Picture of Avi Akkerman

Avi Akkerman B.A., M.Sc., Ph.D., MCIP


Associate Member in Philosophy

Kirk Hall 113

Research Area(s)

  • Urban Design: Winter cities; pedestrian networks; wind tunnels; back alley design
  • Transportation: Integration of traffic modes; mathematical modeling of urban transportation
  • Urban Access: Physical accessibility in the city; Access needs by age and ability
  • History of city-form: Neolithic settlements; Ancient, medieval and Renaissance city
  • Phenomenology of the city: Mind-city interaction; urban diurnal change; weather and city-form

About me


Last Ten Years

Akkerman, A. and Jingkun Shao, 2020. The Bagua as an Intermediary between Archaic Chinese Geomancy and Early European Urban Planning and Design. Journal of Chinese Architecture and Urbanism 2(1): 1-22.

Akkerman, A. 2020. The Urban Archetypes of Jane Jacobs and Ebenezer Howard. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Akkerman, A. 2019. Philosophical Urbanism: Lineages in Mind-Environment Patterns. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Akkerman, A. 2016. Phenomenology of the Winter-City. Springer, 2016.

Akkerman, A. 2015. Myths of the North and origins of city-form: Some reflections across history and prehistory,  Journal of Architecture and Urbanism 39(3): 165-175.

Akkerman, A. 2014. Towards a phenomenology of the winter-city: Urbanization and mind through the Little Ice Age and its sequels, Studia Phaenomenologica 14: 161-189.

Akkerman, A. 2014. Platonic myth and urban space: City-form as an allegory, University of Toronto Quarterly 83(4): 757-779.

Akkerman, A. 2014. Winter-cities and mood disorder: Observations from the European city-form at the end of Little Ice Age, Trames Journal for the Humanities and Social Sciences  18(1): 19-37.

Akkerman, A. 2013.   Gender myth and the mind-city composite: from Plato’s Atlantis to Walter Benjamin’s philosophical urbanism, GeoJournal 78(4): 727-741 

Akkerman, A. 2013. Reclaiming the back alley, Public Sector Digest 10(3): 7-11. 

Akkerman, A. and Shinji Shimoura 2012. Discrete choice in commuter space: Small area analysis of diurnal population change in the Tokyo Metropolitan Region, Computers, Environment and Urban Systems 35(5): 386-397.

Akkerman, A. 2012.  Philosophical urbanism and the predilections of urban design, Chap. 1 in: Jaroslav Burian (ed.), Advances in Spatial Planning. InTech: Rijeka, Croatia, pp. 3-19

Teaching & Supervision

GEOG 340.3 The European Heritage of Our Built Environment (Spring Intersession, 1999 - 2015)
A field study and seminar on urban design and architecture in Central Europe. The topics cover the observation and analysis of architectonic styles preserved at Prague, or elsewhere in Bohemia. Emphasis is on the inspection of the late Gothic and Baroque styles, particularly as they relate to streets and squares, and to their integration within streetscapes and architecture of the 20th century. The field study is over a period of ten working days with 3-4 hours per day of class contact.

GEOG 348.3 Introduction to Demography  (2019 - ongoing)
This course will introduce the students to processes of growth, decline and distribution of populations and households. The first half of the term will discuss the prehistoric and historic demography of human populations, from migration waves out of Africa into Eurasia during the Paleolithic, to peopling of the Americas during the Mesolithic and the early Neolithic, the growth and distribution of human populations in Antiquity and the Middle-Ages, the processes of urbanization and population growth and redistribution since early modernity, Thomas Malthus’ Essay on the Principle of Population and his notion of the relation between food supply and population growth, and Frank Notestein formulation of the demographic transition theory. The second half of the term introduces modern demographic data and their sources, focusing on fertility, mortality, and migration. The term closes with the outline of population projection methodology as introduced through the twentieth century, applied to the latest available Canadian census data.

GEOG 346.3 Introduction to Urban Design (1990 - ongoing)
A lecture/seminar on the history, context and elements of the built urban environment. Function and form, and aspects of urban aesthetics are discussed in relation to streetscapes, open spaces and heritage conservation. The relationship of urban design with trends in social thought and with cultural patterns is addressed. The studio consists of design exercises including graphic presentations and elementary applications in computer-aided drafting.

GEOG 350.3 Transportation Planning and Geography  (2002 - ongoing)
An introduction to the geographical aspects of transportation theory and planning. Major topical areas emphasized are travel behaviour, transportation planning and policy, and pedestrian network design. Analytic methods in travel behaviour, and design of pedestrian and other transportation networks are examined. Issues in sustainable transportation, and pedestrian traffic in urban space in particular, are emphasized. Spatial syntax of artificial environments is introduced, with a discussion on the configuration of, and access to, objects in winter city streetscapes.

GEOG 392.3  History of the Built Environment from Antiquity to Early Modernity  (2016 - ongoing)
A lecture/seminar on the unfolding of built environments from early Antiquity to late Renaissance, and on the origins of urban planning. Relationship between Copper Age technology, and environmental myths, along with the founding of settlements, is reviewed, leading to discussion on archaic notions of the universe and the Ideal City. Origins of geography and planning are further examined in the classical Greco-Roman outlook on the natural and built environments. Subsequent Medieval withdrawal in rigorous thought, particularly as reflected in various Flat Earth notions, is discussed in context of built environments of the Middle Ages. Emergence of rigor in Scholastic thought during the late Medieval period is juxtaposed with the onset of the Little Ice Age and the subsequent urbanization of Europe. The Age of Discovery along with New World explorations, as related to Thomas More's Utopia, is shown related to the founding of New Towns in Europe during the Renaissance.&


Access needs by age and ability Integration of traffic modes Physical accessibility in the city Winter cities ancient, medieval and renaissance back alley design city-form mind-city interaction pedestrian networks phenomenology transportation urban wind tunnels

Urban Design; Urban Transportation Modeling; History of the Built Environmentt