• Assistant Professor
    Department of City Planning

    305A Architecture 2 Building
    56 Curry Place
    University of Manitoba
    (Fort Garry Campus)
    Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2M6

    T. 204-474-6426


  • Ph.D. (Urban Planning and Policy), University of Illinois, Chicago
  • M.C.P. (City Planning), University of Manitoba
  • B.E.S. (Environmental Studies), York University

Professional memberships

  • Canadian Institute of Planners
  • Manitoba Professional Planners Institute
  • Registered Professional Planner (RPP)

Research interests

Housing policy; housing and community development; neighbourhood change; planning in colonial contexts; Indigenous planning; neoliberal urbanism; community-based research.


My research interests focus on social policy and the implications of privatization and commodification of social programs. I approach my work with a social justice lens, seeking to identify and address inequity in policy development and implementation. My current research examines housing for low-income households in Canada, with a focus on the expiry of social housing funding agreements—an issue that will transform the landscape of housing and housing policy in Canada over the next few decades.

I grew up in Toronto, and completed a Bachelor of Environmental Studies at York University (Toronto), followed by a Master of City Planning at the University of Manitoba (Winnipeg) and a PhD in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois (Chicago). Prior to completing my PhD, I worked as a Research Associate and Planner at the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources in Winnipeg, and as a researcher at the Manitoba office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. I have worked on a wide variety of research and planning projects, including neighbourhood housing plans, watershed and community plans, and housing and social policy analysis.

Select publications

Langille, K., S. Mitchell, S. St. Denis, S. Cooper and S. MacKinnon. 2023. Social housing as a human right: A housing rights primer. Manitoba Research Alliance. 

Cooper, S. and S. Zell. (2023). Staying on Board: Non-profit housing provider board capacity in a changing context. Institute of Urban Studies, University of Winnipeg. 

Starr, C., A. McKinnon, and S. Cooper. 2022. From house to home: Safe spaces for us. Spence Neighbourhood Association. 

Cooper, S. (2022). Becoming Landlords: The Changing Interests of Non-profit and Co-operative Housing Providers in Manitoba, Canada. Housing Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/02673037.2022.2057931  

Asher, L., K. Villebrun-Normand and S. Cooper. 2022. First Steps Towards a Just Recovery. In State of the Inner City: Placing community at the heart of the recovery from COVID-19. (pp. 7-48). Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Manitoba. 

Grift, J. and S. Cooper. 2020. We work in crisis all day long: Rethinking emergency planning in Winnipeg’s inner city. In State of the Inner City 2020: COVID 19: The Changing State of the Inner City. (pp.49-65). Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Manitoba. 

Cooper, S. and J. Hajer. 2020. The COVID-19 Policy Response for Renters and Persons Experiencing Homelessness in Manitoba. In COVID-19 in Manitoba: Public Policy Responses to the First Wave. (pp. 173-180). Eds. A. Rounce and K. Levasseur. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.

Cooper, S., Hajer, J., and S. Plaut. 2020. Assisting Renters: A Critical Analysis of Manitoba’s Rent Assist in the Context of Canada’s National Housing Strategy. Winnipeg: Manitoba Non-Profit Housing Association and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Manitoba.

Cooper, S. with M. Barchyn. (2018). Not Alone: Research as a Relational Process. In S. MacKinnon (Ed.), Practising Community-Based Participatory Research: Stories of engagement, empowerment and mobilization (162-175). Vancouver: Purich Books.

Cooper, S. (2018). Why Protecting Public Housing is Important. Winnipeg: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Manitoba.