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  David J Gordon

David J Gordon

Associate Professor




Social Sciences Division

Politics Department

Associate Professor


Environmental Studies Department

Regular Faculty

International and Global Affairs
Environmental Policy
Urban studies
Climate Change
Comparative Politics

Merrill College Faculty Office Annex

152 Merrill Annex

Merrill/Crown Faculty Services

PhD University of Toronto, Political Science (2016)                                                                                        M.A. University of Manitoba, Political Studies (2008)                                                                                     B.Comm (Hons) University of Manitoba, Commerce (2003)

Dr. Gordon teaches and conducts research on the topics of global governance, the politics of climate change, environmental sustainability, and global urban governance.

Dr. Gordon's research addresses problems of global coordination and explores the opportunities and limitations of non-traditional (those involving actors other than states) modes of collective action. He focuses on identifying the politics and power relations that operate within such initiatives, and understanding how these internal dynamics influence both governance outcomes and perceptions of political legitimacy.

His work contributes to the literature on global environmental governance and engages in active dialogue with multiple scholarly communities (International Relations, Comparative Politics, and Urban Politics). Working at these disciplinary borders opens up analytic space to explore novel efforts at generating collective action, disrupting lock-in, and producing meaningful and just governance outcomes at both global and local scales.

Current research projects underway focus on the political legitimacy of cities as global climate governors and the politics of just transformations in and through cities, with a special interest in (a) the ways in which cities are making efforts at being more transparent in their climate governance ambitions and activities (b) the local political legitimacy of cities as global climate actors as a function of city transparency and accountability across governance scales (local vs. global), and (c) assessing transformative interventions at the urban scale.

A separate line of ongoing research theorizes the political dynamics shaping how cities engage as world-political actors across a variety of issue areas (climate, migration, health, security, and so on) with a special interest in dynamics of identity formation, diffusion, and institutionalization.

  • Global climate governance
  • Transnational governance networks
  • Cities and global governance
  • Comparative climate politics
  • Urban transportation governance
  • IR Constructivism
  • Social field theory
  • Norm diffusion

  • Institute for Social Transformation Sprout Grant (2019-20)
  • Hellmann Fellow (2018-2019)
  • SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship (2015-2016)
  • For a full list of awards, grants, and honours click here


Cities on the World Stage: The Politics of Global Urban Climate Governance (Cambridge University Press, 2020)


Peer Reviewed Articles and Chapters


Gordon, D. and K. Ljungkvist. 2022. Theorizing the Globally Engaged City, European Journal of International Relations 28(1): 58-82


Lecavalier, E. and D. Gordon. 2020. Beyond Networking? The Agency of City Network Secretariats in the Realm of City Diplomacy, in Sohaela Amiri and Efe Sevin, eds. City Diplomacy: Current Trends and Future Prospects. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 13-36


Gordon, D., C. Johnson. 2019. From there to here and beyond: A friendly rejoinder to Davidson et al., Global Policy 10(4): 715-717


Gordon, D. 2019. 'Unpacking Agency in Global Urban Climate Governance: City-Networks as Actors, Agents, and Arenas,' in Jeroen van der Heijden, Harriet Bulkeley and Chiara Certoma, eds. Urban Climate Politics: Agency and Empowerment. London: Cambridge University Press, 21-38.


Hsu, A., Hohne, N., Kuramochi, T., Roelfsema, M., Weinfurter, A., Xie, Y., Lutkehermoller, K. Chan, S., Corfee-Morlot, J., Drost, P., Faria, P., Gardiner, A., Gordon, D., Hale, T., Hultman, N., Moorhead, J., Reuvers, S., Setzer, J., Singh, N., Weber, C., Widerberg, O. 2019. A research roadmap for quantifying non-state and subnational climate mitigation action. Nature Climate Change 9: 11-17


Romero-Lankao, P., Bulkeley, H., Pelling, M., Burch, S., Gordon, D., Johnson, C., Kurian, P., Lecavalier, E., Simon, D., Tozer, L., Ziervogel, G., Munshi, D. 2018. Realizing the Urban Transformative Potential in a Changing Climate, Nature Climate Change 8: 754-761


Gordon, D. 2018. Global urban climate governance in three and a half parts: experimentation, coordination, integration, (contestation), WIREs Climate Change 9(6)


Gordon, D., C. Johnson. 2018. City-networks, global climate governance, and the road to 1.5C, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 30: 35-41


Gordon, D. and C. Johnson. 2017. The Orchestration of Global Urban Climate Governance After Paris. Environmental Politics
26(4): 694-714


Gordon, D. and M. Paterson. 2017. 'Climate Change and International Politics' in Mark Beeson and Nick Bisley, eds. Issues in 21st Century World Politics. Palgrave Macmillan 


Gordon, D. April 2016. The Politics of Accountability in Networked Urban Climate Governance. Global Environmental Politics 16(2): 82-100


Gordon, D. May 2016. Lament for a Network? Cities and Networked Climate Governance in Canada. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 34(3): 529-545


Gordon, D. 2015. An Uneasy Equilibrium: The Coordination of Climate Governance in Federated Systems. Global Environmental Politics 15(2): 121-141


Gordon, D. and M. Acuto. 2015. “If cities are the solution, what are the problems? The promise and perils of urban climate leadership,” in Craig Johnson, Heike Schroeder, and Noah Toly, eds. The Urban Climate Challenge: Rethinking the Role of Cities in the Global Climate Regime. pp 63-81. New York: Routledge


Gordon, D. and D. Macdonald. 2014. Institutions and Federal Climate Change Governance: A Comparison of Intergovernmental Coordination in Australia and Canada, in I. Weibust, J. Meadowcroft, eds. Multilevel Environmental Governance: Managing Water and Climate Change in Europe and North America. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing


Gordon, D. 2013. Between Local Innovation and Global Impact: Cities, Networks and the Governance of Climate Change. Canadian Foreign Policy Journal, 19(3): 288-307 (Selected as the best article published in CFPJ for 2013)


Gordon, D., A. Crane-Droesch, A. Mershon, P. Kurukulasuriya. 2009. L’approche programmatizue de l’adaptation communautaire: le levier des projects locaux pour un effet global. Liaison Energie-Francophonie, 85 (9): 135-137


Technical Reports

Gordon, D. 2014. Market-Based Instruments, Climate Change, and Sustainable Transportation Governance in Cities. Sustainable Prosperity Research Report


Gordon, D. 2014. Climate Change and Transportation Governance: Looking for Lessons in New York City, London, and Paris. Sustainable Prosperity Research Report


Macdonald, D. D. Gordon, K. Kern, J. Monstadt, S. Scheiner, A. Pristupa, A. Hayden, A. Bidordinova. 2013. Emissions Allocation Amongst Jurisdictions in Four Federal Systems: Recommendations for Reforming Canadian Institutions of Climate Governance. University of Toronto, Centre for Environment


Bernstein, S., M. Hoffmann, B. J. Evans, D. Gordon, H. van der Ven. 2013. Creating Pathways to Decarbonization. Workshop report. Munk School of Global Affairs, Environmental Governance Lab


Gordon, D., A. Crane-Droesch, A. Mershon, P. Kurukulasuriya. 2009. Benefits of Programmatic CBA: Leverage Local Projects for Global Impact. UNDP Internal Report

Theories of International and World Politics - Poli 160A
Global Political Ecology - Poli 174
Topics in Urban Governance - 190F
Who Governs the Globe? Shifting Authority in Contemporary World Politics - 213
Global Politics - Pol70

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