Robert Oliver


The Office of the Vice President for Research recognizes Robert Oliver, an assistant professor of geography in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, who studies the politics of urban space and has revealed the power of the Olympics to redefine cities.

At the forefront of his work are questions concerning the formation of public policy, the production of social space, waterfront development, and the symbolic utility of sport.

With a grant from the International Olympic Committee, Oliver produced “Toronto’s Olympic Ambitions: An Investigation of the Olympic Bidding Legacy in one Modern City.”

Oliver examined bid documents, decades of government meeting minutes, more than a century’s worth of newspaper coverage, and interview data.

His investigation revealed that even though Toronto lost its bid to host the Olympics Games five times during the past half century, the process was crucial to urban redevelopment with public involvement.

It produced legacies for the city, including redefined visions for the city’s waterfront, as well as lessons for other cities.

His work has been published in the journals Urban Geography and Sports in Society, and the textbook “Human Geography: People, Place, and Culture.”

Oliver received his doctoral degree from Queen's University, Canada.


Nominate a Scholar of the Week

The goals of the Scholar of the Week are to recognize individuals while also telling people about research and scholarly activities at the university.

Recognition is based on research and/or scholarship.

Please nominate individuals — not teams, groups, or more than one person.

Please provide a sentence describing the research, scholarship, or creative work in non-technical, generally accessible language. A second sentence with an example or application is helpful.

  • Send nominations to: Srinath Ekkad, Associate Vice President for Research Programs, Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.