in order: A. Kythreotis, C. Mantyka-Pringle, T. Mercer, L. Whitmarsh, A. Corner, J. Paavola, C. Chambers, B. Miller, and N. Castree), Frontiers in Environmental Science, February, v7, 1-10.

2018 “Neighbourhood Change in Calgary: an Evolving Geography of Income Inequality and Social Difference” (2nd author with Ivan Townshend and Derek Cook), chapter 9 in J. Grant, A. Walks, and H. Ramos (eds) Changing Neighbourhoods: Social and Spatial Polarization in Canadian Cities, Vancouver: UBC Press. 

2018 “Grenzen der Green City: Die Stadt Freiburg und ihr Umland auf dem Weg zu einer nachhaltigen Entwicklung?,” (3rd author with Samuel Mössner and Tim Freytag), Planung-Neu-Denken, 10 pages.

2017 “Energy Systems, Socio-Spatial Relations, and Power: the Contested Adoption of District Heating with Combined Heat and Power in Sweden, 1945-2011,” (2nd author with Aida Nciri), Die Erde, 148 (4), 212-228.

2017 “Editorial: Cities and the Politics of Urban Sustainability,” (3rd author with Samuel Mössner and Tim Freytag), Die Erde, 148 (4), 195-196.

2017 “Secondary Suites, Second-Class Citizens: the History and Geography of Calgary’s Most Controversial Housing Policy” (2nd author with Kylee van der Poorten), The Canadian Geographer, 61(4), 564-578.

2017 “Urban Politics,” 7 pages in The AAG-Wiley International Encyclopedia of Geography, (eds) Noel Castree, Michael Goodchild, Audrey Kobayashi, Weidong Liu, Richard Marston, Douglas Richardson, New York. (invited and refereed)

2017 “Social Movements,” 9 pages in The AAG-Wiley International Encyclopedia of Geography, (eds) Noel Castree, Michael Goodchild, Audrey Kobayashi, Weidong Liu, Richard Marston, Douglas Richardson, New York. (invited and refereed)

2016 “Mobility among the Spatialities,” (first author with Jason Ponto), Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 106 (2), 266-273.

2016 “Sustainability Fix Meets Growth Machine: Attempting to Govern the Calgary Metropolitan Region,” pp. 213-238 in Roger Keil, Pierre Hamel, Julie-Anne Boudreau and Stefan Kipfer (eds), Governing Cities through Regions: Canadian and European Perspectives, Wilfred Laurier Press.

2016 “Alberta, Fossil Capitalism, and the Political Ecology of Change” (co-author with Laurie Adkin), pp. 527-560 in Laurie Adkin (ed) First World Petro-Politics: The Political Ecology and Governance of Alberta, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

2016 “Renewing Alberta’s Energy Future” (third author with Tim Weiss and Benjamin Thibault), pp. 499-526 in Laurie Adkin (ed) First World Petro-Politics: The Political Ecology and Governance of Alberta, Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 

2015 Sustainability for Whom? Sustainability How? pp. 107-116 in D. Wilson (ed) The Politics of the Urban Sustainability Concept, Champaign, Illinois: Common Ground Publishing.

2015 “Sustainability in One Place? Dilemmas of Sustainability Governance in the Freiburg Metropolitan Region” (second author with Samuel Mössner), Regions, 300, Winter, 18-20. 

2015 “Capitalist Pigs: Governmentality, Subjectivities, and the Regulation of Pig Farming in Colonial Hong Kong, 1950-1970” (second author with Kin Wing Chan), Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 1-21.

2013 “Social Movements in Urban Society: the City as a Space of Politicization,” (first author with Walter Nicholls), Urban Geography, 34 (6), 1-22.

2013 “Conceptualizing the Spatialities of Social Movements” (second author with Walter Nicholls and Justin Beaumont), pp. 1-23 in Spaces of Contention: Spatialities of Social Movements, Aldershot and Burlington: Ashgate.  

2013 “Spatialities of Mobilization: Building and Breaking Relationships,” pp. 285-298 in Spaces of Contention: Spatialities of Social Movements, Aldershot and Burlington: Ashgate

2012 “Ascending the Main Stage? Calgary in the Multilevel Governance of Calgary” (first author with Alan Smart), pp. 26-52 in R. Young and M. Horak (eds.) The Multilevel Governance of Canadian Cities, Ottawa: McGill-Queens University Press.

2011 “’Heart of the New West?’ Oil and Gas, Rapid Growth, and Consequences in Calgary” (first author with Alan Smart), pp. 269-290 in T. Hutton, L. Bourne, and J. Simmons (eds.) Trajectories of Change in Canadian City-Regions: Processes, Consequences, and New Policy Directions, Oxford: Oxford University Press.


2011 review of Manuel Pastor, Chris Benner, and Martha Matsuoka’s This Could Be the Start of Something Big: How Social Movements for Regional Equity are Reshaping Metropolitan America, Journal of Regional Science, 645-647.


2010 "Space and Social Movements," in Encyclopedia of Geography, Barney Warf (ed.), London and Thousand Oaks: Sage.


2009 "Is Scale a Chaotic Concept? Notes on Processes of Scale Production," in R. Mahon and R. Keil (eds.) Leviathan Undone? Toward a Political Economy of Scale, pp. 51-66, Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.


2007 "Modes of Governance, Modes of Resistance: Contesting Neoliberalism in Calgary," in H. Leitner, J. Peck, and E. Sheppard (eds.), Contesting Neoliberalism: Urban Frontiers, pp. 223-249, New York: Guilford Press.


2007 "Scale and the Limitations of Ontological Debate: a Commentary on Marston, Jones, and Woodward," (equal co-author with Helga Leitner), Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 32, pp. 116-125.


2007 "Green Cities are Great Cities: Making Alberta’s Cities Global Leaders in the Fight

against Climate Change," in R. Roach (ed.) Alberta’s Energy Legacy: Ideas for the Future, pp. 133-154, Calgary: Canada West Foundation.


2006 "Castell’s The City and the Grassroots: 1983 and Today," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, vol. 30, no. 1, 207-211.


2006 "The Globalization of Fear," in Dennis Conway and Nikolas Heynen (eds.),

Globalization’s Dimensions: Forces of Discipline, Destruction and Resistance, pp. 161-177, New York: Routledge.


2006 “Toward Smart Growth in Calgary: Overcoming Barriers to Sustainable Urban

Development,” (co-authored with David Couroux, Noel Keough, and Jesse Row), Calgary: Sustainable Calgary, 32 pp.


2006 "Policy Shapes Cities More Than You Might Think," (lead article in special issue on Cities), Dialogues (Journal of the Canada West Foundation), Spring, 4-5.


2004 "Spaces of Mobilization: Transnational Social Movements in a Globalizing World,"

in Spaces of Democracy, Clive Barnett and Murray Low (eds.), Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, pp. 223-246.


2004 "Globalization, Sweatshops, and Glocal Organizing," lead article in a special symposium on sweatshops in Antipode, 36 (4), pp. 575-580.


2004 review essay for special symposium on Carolyn Gallaher’s On the Fault Line: Race,

Class and the American Patriot Movement, ACME, 3, 1, pp. 4-6.


2003  "Space and Contentious Politics" (co-authored with Deborah Martin), lead article for a special issue of the interdisciplinary social movements journal Mobilization on Space and Contentious Politics, 8, 2, 143-156.


2001  "Many Paths Forward: Thoughts on Geography and Social Movements," Political Geography, 20, 935-940.


2001  Review of David Harvey’s Spaces of Hope, Journal of Regional Science, 41, 4, 784-788.


2001  "Geography of Social Movements," International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, Neil Smelser and Paul Baltes (eds) New York and Amsterdam: Elsevier, 14357-14360.


1998  Review of David Harvey's Justice, Nature, and the Geography of Difference, Urban Geography, 8, 777-781.


1998  Review of Tim Cresswell's In Place, Out of Place, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 88, 4, 737-739.


1997 "Political Action and the Geography of Defense Investment: Geographical Scale and the Representation of the Massachusetts Miracle," Political Geography, 16, 2, 171-185.


1994  "Political Empowerment, Local-Central State Relations and Geographically Shifting Political Opportunity Structures," Political Geography, 13, 5, 393-406.


1992  "Collective Action and Rational Choice: Place, Community, and the Limits to Individual Self-Interest," Economic Geography, 68, 1, 22-42.


1992  "Book Review Essay: Young, Iris Marion. Justice and the Politics of Difference,"(co-authored with other members of the University of Minnesota Geography Reading Group), Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 10, 1992, 589-595.


1984  "Land Requirements for the Solar and Coal Options," (co-authored with Martin Pasqualetti), The Geographical Journal, 150, 2, 1984, 192-212.


Journal Article

Research Groups

  • Cities as complex adaptive systems
  • Cities as complex adaptive systems


  • PhD
    University of Minnesota, 1995
  • MA
    Arizona State University, 1984
  • BSc cum laude
    Pennsylvania State University, 1978


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