As an economic geographer and urban planner, my research broadly focuses on the transformation of cities as a result of economic, social and cultural change. My work is organized under the following three categories: Digital Cities / Urban Innovation, Urban / Community Economic Development and Pedagogy, Experiential Learning, Urban Engagement.

Digital Cities / Urban Innovation

Innovation, digital cities and urban economic development are core areas of my research. This work informs understanding of contemporary 21st century urban challenges.


Brail, S. (2020). World cities of ride-hailing. Urban Geography, 1–22.

Brail, S. and Donald, B. 2020. Digital Cities: contemporary issues in urban policy and planning in Canadian Cities in Transition, sixth edition, edited by Moos, M., Vinodrai, T. and Walker, R. Toronto: Oxford University Press.

Brail, S. 2018. From Renegade to Regulated: The Digital Platform Economy, Ride-hailing and the Case of Toronto. Canadian Journal of Urban Research. 27(2): 51-64.

Brail, S. 2017. Promoting Innovation Locally: Municipal Regulation as Barrier or Boost. Geography Compass, 11:12, 1-12.

Mills, L. and Brail, S. 2002. Toronto’s New Media Cluster in the New Millennium in Knowledge, Clusters and Regional Innovation: Economic Development in Canada, edited by Wolfe, D. and Holbrook, JA. Kingston: McGill Queen’s University Press, 135-159.

Brail, S. and Gertler, M. 1999. The Digital Regional Economy: Emergence and Evolution of Toronto’s Multimedia Cluster in Multimedia and Regional Economic Restructuring, edited by Braczyk, Fuchs and Wolf. London: Routledge Press, 97-130.

Urban / Community Economic Development

A second area of research examines urban and community economic development – based upon a series of case studies – as a way of exploring urban dynamism, global and local shifts and responses to changing urban economic conditions.


Brail, S. and Kumar, N.  2017.  Community leadership and engagement after the mix: The transformation of Toronto’s Regent Park. Urban Studies, 54:16, 3772-3788.

Brail, S., E. Mizrokhi and S. Ralston. 2017. Examining the transformation of Regent Park, Toronto: Prioritizing hard and soft infrastructure in Urban Transformations: Geographies of Renewal and Creative Change, edited by Wise, N. and Clark, J., Routledge, 177-194.

Leslie, D., Brydges, T. and Brail, S. 2015. Qualifying aesthetic values in the experience economy: the role of independent fashion boutiques in curating slow fashion in Spatial Dynamics in the Experience Economy, edited by Lorentzen, A., Schroder, L, and K.T. Larsen.  New York: Routledge.

Leslie, D., Brail, S. and Hunt, M. 2014.  Crafting an antidote to Fast Fashion: The Case of Toronto’s Independent Fashion Design Sector.  Growth and Change, 45:1, 222-239.

Leslie, D., Hunt, M. and Brail, S.  2014.  Attracting and retaining artistic talent in Toronto: Cosmopolitanism, cultural diversity and inclusion in Seeking Talent for Creative Cities: The Social Dynamics of Innovation, edited by Grant, J.  Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 59-76.

Leslie, D. and Brail. S. 2011. The productive role of ‘quality of place’: a case study of fashion designers in Toronto.  Environment and Planning A, Vol 43, pp. 2900-2917.

Pedagogy, Experiential Learning, and Urban Engagement

Another area of my research centres on pedagogy in the realm of experiential learning through the field of urban studies.  


Brail, S. and Whalen, K. 2019. Examining the potential of experiential learning pedagogy for senior undergraduate students in Handbook of Teaching and Learning in Geography, edited by Walkington, H., Hill, J. and Dyer, S. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Brail, S. 2016. Quantifying the value of service-learning:  comparison of grade achievement between service-learning and non-service-learning students. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 28:2,148-157.

Levkoe, C., Brail, S. and Daniere, A. 2014.  Engaged pedagogy and transformative learning in graduate education: a service-learning case study.  Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 44:3, 68-85.

Brail, S.  2013.  Experiencing the city: Urban studies students and service-learning.  Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 37:2, 241-256.

Allahwalla A., Bunce, S., Beagrie, L., Brail, S., Hawthorne, T., Levesque, S., von Mahs, J., and Spotton Visano, B. 2013.  Building and sustaining community-university partnerships in marginalized urban areas.  Journal of Geography, 112:2, 43-57.